From today onwards I will be able to officially state my occupation as ‘housewife’. I’m not quite sure how that makes me feel.
Throughout my pregnancy (which was relatively painless and uncomplicated) and my maternity leave, the thought of returning to work has troubled me. The practicalities and the stress of commuting with a screaming baby have kept me awake at night, and I often find myself involved in apocalyptic daydreams about losing favourite toys, getting calls from nursery workers to tell me to come quickly as my son is unwell, or worse – finding suspicious bruises on his tiny body or noticing a change in his usually sparkling disposition. At times these thoughts have had me in tears, and more recently I have spent the time my son has been napping sobbing uncontrollably, imagining the pain of missing his first steps or the first time he feeds himself with a spoon or the first time he points at a picture of a cow and says moo. This feeling is unbearable, heartbreaking, it makes my head spin. I then imagine the feeling of reading about these magical firsts in a book by someone who doesn’t love and adore my baby as I do – without the intricacies and intimacies of details that I will need just to survive the separation – and realising what I have missed. Then I imagine having to read about this in a too hot or too cold car, with my angel screaming due to exhaustion and frustration and anger, after having already been awake for 10 hours and at work for 8 or them, and then having to drive home in traffic for 50 or 60 or 70 minutes. I don’t think I could do it.
Tomorrow will reveal how my resignation is received and final plans will be made. I will go to bed tonight less anxious than before, some of my future uncertainties have been resolved and my path seems a little clearer. Only around 8 hours until my baby wakes for his mum and milk, I will savour each day knowing the countdown clock has been paused for now.