About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

"I didn't realise you were a mum...."

That's a comment I've heard quite a few times lately and I'm puzzled by it.
Mostly it's at my new place of work and I can think of several reasons for it, when I think logically:
1) We're so busy we don't really have time to get into deep personal conversations.
2) There's no room on my desk for photos, although Miss T is my screensaver - but I've always got programmes open on the screen.
3) I often stay late, so people assume I have no nursery pick-up etc to do (when the truth is that the ever-helpful grandparents are on duty, again...)
But it does bother me, if I'm in a tired and emotional state. Do I not seem motherly? And when they find out I do have a daughter, and a small one at that, their shocked expressions seem to indicate that I should be at home rather than pursuing a career.
It's a fact that the industry I work in can be male-dominated, perhaps because it demands unsocial hours that are difficult to do with children if there are no ever-helpful grandparents on hand, but one of my new colleagues has two small children and no one seems to express surprise to her.
Perhaps part of it is my fault - in the same way I saw my pregnancy as irrelevant to my work and was irritated by the constant questions whenever I was out trying to do my job, Miss T is not part of my working day, although I often miss being with her.
But I simply don't have time to engage the office in fascinating discussions about her latest achievements, and nor does anyone else.
That may sound harsh and I'm sure my work-life balance would not work for everyone. Nor do I think it will necessarily work for me for the next 20 years. But for now, working hard and playing hard (with Miss T on my days off) is an approach that works for me.
When I'm at work, I'm totally at work. Hours can whizz by with no thoughts of lost shoes, the school run or bedtime battles popping into my head. Of course, this is only possible because I know she's 100 per cent safe and happy with Mark, my parents, or our chidminder and I'm incredibly grateful for all of them for allowing me to concentrate on work.
But when I'm at home, and Tasha is awake, I'm totally at home. Since signing the contract for my new role, meaning I could give up most of my freelance commitments, I don't let work intrude on my days off and I try to give her my full attention, which means we have had some lovely days together.
It also means that there are few evenings out with Mark and weekends away are a rare luxury. Actually, not a luxury - almost a trial. I don't want time away from her. I want to spend time with her.
How bizarre it feels to be writing those words, on this blog!

1 comment:

Scott & Yael said...

I think it's great that you can focus on work when at work and on T when you're home with her. You should be proud of yourself for being able to do that, not ashamed. And while it's upsetting that people are surprised to find out you are a mom, I don't really think it has anything to do with you