Motherhood vs. Career

It's 00:57am on a Wednesday morning. I look up at the bright stars and listen to the sound of waves echoing through the otherwise eerie silence…

You'd be forgiven for thinking I was taking a midnight stroll through a sandy beach, cocktail in one hand. My OH's hand in the other. Instead I'm laying on my bed, two tiny feet perched awkwardly in my ribs, listening to a white noise machine and gazing up at a projection of blue and green stars on the ceiling (frankly, they just look like large ovals spinning simultaneously in dizzying circles). This is one of the few moments I'll have for myself today while my 8 month old naps next to me. Don't get me wrong I love motherhood, but he's just reached the crawling stage where staying still for more than 0.8 seconds is a myth. It's like there's a battery pack in his back and his factory settings are stuck on 'bump-into-anything-and-everything'. And trust me he bumps into everything. It may sound like I'm painting a negative picture but I'm not. This is my life now and I love it.

Rewind to late October 2015. A pregnancy test during a lunch break at work confirmed my suspicions . I was pregnant. One of my biggest worries (aside from trying to make space for the tiny person inside of me and having to admit to the world that yes, I have sex) was the future of my career. I'd just started my final year of university - I couldn't drop out! But I didn't want to be stuck in my monotonous retail job for the rest of my life either. It has its perks (hello 25% discount!) but I wanted more than the life of a retail assistant could offer me (hence the £9000+ university fees I was wracking up each year). Aside from the frequent hospital visits for IV drops caused by the extreme morning sickness (ugh!) balancing pregnancy, university and work surprisingly wasn't that hard. A lot of time management was involved including dropping some work shifts and having the OH chauffeur me on the 2hr+ journey home from university after long days. Work experience was a requirement for the final year of my course but with a bump the size of a fiat 500cc this really wasn't an option for me. Somehow I passed university with flying colours. This made me even more determined to succeed.

Fast-forward to today. The end of maternity leave is fast approaching so off I'll head back to my dreary retail job. It's becoming more and more apparent that the beginnings of my marketing career will not be an easy one with a baby in tow. I'm starting to realise that as a new parent there are so many things riding against me. The mounting childcare costs means that my flexibility depends entirely on nursery availability. The mere mention of baby A to an employer and they'd undoubtedly know this too therefore unpaid internships are out of the question. Catch 22. At the moment I'm temporarily living with my dad (that's another issue in itself - we're rapidly running out of space. How does one little tiny person take up so much space??? ) which is lucky I guess as I don't have to worry about housing costs but there's no doubt that soon enough that'll be another thing to worry about. But I'm determined to make it work one hurdle at a time.

I can see why so many parents, women especially, make the decision to stay at home and care for their children until they're old enough to attend school. As much as society has made forward strides in terms of rights when returning to work, I've had so many experiences with the stigma attached to being a mother and wanting to return to the workplace so early. The amount of daggers I've had shot at me for mentioning that my son will be going to nursery from 10months+ is ridiculous. But still I trot back to my sales advisor position all the while searching for something to get my foot in the door. Sure beats going stir crazy watching Peppa Pig, Shimmer and Shine and stomping to Sesame Streets 'Number of the Day' repetitively (I envy those of you who haven't had the pleasure of bouncing your 18lb child to Count Von Count's rendition of 'Number of the Day' for the seventh time in a row).

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