And so it begins

I am writing this on a Friday morning, I've just dropped Jet off at nursery and I'm back home trying to distract myself from the little tear stained face I've left behind.

Its been 17 months of just me and Jet. I can’t imagine how many hours we’ve spent together if you add them up over the last year and a half. With just a handful of days away from him and two nights away its fair to say he’s had a LOT of mama time. And of course, its been perfect. Perfect in a stressful and tiring and draining and lonely and precious and brilliant kinda way. I feel so lucky to have been able to spend this amount of time with him while he’s still so little. But this mama is ready for a break (ha! never before would I have called work a break, the things motherhood does)

Being self-employed is odd, there’s no boss waiting for your return and no set monthly income ready to begin again. Because of this I’ve put off returning to work, knowing that I’ll have fallen a few steps back, having to regain my place in the industry I work in. But over the past few months I had found that my patience with Jet was shortening, his bed time was getting earlier and the amount of time I was checking my emails while with him was increasing. These are not things I’m proud of, every night when I put him to bed the horrible mum guilt would wash over me, knowing I hadn’t been the best I could’ve been for him that day. Did I make him laugh enough? Did we have enough adventures? Had I given time to nurture his little, eager mind.

 

The conclusion that I have come to through all this, is that I need to work. For some it’s different, for others they come to this conclusion earlier on in their little ones life. For me, I need to be pursuing something outside of motherhood, something that is for me, me as Ruth, not me as Jet’s mum. Even typing that though, I start feeling guilty, maybe I’m being selfish? Can we really have everything? The work/home life balance. Who knows, but I know I need to try.

And so, enter nursery. And the trauma ensues.

We are in to week 2 now of Jet going to nursery for one morning and one afternoon a week. He also had an initial two weeks of ‘settling sessions’, shorter periods of time at nursery when I would stay for the first part and then leave him for half an hour, an hour, gradually building up.

He is finding the whole experience very overwhelming. He now starts tearing up as we turn down the road that nursery is on, recognizing where I am taking him. It is the loveliest nursery, we looked around a handful in our area and this one was by far my favourite: such friendly staff, a warm homely feel, great outdoor space and it’s own giant soft play zone! Fun!

But, I guess, for him, it’s not home. It’s all new and the staff are still not far off being strangers. Every single parent I’ve spoken to (and I’ve spoken to a lot!) insist that their little one went through the same thing and now loves nursery, some even running in without a second thought of their poor mum or dad stood at the door. I’m sure we’ll get there, we have to get there.

So, for now, I am trying to close off my heart a little bit, to choose to see the bigger picture at a time when Jet can’t. To know that this will become a really positive part of his life as he makes new friends and gets to do lots of fun, messy activities that I would never do at home. He will enjoy it and I’ll enjoy having a tiny bit of my old self back. But for now I think we both feel like we’re one whole that has been ripped in half and we’re both counting down the hours till we’re whole again.

 

Ruth Marsden