My youngest has just turned three and I feel like it’s a massive turning point in my life. It sounds so silly but this birthday just feels like a big moment where my baby is no longer a baby – three feels very grown up! It also marks the point where he will be going to nursery more regularly and I am going to get a regular break from him. I’m aware this sounds horrendous – “Why do you want a break from your child?????!!!!” I hear you shout.
Well, I really really love my kids. Like so so much. Which I’m sure most mums do. However, I have learned over the last three years that it’s okay to say that I really *need* time without them too. Being a stay at home mum since Ollie was born 3 years ago has completely knocked me for six – it’s been the toughest three years for me personally as I took the change from being a working mum and feeling so guilty about being away from the children – the time I had with them was so precious that I rarely wanted time away from them when I wasn’t at work. However being a stay at home mum has shocked me to the core because actually – spending ALL your time with someone, not just your kids but your partner, your family, whoever, is really not good for you. I dunno about you, but I hate that it makes me find it hard to appreciate them for the amazing little humans that they are, and that it means I crave time on my own.
I never thought I’d admit this – I felt like the world’s worst person for wanting to be away from my children. When I say be away from – I’m not talking two weeks in the Caribbean, I’m talking a few hours alone here and there to do things for myself.
I didn’t think going from 2 to 3 kids would be a big change. Especially as my eldest two were 15 months apart – I felt like a third one four years later would be quite easy in comparison. He was a very easy baby, and I am really lucky for that. But I did find meeting the needs of three children tricky – I couldn’t spread myself over the three of them and felt bad that I really really wanted this baby and all of a sudden I was finding it hard.
I have learned in the past three years that stay at home mums who do not work (from home or outside the home) are absolute legends and I completely and utterly am in awe of the mums who sail along and keep their patience and seem to absolutely flourish in this role. It is without a doubt the HARDEST THING. I used to think going off to work and having the heavy guilt weighing on me was really hard, and it is. I’m not trying to take anything away from working mums. But the staying at home is hard in ways I never would have thought.
Along with this third birthday I do feel a pang of sadness – I’ll never have a baby again! But this next chapter is exciting and I feel like I am finally coming out of the fog that I’ve been aimlessly wandering around in over the past two and a half years.
I am looking forward to future – and for anyone else who needs that time away from their children and feels awful for admitting it – please don’t! I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. I think it’s OK to say that I am also a person who needs time for myself, and when I do get some time ‘off’ I feel like I’m a better mum because of it.