I’ve got used to always being on the go, to always being busy.
My day starts at 6am when you wake up and shout ‘Ra-ra!‘ from your cot. I drag myself up from bed to put on the kettle, really needing that sweet hit of caffeine, put in my contact lenses and have a wee.
We brush our teeth together while we fight over the electric toothbrush. It doesn’t matter that I bought you your own yellow one, you want the one that Mummy uses. I get dressed, then help you get dressed and we are out of the house before 7.30am.
We drive Daddy to his workplace and then we start a thirty minute commute to the town I work in. Most of the time you sit in the back with your bunny, cup and dummy happy as Larry and I only need to turn around if you ask me to pick up one of the items you inadvertently drop. I daren’t turn around too often because sometimes you get frustrated that I can’t give you my absolute full attention and you throw your prized possessions away resulting in a meltdown. Spending thirty minutes in a car with a screaming toddler is not much fun at all.
When we arrive at childcare there’s not even a backwards glance as you leave me at the front door and go hunting for toast. I exchange pleasantries with the childminder and make my way to work.
Most days I spend my lunch break catching up on blog emails, writing posts or promoting them on social media. My lunch break isn’t really a break at all, it’s a chance for me to stuff a sandwich in my mouth with one hard while typing furiously on my phone with the other. Yesterday, after a week off, I was unable to find time to have a lunch break which meant by the time I got home, I had thirty blog related emails that needed replying to.
We arrived home at 6.15pm and immediately you asked me to put on the TV in my bedroom. We’ve started having a lovely bedtime routine which involves me turning out all the lights, putting on some fairy lights, lighting some candles and watching Gigglebellies lullabies together until the Goodnight song comes on. You lie close to me on the bed and point out the sun, moon and different animals that flit on and off the screen. As the songs continue, you get more and more sleepy, resting your hand on my leg and your head on my shoulder.
Only, last night I wasn’t soaking up every moment. I was on my phone catching up with emails and tapping away furiously. I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t present until this morning when I woke up and you weren’t there because you were still asleep in your cot. It suddenly hit me hard like a ton of bricks into the chest: I missed you desperately.
Last week we spent every waking moment together. We visited Formby beach; we drove around a rainy safari park on the hunt for animals; we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner together and I loved every single second. I was sort of looking forward to getting back to work to have a break, but I simply had no idea how much I would actually miss you; how much I have been missing you all this time I’ve been back in work since the end of my maternity leave. I’ve been keeping myself so busy that I simply hadn’t had time to recognise that.
I know I am doing the right thing by choosing to work full time. It means we will have money to go on holidays; it means this year we will buy a house for you to grow up in; it means I can save money every month in an ISA for your future; it means I reclaim a little bit of myself back so I’m not just a Mum, I’m Nicola, 31 years old and I like 80s music, football and scrolling through Instagram.
But do know that each drop off at the childminders is hard for me, that I never stop talking about you in work, that your artwork and crafts are slowly taking up every inch of space in my office and that I miss you every second that we are not together.
But, little man, the time we spend apart just makes those moments we do spend together just that little bit more special. I promise to be more present when I get home from work and to leave the blogging, dishwashing and laundry until you are safely tucked up in bed.