"No! I'm going to be a Librarian Queen Mummy like Mummy!" my Poppet exclaimed.
While my heart did a little giddy flip at the sweetness of her, my work is also something I've been thinking about a lot recently, as I've started back doing a shift a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how swaps work out.
This is the earliest I've started back at 'work' after a baby and I feel incredibly blessed that it all works so perfectly. I'm doing very short shifts and my parents are happy to make the 6 hour round trip to look after Littlest while I'm away during the week, while on my weekend shifts my beloved mans up and takes on the three wee ones solo (Flatteringly, he does look a little frazzled when I trip gaily up to the front door on my return, rested. recharged and eager to hug my beaming, filthy delights.)
Financially, I'm not entirely sure if it evens out - just look at the time involved on my parents behalf - that's a combined twenty of their hours for my four hour shift, not to mention train tickets etc. Yes, they get to spend uninterrupted baby time... but that's a massive commitment, which I'm very grateful for and I fully understand would not be an option for everyone.
What it comes down to for us is keeping choices and options open.
Yes, my Beloved is nearly finished his degree, but life and fate are capricious - you just never know what's going to happen. It's not a 'life is capricious now', life and work have always been capricious.
We, in (most) of the west, finally have some kind of backup, but I still think it's good to be prepared.
Keeping my skills relevant, my references relevant, as well as my Beloved's, is something we believe is important as a family, even if I never work full time again - although the likelihood is that I will.
So I'm waking in the middle of the night to express milk, trying to remember to put in breast pads (the wet-patched-chest look isn't the most sophisticated around) giving my dusty work shoes a quick once over with baby wipes and back in the paid workforce again, if only very casually, and only till Christmas.
My beloved is spending quality, one on one, time with the kids and my parents, remembering how hard it was for my mum to re-enter the workforce after a long child-raising break, are making the mammoth journey.
I'm so very grateful that my work is so flexible (short as my shift is one of my supervisors told me I'd be welcome to bring Littlest to feed, or have her brought to me. Luckily Littlest is taking happily to the bottle... although there was that one time when Sprocket drank her milk and she was a wee tad hangry when I returned...)
I'm returning from work loaded up with books about childhood, motherhood, mothers negotiating childhood in todays world and the nature of work in todays world. (This time I'll return them on time, honest. Ish.)
My brain is slowly fluttering back into action - not that this is a result neccesarily of returning to work - more a confluence of happenings.
I'm curious about how other mothers negotiate paid work and work in the home, their choices about when to return to work and when to give it away and what motivates/motivated you.