Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Invisible Mother

I have a few fears, none of which I had before I became a parent though.

I fear for my child's future, that I'll be able to provide for him, give him the education he deserves, a home that we can call our own. I fear that I may not prepare him enough for the big wide world that's out there. These are fears I think I'll have for a long time, some may never go away even when he's an adult and out there by himself but there's the fears of the here and now and one in particular that hit me like a ton of bricks while I was talking to someone last week.
As my parental leave draws to close, my 4 day week will no longer be a given after the May bank holiday, I suddenly realised that I was terrified of being "an invisible mother".

Each time I think into the future, signing Luke up for pre school, picking which primary school we'd like him to go to, it's all a bit bittersweet as I realise that, as it stands right now, I won't be the one dropping him off or collecting him. I won't be the one, a few minutes drive away should he need to be collected because he feels sick or something, I won't be the one who he run's out to at the end of his school day, excitedly clutching what ever he may have made in school that day or telling me a story about something new he's learned.
No that's all going to have to wait until about 4 hours later when I get home, it's not going to be as exciting then, he's not going to be bursting to tell me because he'll probably have already told his Nanny, Grandad and Aunty. I'll be hearing it all second hand.
It's not me the teachers are going to recognise, I'll probably have to introduce myself to remind them who I am on the rare occasion I'll get to do the school run or have to go into his school for whatever reason. They'll know my name and on paper they will see that I'm Luke's mother but they won't know me. I'll be the invisible mother. The one that's there but the one they never see.

It saddens me, it clutches at my mothering heart strings and it hurts. I don't want that.
Fridays are my favourite day of the week at the moment, I get to drop Luke off at play school, before he used to cry a little now he doesn't even look back as he toddles off to his friends. I get to collect him and watch him instantly stop what he's doing when he sees me, he's ready to come home with his Mama and all that playing and learning can wait until the next school day. He takes my hand as we make our way to the car and he insists on reminding me every time we walk over the grassy area in the car park about the time I slipped and fell there. We laugh and chat and go about our business down town, getting lunch from the shop on those days.

The end of parental leave signifies the end of that, I'm not ready but I understand that I have to. Have to go to work, these are our circumstances right now, we are both working hard to try and give Luke to best we possibly can but at what sacrifice? He's only 2 and half now and every morning he asks, "Mum not go work today? You stay at home with me?" and it breaks my heart, the little bit of hope he has when asks, crushes me from the inside out as I see it quickly fade when I tell him I have to go to work for a little while. Even that's a lie, it's not a little while, Im not going to see him for another 10 hours.

The weekend are never enough to make up for it all, I know it's up to me to try and change it if I can but I'm struggling on knowing where to start or how to start.

The one thing that is consistent though is the guilt, the ever present mother's guilt. Sigh...



26 comments:

  1. Oh Louise, my heart broke for you reading this. You will never be invisible, and while I understand your sadness you shouldn't feel guilt for doing the very best you can. He is a very lucky boy to have you and here's hoping that something changes to give you back your Fridays with him xx

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth :) When I think back to my discussions I had with my mother before having Luke where I was adamant that of course I would go back to work, I never imagined in million years how hard it would be some days xo

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  2. Oh Louise, I know just how you feel. It used to kill me going to work everyday and missing out so much on my girls' day to day lives. I was actually delighted when I was made redundant and so relish the chance to be at home with them now. It won't (can't!) be forever but I'm enjoying it while I can. Things change though, that's for sure, and I'm sure you'll figure out something that'll be best for you and your family eventually xxx

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    1. Thanks Sadhbh :) There were tear from Luke this morning as I had to get up for work but fingers crossed we find a solution for us soon xo

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  3. I thought I commented the other day. I was a childminder for years. I minded from 8.30 until after 6 five days a week. The two girls loved coming over and we were very close, BUT when they were sick there was only one person who they really needed, their mum. Regardless of the time they spent with me there was a part of them kept just for their mum. That is the magic of being a Mum. In Luke's eyes you will never be invisible.

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    1. Thanks Tric,that last line gave me a lump in my throat! But you are right and I need to keep that in my head during the tough days :)

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  4. I couldn't get your post out of my head, so I wrote one with you in mind. https://mythoughtsonapage.com/2016/03/19/to-the-invisible-mother/

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  5. Oh Louise, that's so hard. I know that feeling so well. I promise you that it's never as bad as it looks on paper. When you think about not being there, it sounds horrendous, but the reality is always better. And one thing I learned recently is that most of us discount the weekend and only look at weekdays, whereas if you think of the week as seven days/ 168 hours midweek is actually half way through Thursday. You'll spend a lot more of those 168 hours per week with Luke than you think you do. Mind yourself xx

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    1. Thank you :) Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in what I'm missing out on rather than focusing on the stuff I am there for xx

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  6. Louise :( we all feel like that from time to time, some days are awful leaving, others I'm glad to go. I've left so many days with the kids crying or clinging to me. It's possible to get a balance though, and L definitely will be excited to share the special news with you. Don't be too hard on yourself x

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    1. There are definitely days I am glad to leave too! ;) But yes as you say, a balance is possible and sometimes I feel like I have it sorted but then something comes along and puts it all out again. xo

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  7. Lousie my heart aches for you, I had alot of fears with going back to work and we are still worknig through some of them but you know what you get through it and no matter what time i get home the girls are just as excited to tell me their news and about their day. The guilt never ends and it eats away but you have to stay strong and no that youre a fantastic mother and everything wil be ok xxx

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    1. Thanks Sara :) Mothers guilt sucks big time but it's something that's here to stay and we all have to get on with it don't we?! xo

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  8. Oh Louise that is very hard for you, but you will never be invisible and only YOU will always be his mammy! As others have said above, you spend a lot more time with him than you think, and weekends are long and full for a young child. Hugs xxx

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    1. Thanks Naomi :) I try to pack in as much time with him at the weekends as I can, 5 days off next week and I can't wait xo

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  9. I agree with Tric. Not being able to pick up your son from school is a shame, but it's nowhere near the most important part of being a mother. My own mother worked all her life and was not able to drop me off in the mornings or pick me up afterwards. That didn't matter. She was still the solid foundation on which my entire childhood rested.

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    1. I totally agree and my own mother worked for some of my childhood but sometimes its hard to keep that in mind when you are in the moment of missing out :/

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  10. I am currently on maternity leave. My first born is 4months, I am due back to office work in May but I wanted to take the extra 16 weeks til Aug. But I have now been informed work want to promote me as things are moving forward for the company which is great but I really dont feel ready to go back to work yet and manager said she can't guarantee the same promotion/pay rise if I take the extended leave. Any advice welcomed. X

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    1. Hi Kelly, that's a tough one! My best advice is go with your gut, in regards to a promotion, if you are go back there feeling bit under pressure because you felt like you had no choice you might end up resenting it or not giving the position your all. If the financial aspects are worth going back early, that is something to be considered too. I know myself is more financial security that I had to go back and luckily my bosses agreed to my suggestion of breaking up parental leave over 4 day weeks. Good luck xo

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  11. Thanks for your reply and advice, I have asked about parental leave so fingerscrossed x

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  12. Thanks for your reply and advice, I have asked about parental leave so fingerscrossed x

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  13. Oh hun you will never be invisible. I was lucky to have my mum home with me but my dad was always home late. But do you know? I was always as excited to tell him my news because in the eyes of a child, they just want to tell everyone they care about- no matter how much later or how many other people they have told. You are his mummy and he will run to you, his most important person, and share everything. I don't look back at my childhood and think of my dad not being there for school pick up, I look back and think about the bedtime stories he read me, the fun we had on days out to the beach on weekends. And if anything, I remember him more than I remember my mum, the ever present figure. She was just there but nothing was special about our time - I guess I took it for granted. Anyway, what a waffle!! It will all be ok is what I am trying to say xx

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    1. Thanks Katy :) And y'know you're right, I always remember waiting anxiously for my Dad's truck to pull into the drive, he'd barely have his work boots off and I'd be dragging him into the living room to hear my news! It's just hard on the days when L asks me not to go to work and to stay home with him :( xx

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  14. Reading this the day after the long weekend strikes a particularly strong chord!! Lovely post and sadly one that resonates with way too many mammys!

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    1. I hear ya, I'm just back to work after 10 days off, it was tough leaving this morning!! :/

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