Boy, what do I say about this topic? Was my original plan to become a stay at home mother and house wife at the ripe age of 25? No. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. My friends who are currently settling down in their thirties have asked me “Don’t you feel like you’re missing out?” or “Shouldn’t you be having fun in your twenties?” It’s not like I had a baby or got married when I barely knew myself or craved a wild social life so I felt perfectly ready and had faith in myself that I was doing fine. I had a tough job and worked as a Support Worker for disabled adults.
These “patients” (I’m going to call them Tenants because that’s exactly what they were. I was just a source of help in their home but I’m not going to start venting about the terminology) were all wheelchair users and couldn’t vocalise, most of them had epilepsy and suffered from (almost) daily seizures. There were no nurses on site so we all had to train hard for our administrating medication training, epilepsy training, first aid, basic health and safety, Manual handling, hygiene, fire hazards etc AND THE REST because I’m getting stressed just thinking about it. We had to do sleep in shifts, I did two or sometimes three sleep in shifts a week. We were massively understaffed and got sent agency workers who either didn’t show up or hadn’t worked in this particular home before so were very slooooow (not their fault, and I’d prefer someone slow and thorough but it did put a massive strain on the full time staff) I sometimes didn’t get home for days at a time, emergency night shifts, emergency sleep in shifts. Oh, I also had a two hour commute there and back. The icing on top of the cake was when they stopped offering Diplomas due to funding and stopped flexible working. But still, I carried on for the Tenants and made their lives happier. To go home after days of hard unnoticed work and very little sleep didn’t once make me think “I have to get out of this job” because I went home feeling rewarded. I was in the care industry, which has a terrible reputation, and I CARED. On Christmas day (MOST ANNOYINGLY FESTIVE PERSON GOES TO YOURS TRULY) the staff hated me because I’d come into work wearing my most tacky Christmas jumper, a Santa hat and singing “AND THE BELLS ARE RINGING OUT FOR CHRISTMAS DAAAAAY” because why resent working on a holiday? That’s life. At least make the tenants happy. They’re not a burden so don’t treat them like they are.
That was my outlook on such a rewarding job despite all of the problems and, if I’m being brutally honest, minimum wage.
You remember the long hours, lack of staff and the fact they were going to stop flexible hours? I got pregnant. I felt instantly maternal and fell in love with the idea of being a mum. I panicked because my work life felt impossible at the best of times, how was I going to manage that with a baby? Well, i’d just have to. I was going to work, my mum would look after the baby and I’d be a good role model.
In an ideal world things work out for the best in all scenarios and life is easy. Not so easy when your stepdad falls ill and almost dies. WOW. BIT ABRUPT I KNOW.
It was awful, he was frail, underweight, exhausted and very sick but my mum took on the Carer role and suddenly I knew where I got my caring skills from. Each day I saw similarities in my job and my mums life, the clock watching, the worry around someone vulnerable, the need (almost instinct?) to make something better, the lack of sleep, the carry on attitude. Except this was 24/7 for my mum and stepdad, this was husband and wife, this was life and death. People underestimated how sick he was and said “Oh my mum has that, it’s not even that bad” and “nothing a few changes can’t fix”. It’s either ignorance or not being as educated in Type One Diabetes. The doctor rushed him into hospital the day he diagnosed him and they said he was lucky to still be going as he should have been in a coma and would have been at any moment. So whilst I was pregnant, with the most horrific morning sickness, me and my hubby-to-be rushed to the hospital to visit where we were told he’d be staying for a short while. He wasn’t just diagnosed before it got worse, he escaped the worst by an inch. So anyway (this story has relevance) after nearly losing my stepdad and watching my mum naturally change, they had an idea to move away. They’d been putting it off for years. To move to the coast and buy their dream house because quite frankly, life is too short. I encouraged it enormously, no, I WANTED this for them enormously so after months of building work in their house, putting it up for sale, buying a new house and completely relocating, I had already had my baby. A beautiful baby boy that we named Dexter! I was on maternity leave and in August me and Jamie went from being engaged to being Married and it was an amazing day. (Oh, new blog post idea!) We looked into day care, child minders, family members who could have helped (they either work, live far away or are retired) and our work benefits but the funds were more than what I earned so it was decided; I was going to stay at home to look after our baby.
Oh and I was going to dye my hair pink.
He’s sixteen months now and getting to the toddler stage. I love it. Some mums sugar coat the truth, some mums feel it is the toughest job in the world. Some mums genuinely love each challenge and some mums sometimes resent motherhood. But then I look back at my old job and think “No. THAT was tough.” It’s different for everyone. It’s OKAY to feel any of those things too. It isn’t all smiles and cuddles after all!
(I’ll insert a picture below for the people who don’t know if they even want babies. It may help you figure that out…)
This has been one long ‘ol story and I can only apologise for rambling but there is something I’d like to say.
Last night I got asked by a complete stranger “Don’t you want to be something else other than a mum? Anything else?” The answer is that I already am. I may be a stay at home mum in my twenties but that’s because my life took a different route. To get to where I am has been a journey. Don’t ever assume that someone SHOULD BE doing something else with their lives because life doesn’t work that way. I know a girl who qualified as a Lawyer… FOUR YEARS AGO. She’s still a waitress. Does it mean she’s a failure and should be doing something else with her life or does it mean that life sometimes controls us? Just like it did my mum and stepdad.
I’ve not suddenly lost my identity because I’ve settled down before I’m 30. Some people choose not to do any of those things in their entire lives and it doesn’t mean that they’re less of a person. It’s just BS.
Anyway, this has been far too serious and most of my posts won’t be this long and deep but that’s me and how I got here. I’m happy, happier than I’ve ever been so NO RANDOM STRANGER. I DON’T WISH I’D DONE MORE AND I DON’T SEE HOW IT PAINS YOU THAT I’M THIS HAPPY. KTHANKSBYE.
To think I came on here today to write about my new pair of glasses…