There is something that has been bugging me for a while. It’s something that I feel I need to get off my chest, and after careful consideration, I’ve decided to do so.
So, here it goes.
I am a full time mum. And I’m a reporter.
I work as a reporter for three newspapers that cover the whole of west Wales, along with a radio station, which I also write and read the news for.
I work five days a week. I start work at 9am, and I don’t finish until 5.30pm. Within that time, I don’t see my daughter at all, and the only time I see her in the week, is when I pick her up from her Nan’s house, who has been caring for her all day, and then I bring her home, play with her for an hour, and put her to bed.
I see my work colleagues, more than I see my own family, and I expect that is the case for a lot of men and women.
But, does this not make me a full time mum?
I remember walking with Nanny Jill, pushing Esme along in the pram, on our way to collect my niece, Sophie, from school. We talked, laughed and joked, and as we reached the school doors, we took a seat outside next to other parents and grandparents waiting for their grandchildren.
It was a sunny day, and the hood of Esme’s pram was up. I noticed the sun was in her eyes, so I said: “Shall Mammy turn you around so the sun isn’t in your eyes?”
An elderly lady, short in stature, wearing a pair of glasses – if I remember rightly – laughed. It wasn’t a sneer, it wasn’t even a snort. It was an open laugh, at the hideous comment that had entered her head, and was about to come out of her mouth.
After letting out an enormous ‘HA’, she told me: “I bet Esme thinks that Nanny Jill is her Mammy!”
Nanny Jill said kindly said that she was mistaken, and she knows full well who her Mammy is.
But this comment, as you may expect, offended me. Now, we have all felt the guilt of being a parent, wondering whether or not the choices we have made for our children have been the right ones. And right then, in the playground, I felt it.
I felt the guilt of not being there for my daughter in the day, missing all of the moments that I wish I could be there for. Witnessing her attempt new words, try new foods, take first steps.
I’m pretty sure I asked her what she meant. Or at least I should have, just to see what she said. But, I know exactly what she meant.
When I was on maternity leave, I couldn’t wait to get back to work. I felt lonely when Al left for work, and couldn’t wait until he came home again. As all parents know, it’s difficult looking after a tiny baby, but I was fine.
I missed my friends in work – they were the only friends I really had, and I desperately wanted to have some time away from being mum, and just be Tamsin for a few hours. But, as the days, weeks, months went on after I went back to work, I couldn’t help but miss my daughter.
All – the -time.
Since that day, I’ve noticed something that many people seem to do – mostly on social media. They set their employment status to “Full Time Mum,” when they actually mean “Stay-at-home Mum.”
Now, please don’t assume at this point that I hold any grudges or judge other mums for staying at home – I wish that I could. I just find that it implies that mums who don’t stay at home to look after their children – for whatever reason – aren’t full time mums.
Aren’t they? Yes. Of course they are.
Everything I do is for my daughter. Me, going to work, is for my daughter.
And it goes without saying, that nobody should have to justify themselves to anybody. Stay-at-home Mums should never have to justify to anybody why they have chosen to be a Stay-at-home Mum, and nobody should have to explain why they go to work. It is nobody’s business, but your own.
I just wish that people would recognise that we are all Full Time Mums, whether we work or not. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We are all in this together.