Wednesday, 29 January 2014


When we first moved to Australia almost 6 years ago we were meant to be there for 3 years.  My children were almost 2 and almost 3 months respectively.  I remember pushing them in the fancy new buggy that we purchased when we got down there.  Pushing them along the cracked sidewalks (footpaths as they're known as there) I could not imagine what 3 years down would look like.  And as the end of our stay approached, I could not imagine what it would be like being back home.  I knew it was going to happen but I could not imagine it.  That's how it is with change.  Even when you know it's coming you have no idea how it's going to be.

We're moving offices so I'm having similar feelings.  For the most part I could care less.  I'm not so invested in the location of where I work.  It is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.  Yet I find myself a little nervous.  I won't be sitting across from the woman who's been across from me the last 2 years that I've been back.  She has a little boy who's around the same age as my middle child.  We share war stories and commiserate over our lack of perfection when it comes to parenting children.  She'll not be more than 2 rows away from me but there's something about turning your chair around and having a quick chat - even if it is to proofread something quickly.

When I left work 5 years ago I never thought I would come back.  Not here anyway.  But the way the cards fell I had to come back to work.  I remember the month before I came back I was so angry.  Angry at my hard working partner because he didn't deliver on his end of the bargain.  Callous and selfish, I know.  He was stressed.  I was stressed.  I had to remind myself that being a supportive partner meant that I have to be supportive when things go well AND when they're not going as well as expected.  It's the latter that they are referring to when they say "for better or worse."

So I came back.  And everyone adjusted.  My mum cares for the children during the day.  I have someone come to help her for the hours after school when everyone is a little bit crazy and wound up.  When I get home there is usually dinner waiting for me.  I play the role of the 1950s father.  Except that I give the children baths and put them to bed.  Did fathers do that in the 1950s?  

I find that as a working mum I am not as good a parent.  I have a great deal of admiration for all those women out there who seem to have it all together.  I need more alone time than anyone else I know.  I don't enjoy anyone's company.  I am miserable most of the time.  Miserable and tired.  I dread hanging out with the children.  I look forward to the time when they're all in bed.  I feel awful about it.  Because as much as I feel that way I know I am not going to get this time back.  That that 2 year old who was my sole companion those first few days, weeks and months in Sydney has grown up into a 7 year old.  More and more when I look at her I can see the young woman she will become and no longer the baby I once held.  Her sister, my lovely, beautiful 5 year old.  She started kinder this year and has already lost her first tooth.  They're not babies anymore.  My little boy is in the throes of being three.  It's hectic and fun and full of possibilities.  And yet I can't see the forest for the trees.

Soon, I can choose to leave.  I can choose to leave work I should clarify.  The thing about me is I'd rather be given the boot than CHOOSE.  There are new questions that come up.  What will my mum do?  I feel like her being with the children gives her purpose.  What will I do?  The children are all in school pretty much full time.  Being a stay at home mum here is different than in Sydney.  For one thing, there is hardly anyone else around.  Everyone else works.  What would I do for my brain?  That needs to be figured out because even here I feel like I am slowly dying.  Filling my time reading blogs about everything and feeling inadequate because the skills for which I was hired are not being used as much as they could be.  I don't want a pity party.  I just need to get all this out.  This noise in my head.  I can't figure out which way to move.  I feel like I'm stuck in a bog trying to figure out which way to go.

If I leave my job I'm leaving financial security.  I have a really well paying job.  That I hate.  Golden handcuffs.  If I leave my job I am taking away a job for my mum.  Though she'll be the first to tell me that that's dumb.  If I leave my job what else would I do?  How would I go about doing it?  

Writing this, I feel self indulgent and ungrateful for all that I do have.  I am very lucky.  Why can I not just focus on that?

Right now I am paralysed.  I know to make any change you just need to take a step.  Just look at the first step and take it.  But I don't know where the path leads.  Surely to take the first step you need to know where you're going?

Soon we will have been back longer than we've been away.  Soon I will be 42.  Soon we will no longer have any of the baby paraphernalia that is still lingering in our house.  Soon I will be taking a new route to work.  Soon we will have passed an anniversary.  So much changes.  So much stays exactly the same.