Sunday, 21 February 2010

A letter of resignation

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,

Mummy x

This is not how I broke it to my boss that I'm leaving.  But maybe it should have been.


  1. Congratulations on making this decision! It must have been quite difficult to decide to do this. Sometimes being a SAHM feels like the most lowly, thankless role ever. But I remind myself how quickly my children are going to grow up and how precious these early years are. Good luck preparing for your move.

  2. Beautiful post, I have told everyone about it here

    M x

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  4. I am so pleased that you have made your decision and I hope that it is the right one for you and yours. I too and a full time mum and I hope the boys understand too why I made the decisions I have.

    My mum didn't understand why I have thrown it all away initially - her words, but I told her that the boys were more important to me than any other job I could have. She is this way as she feels her generation paved the way and that we should martyr ourselves to a cause.

    People don't all understand, but my ambition seemed to come out with the placenta and went off to some incinerator!!

  5. Well done for making the decision. both roles, the stay at home and working mother are really tough, there isn't an easy option either way. But to find the role that you are happiest in is what makes you a great mother. I'm so excited for you! x

  6. Yay congratulations on your decision! That is a wonderful post! Good for you, I'm sure in years to come they are going to appreciate that you were always there for them and it wasnt a childminder. :) xx

  7. congratulations!!!! What a lovely post as well. Good luck with the move and settling in Scotland. I hope that you have as much fun as George and I do everyday! Anna x x

  8. Congratulations on the decision.

    The one word of advice I want to offer (from personal experience over 19 years of either working full time, part time and being a stay at home mum) is this:

    Should you ever feel the need to go back to work (am hoping for you that you raise your kids in bliss and that you never want to go back but just in case), do not let the fact that people thought you were nuts to quit your job and that they might tell you I told you so, have any bearing on your decision.

    You are doing what you are doing now because it is the right thing for you now. Should you ever chose to go back to work, that will be the right decision then and so what if people tell you I told you so (though they would be wrong to say so, because you are happy now, so what if at some point you change your mind)

    Hope that wasn't too much of a ramble and that you understood it. I know that at one point in my life it had been an issue for me.

  9. Good for you. A brilliant, brave decision. I'm sure you'll be really happy in your new life. Best of luck with it. xx

  10. Neither job is the easy option, and it doesn't matter a jot what anyone else says or thinks, it is your decision and your life, and it sounds as though you have a great weight lifted from your shoulders now, so enjoy those babies of yours as they will all grow up and leave home before you know it! They will just love reading that post, too.

  11. Congratulations on making the decision! i bet you can't wait!

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  13. I am so glad you wrote this, because as you say in the last paragraph, there will be days when you forget why you're doing what you're doing, and then you can look back and read it (though it will probably just aggravate you at the time!)

    Good for you!


  14. Absolutely amazing. You and the post.

  15. wow. congratulations ... what an incredibly moving post. Really ... no (moving) pun intended.

  16. oh god, wow. well done! good luck. what a tough one. i'm now itching to know what you're leaving behind. but so jealous of what you are gaining. fabulous.

  17. Well done, wonderful post. Best of luck with the move!

  18. wow, you did it! i kind of had a suspicion you might:) all i can say is, with the benefit of three months' experienced: there is sooo life on the other side.
    but like newlifenewlesson says, don't necessarily rule out that one day (maybe years away) you may feel like a change - not necessarily going back to your old career, but shifting up a gear. that doesn't mean the original decision was wrong, it just means life is a work in progress, and always changing. good luck with the move.

  19. Golly! Thank you all for lovely support and words of wisdom. A small confession... I'm keeping a finger in that particular pie as I'll still be doing some freelance work for them (not brave enough to embrace a totally blank cv just yet)...but I will be introducing myself to people as "a mum...." EEK!


    Emily - I think that's exactly it. I can't believe how quickly they're growing up, and they are so much fun (when they're not being horrid clearly) and I kind of don't want to miss it...

    Monica - WOW! Thank you so much. Will be off to check it out...

    Madhouse - the whole mother (ours, not theirs) dynamic is tough isn't it? The weird thing about my mum is she never worked after I was born, so I really don't get why she doesn't understand what I'm doing... hey ho.

    BIB - thank you. Am hoping this is that role! Watch this space.

    Hayley - Can't guarantee to be "always" there for them... am hoping to get a few minutes to be there for myself every now and then....! But I do know what you mean, and hopefully I'll be just as much fun as the childminder!

    Anna - thank you! Fun is definitely on the agenda (I hope!)

    NewDayNewLesson - very wise words. And I totally understood. I realise that that is a real prospect, so we'll just have to see how we get on. As you say, whatever decisions we make in the future will be the right ones for us then, as this feels like the right one for us now.

    It's a Mummy's Life - I hope so! Thank you!

    Diney - there's an interesting idea! Never thought about them reading my posts in years to come (they don't read anything now....). Does Big E read yours? What does he think?

    Heather - thank you. And no - can't wait!!! Need to negotiate actual leaving date and then will be counting down the days (about 10 actually in the office I think!)

    Iota - I know! What'll be really irritating, when I'm already in a bad mood, is knowing that I told myself so...!

    Glowstars/Notes to self/Northside mum - thank you. Am feeling all glowy (no pun intended) with lovely compliments.

    Babies who brunch - i fear I may have overstated myself! It's honestly not that exciting!

    Usedtobesomebody - was I that predictable? I guess I probably was. Thanks for the advice. And for your post on the ironing. I suspect I may be in the same category...(B actually pointed it out to me. He may know me too well!)

  20. Sorry I'm late commenting. Lovely post and you sound so happy. Congratulations on your new 'job'! x

  21. A really beautiful letter. I've got this decision still to come, and I suspect I may well be reading your post again in a few months time as I struggle to make the choice. x

  22. lovely. very well said, brought tears to my eyes. sending you the very best wishes!

  23. What a beautiful letter. And congratulations on making the best choice for you and your family at this point in time. So excited for you at your impending move to Scotland - it's like an episode of Relocation, Relocation! and that we'll get to hear all about it.

  24. Just catching up on your news as I've been away. Fantastic letter. Great sentiments it can help us all to remember. My boys already have a stereotype "when we grow up we will go to the office like daddy but J will stay at home because she's a girl". They will not believe that I went to university and had a job. But I don't mind. Hard as some days can be, I would not want to be missing out on all those precious details of their lives.

    Some say this stereotyping is why mothers should work, to be a postive role model, but I think it's more complex than that, and being at home is more important, if you can. (Sorry, I'm not being very eloquent. I did a post on this but am feeling too tired to express it properly here right now!) Well done you for taking a brave decision. I'm proud to be "just" a mum.

    ps, sorry to hear about the t-shirts, but I understand. I did wonder how you got it all done!

  25. Hi - I just popped back and saw your question as to whether Big Bro reads my posts or not - yes he certainly does, and I have to be very circumspect in my content for that reason as some of his friends also read it, and also my future daughter in law...that is something I was warned about before I started my blog as sometimes we forget that anyone anywhere can read our very personal stuff. I was going to post something recently about a girl who was giving my 10 year old a bad time at school then heard that her Mum had seen my blog and read the birthday poem I had posted, so now I've even more careful with what I write!!

  26. Sandy Calico - Thank you, and blog comments I think are definitely one of those cases where so so so much better late than never!!

    Tina - thank you so much.

    Deer Baby - Thank you! And amusing that you say we're like Relocation - we applied in desperation at one stage, but have now found somewhere all on our own! Phew!

    Motherhood and Anarchy - I found you! Well, actually you were there all along, but I've finally now clicked through to your new site. Thank you! Hope you had a good time away (and after all those travels I think you're being amazingly eloquent - I'd be a gibbering wreck). Am looking forward to reading all about it. As for the t-shirts. Not so much stopped altogether, as taking a break and only making them for people I like (hint...)

    Diney - interesting. Will have to bear that one in mind if I'm still blogging (as I hope to be) when they can read.

  27. I thought this was an intriguing post also a very brave one. Many congratulations on making the right decision for you, so many of us don't!

  28. Tattie Weasle - thank you. I only hope it *is* the right decision! Watch this space!

  29. I have seen this post via the Baby Baby blog and just wanted to congratulate you on your new role as stay-at-home mum! I am a stay at home mum to my little girl and I truly feel priviledged to be able to do this. I know it's often looked down upon but I know I will never regret all this time we are spending together in her early years. Plenty more years ahead of me for proper grown up career type stuff!

  30. Congratulations on making such a massive decision. Enjoy time with your babies, you only get each day once

  31. I struggled with working and looking after the kids for a long time. I finally gave up work, and then went back (part time) when they went back to school. Good luck! It's an age old struggle. Make sure you go to the having it all session at BritMums Live!


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