We had a Halloween Party yesterday and when speaking to the other mothers we discovered something that we all had in common.
Approximately 2 – 3 years after the birth of our children we emerged from what I like to term The Mummy Cocoon. Yawning and stretching, we stick our heads out of the comfort zone and notice with a shock that the world as we knew it is still there. But we no longer fit in the same place as we did pre-children.
When we have small children, our whole life is consumed by them. When (if) they sleep, if they sleep through the night, if they are sleeping in our beds, what they are eating and drinking, if they are pooing and weeing enough, are they being socialised, are they developing, growing, learning…
This leaves little time for ourselves, especially if the children are close in age.
Then suddenly the youngest child can eat independently, is toilet trained, can play for a while alone. Perhaps the elder child is already in school, and the younger child starts to go to playschool or nursery.
We can go to the supermarket alone, without “Can I have that” echoing every 30 seconds. It is a treat to go the supermarket alone, a chore that 5 years previously was an every day boring task is now elevated to a fun morning. Maybe we can even meet a friend for coffee and chat without being interrupted.
We might look in the mirror and notice with a shock that the tactic of shoving our hair up in a pony tail occasionally has become and everyday occurrence and we cannot recall when we last had a haircut/manicure/facial. Which does not mean that all mothers “let themselves go” but with two young children it requires a lot more organisation to keep up with the beauty maintenance that used to be so easy.
We might realise that it has been a while since we have been to the gym, or that we now have time to restart a hobby, or learn a new one.
Generally at this point we will turn to thoughts of going back to work, if we haven’t already. This is where it gets tricky for many mothers, going by the experience of many of my friends.
Ideally, going back to work requires good and reliable childcare, flexible working hours and conditions but this is really not that easy to find. When I started working in sales, I did not consider how difficult it would be to work in a field that requires their staff to work evenings and weekends. Since having the children, I have not returned to that job.
We wake from our self-imposed hibernation to find that the choices we made in earlier, child-free life, do not still apply today. We have changed, our priorities have changed. Our lives have changed.
For many, this time is almost a re-birth. A discovery of what we are now, and how much we have changed. One only has to look at the many websites offering handmade jewellery, fabulous cupcakes, stunning bespoke wedding stationary or see how many women turn their hand to something new like photography websites, Painting gorgeous pictures, writing children’s books, blogging and writing, or retrain to work as Interior Designers after the birth of their children. I know many women who have found a successful second career, born out of the necessity of fitting in with family life.
The Holy Grail – a job that brings money, satisfaction and flexible hours working from home – is what we all seek.
So if anyone has an idea how I can make money out of sitting in front of the computer all day, do let me know.