I have a hard time with reconciling the person that I am and being a mother. I often feel like I am ‘doing it wrong.’ If I’m absolutely honest, I don’t really like being a mother and I don’t think of myself as one. I love my daughter, and I obviously wouldn’t shirk my responsibilities to her, but I don’t particularly enjoy being a mum. Not her mum, just a mum. Any mum. I wonder if I would feel differently about the whole thing if I had a larger support network. That is to say, I suppose, if my own mum was around (or, to be totally accurate, if I was around her.) I think the image that we (all) project into the world is that we are together and fun, fit, fantastic parents who spend their days happily painting dots onto a piece of paper. We’re not. Or maybe I just assume that other parents don’t like doing that stuff either, because it makes me feel better about the fact that sometimes – a lot of the sometimes, and perhaps a lot more of the sometimes that I should – I would rather be doing something else. Like working.
That’s quite a horrible thing to admit, particularly to the cold expanse of the internet: I would rather spend time working than playing with my child.
And, obviously that’s not the whole truth. I don’t need to say that I love my child – I think it’s a given – and I do love spending time with her. I love going to the park and watching her run around and explore, and I love sitting on the floor reading books with her. I just don’t love it enough to want to do it all the time.
I think I’m starting to think more about it because we’re recently been talking about me needing to watch her full time until I get a ‘proper job’. We are incredibly fortunate that we have been able to have her in nursery for 2 1/2 days each week while I finish my PhD, but that time is coming to an end and we can’t really justify the expense for an intangible nothing. Even though, to me, that intangible nothing is my book. I think what it comes down it is this: I’m not sure I’d be able to cope with being a full-time, stay-at-home mum. Hats off to women who do it (and there are a lot of women who do it and love it, and I suppose just as many who don’t love it and still do it), I salute you. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it, but I guess we’ll find out in four months or so.