My Darlings L, A and S,
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, your mummy had a Proper Job.
And this week, I've finally made the decision to give it up. Instead, I'm going to look after you, to be your Mummy, and not to make you share me with colleagues, clients and employers.
Your Granny and Grandpa don't really understand this decision. They see the 18 years of education: the GCSE's, the A-levels, the degree, the post-graduate qualifications, the post-qualification training; they see the cachet of being highly respected in a respected profession; the glowing prospects of a stellar career; the generous salary; the intellectual challenges; the social interraction... and they think I'm throwing something away. That what I'm giving up can't be matched by what I will have.
I suspect that they're not alone. That over the next few years we will meet many people who will wonder why I am no longer doing my Proper Job, or, perhaps worse, who won't wonder, because they will write me off as "just a full-time mum", without either realising how hard full-time mums work, or pausing to question who I am, a person in my own right.
And I have this fear that one day you will think like that. That you will think less of your mummy because she is "just" your mummy, and that you will wonder why I "gave up" my Proper Job.
So I am writing to you.
To tell you that on Thursday, when I went into work to tell them that I was leaving, my secretary asked me what I was going to do if I didn't have a job, and I said "I'm going to look after my babies". And saying it then, and writing it down now, makes me happy beyond words. I can feel my heart physically lifting in my chest with the joy of it, my lungs expanding as my body relaxes with the certainty that now, for the moment, this is what I want to do.
To tell you that I am trying no longer to need a title, a profession, a role, to validate who I am. That I am proud of being your mother, and I am proud of being me, and that that is enough.
To tell you that the last six months have been so hard. Trying to be the best mother I can for you, while trying to be the best employee I can; to live up to the standards that I and others have set for me, and feeling constantly that I am compromising, and that in compromising I am failing. And that I have decided that if I can only do one job to the best of my abilities, I know which job it is I have to do.
To tell you that no decision is irrevocable. That for now, this is the decision we have made, and I am happy with it. But that if I, and Daddy, and you, decide in the future that I should go back to paid employment, I can. It might not be the same job, it might not even be, in the eyes of the world, as "good" a job. But it will be what is right for us.
To tell you that I have a brain, and that actually, at the moment, the best use I can put that brain to is teaching you. Teaching you to walk, to talk, to read, to throw, to catch, to skip, to do your maths homework. Whatever it is that you are learning, at any minute of any day, I want to be there watching you learn, and being privileged to help you. And when, in due course, someone else takes over that role, I want to be supporting them and you in it.
To tell you that there is a practical reason for this change. And that is that we are moving to Scotland, and I can't do my job in Scotland. And I know that, and I welcome it, because, if I am honest, I'm not sure that I would be brave enough to admit that this is what I wanted if I couldn't justify it in that way. So I am, perhaps, telling you that sometimes I am scared. That I am scared of what people think of me, and that they will judge me, and that they will think less of me. But that I hope that, despite all that, this move will be worth it. That you will have space to grow and run, and to put down roots.
And to tell myself something. That this is my decision. That although I have made it for you, I have also made it for me. That I was bored at work before I had L. And that I am still bored at work. And that although I am frightened of change, I know I need a change, and that I think this is the right change to make. And I must remember this. So that on those days when we are all horrid to each other, when we all shout and wail and make each other cry and I think "why did I do this?", I will remember that I did it because I wanted to.
With all my love,
This is not how I broke it to my boss that I'm leaving. But maybe it should have been.
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