A Fish Out Of Water In The Big, Bad City

Today I had a Dr’s appointment in the city so grabbed a lift with my husband who works at World Square.

As I walked around the city with my youngest toddler (14 month old) in tow, I realised that the city has become an intimidating and alien place to me now. I felt like a fish out of water. Pushing along my pram, dressed in comfy trousers, a t-shirt and flip-flops/thongs.

Havaianas, AKA Thongs, AKA FlipFlops

It was as though I’d entered a parallel universe. Everyone was bustling around with such purpose, as though they knew something I didn’t or were part of something I wasn’t.

Hustle and bustle in the big, bad city
Hustle and bustle in the big, bad city

My husband has recently started a new job so he took me to his office to meet his work colleagues. I hadn’t planned on this and felt a little panicked that I looked rather like a homeless person he’d dragged off the street. I quickly ran my fingers through my knotty hair. I then did the obligatory once over check that all was in order (i.e. no sick on me, no food splattering on me, bra wasn’t on full display – my toddler has a tendency to yank my top down in her quest for milk, no milk leakage and flies were up), all good. I was relieved to have the remnants of nail polish on my toes from a rare night out a few days ago.

We walked into the smart, modern, stylish offices and I felt a little weird again. In my head I stuck out like a sore thumb, I shouldn’t be here in these smart offices with these busy and important people. I’m just a stay at home mum! Everyone was of course utterly lovely and welcoming, particularly excited by the presence, distraction and novelty of having a toddler in the office.

But it got me thinking, what is it about becoming a mum and having a certain amount of time out of the ‘paid workforce’ that makes us feel like worthless beings, no longer fit to enter the doors of the corporate world?

With 15 years’ experience in HR and recruitment, I spent a lot of time wearing suits and working in offices. I have worked in big cities in England such as Manchester and Newcastle. A year of my life in Australia involved working in Sydney’s CBD, I got to know (and love) the city well during that time. Today made me more aware than ever how different my life has become. Since exiting the corporate world in 2012 to go on maternity leave with my first baby (minus a brief stint in-between children for a couple of months), my life has changed considerably.

It’s challenging, fun, monotonous, rewarding and stressful – but in different ways.

I was lucky enough to enjoy most of the jobs I had throughout my career. That said, I do remember times when I wished I could pack it all in. I thought the role of being a mum would be easier, rewarding, fun; and I was definitely in favour of having no one to answer to.

I had a lot to learn.

Being a mum is the toughest, most challenging job I have ever done! Sleep routines, sleep deprivation, cleaning, making food, changing nappies, washing – at times it takes monotony to a whole new level. And as for having no one to answer to, Sir Alan Sugar has a lot to learn from my 2 strong minded and bossy toddlers.

However, the rewards of being a stay at home mum are immense. The happiness I feel when I hear my children laughing, being there to see them take their first steps or utter their first words, the smiles they give me when they do something silly or say something cute and the way they make me feel when they run into my arms to cuddle me. These are the things that make the hard work and monotony worthwhile. Oh, and the fact that I rarely have to wear make-up, brush my hair or dress in high heels anymore!

I don’t intend to be a stay at home mum for ever. I miss having a different kind of purpose and being meaningful in other ways. I enjoyed the social aspect of going out to work and the independence. I would also like to contribute financially to our family.

But for the time being this is my life, and it’s one I love and am truly grateful for. I’m sure one day the city and the corporate world may become familiar to me again. It might take a little adjusting to get back into the swing of it and require a new wardrobe!

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9 thoughts on “A Fish Out Of Water In The Big, Bad City

  1. It is good to have the thought of going back to work – after you and your girls are ready. I am a new mom and struggling to juggle my working hours and my need to be near my baby. Thank God I can manage my working hours and do not have to stay at the office. I just do not want to miss his every firsts. Take care!

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  2. Lovely post. This is exactly how I feel. I have been a stay-at-home Mum for nearly 7 years, and while the routines and chores can be monotonous, and at times can be lonely, I have been fortunate enough to spend this time (I wont get to experience again) at home with my girls. 🙂

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  3. This is all so true! And great that you can find enough positives in being a SAHM that you can say that you like it so much! I’m the same as you, if someone asks me what I do, I say ‘oh, I’m just a mum, at home all the time.’ Well, just a mum happens to be the hardest job I’ve ever done! I would love to go back to work, but we can’t afford child care for the children, so I can’t go back until they are at school. And it is all just so relentless! My 2 are going through this hideous stage of literally moaning for every waking second. I’ve tried all kinds of distraction and fun activities, but they just…won’t…stop…! Today I nearly lost my sanity, I just couldn’t listen to it anymore! But there are the moments of pure joy, that immediately override all the crappy stuff! Thanks for another great post, I’m enjoying reading about your life in Australia! Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink

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