‘You don’t work?’
It’s a fair enough question, but it feels more like an accusation.
‘It must be nice to be a lady of leisure!’.
Well it is, and it isn’t.
As much as it’s lovely to be at home with the children, set my own routine and please myself as far as they will allow, and I wouldn’t go as far as saying I miss my old job, I do miss the colleagues, the camaraderie. The regular hours and the regular money. The banter in the office, the adult conversation.
I’ve gone into my reasons for not returning to work, at length. This isn’t a post about that; both working and staying at home to raise children are equally valid, they both have their pros and cons.
Ultimately it was down to my family and I, and I’m happy with the choice we made.
But even surrounded by the constant noise, chatter and chaos of children. Even when I have someone sat on my lap while I pee. Even then…
Sometimes it gets lonely being a stay at home mum.
Yes there are some weeks when my life is a whirlwind of play-dates, zoo trips and Instagram-worthy fun, but there are many, many more when I’m tired, when one of the kids is sick and we can’t go far, when the money is running low and we can’t stretch to another £20 chucked at two hours of soft play, or when I just haven’t remembered to make any plans and a wander to the park is all I can muster… and I might not speak to another adult for most of the day.
There are a lot of superficial ‘how are you?’s from people who know you as someone’s mum; that’s nice. I do it too. But it’s not the same. It takes a long time for a ‘mum’ friendship to become a real friendship, and sometimes, you never even get past the starting posts.
It isn’t like when you’re a kid, and making friends is so natural and so easy. When you can make firm friendships based on a shared love of ice cream. Making friends as an adult is just so much harder.
It’s one of the reasons I started blogging.
To distract myself from the fact that, as a naturally gregarious person, I often spent the days without really seeing anyone.
There were so many different reasons in the early days; my son wasn’t easy to take places. He didn’t like playgroups and screamed his way through everything, so I stopped really bothering because it was stressful having to be places at pre-arranged times, knowing we probably wouldn’t even be able to stay.
I was often too tired to drive anywhere and sometimes I didn’t even get out of my pyjamas until the afternoon. You can’t pop to rhyme time in your PJs, but you can sit at a computer.
And the funny thing is that now, two years in… I may not make large amounts of money, and I may have got even worse at making plans, but once again I have colleagues. People I chat to about work, and life, and everything really.
Just like any colleagues, some will come and go, but some are here to stay and have become real, genuine friendships.
So thank you, to my lovely blogging colleagues, and all the people I’ve met along the way.
The ones who have read and commented, and chatted and passed the time of day.
You have made being a stay at home mum a lot less lonely.
I don’t know what I would have done without you.