I really struggled over the summer holidays with work. I found it hard that I was missing out on time with the kids. I also found it hard that I was running programs for kids at my library when my own kids were at home. Now that school is back it's a lot easier - they are busy so I'm not missing out on time with them. But I found it so hard - I felt genuinely sad.
There may be those of you who think that's a bit mad. Especially those of you who would love to go to work to get a break from your kids. Or those of you who have been juggling work and kids since you had babies.
I don't like feeling sad but also I don't think it's a bad thing. It stops me from getting consumed by work. It gives perspective. It helps me remember what's important to me in my life. It stops me from having my sense of well-being tied up with how work is going.
I think working has also confirmed for me that staying at home with the kids full-time for a long time was the right thing for me to do - for myself as much as anyone else. If I'm struggling now, I would have been a mess when they were all little.
In saying all that, I am happy to be working and am enjoying the new stimulation that comes from working. I think it's taken some of the sadness out of moving out of the baby stage which I was feeling a few years ago. I have new things for the future to think about.
But I'm also realising more and more that parenting remains complicated and demanding. Just because I'm not wiping bottoms, pushing prams and chopping up food all day anymore, parenting doesn't stop. It's become emotionally demanding - and having time to talk to the kids about all these things is time consuming. I have to avoid the trap of thinking that because they don't need me physically that they now don't need me. And it's an easy trap to fall in to when the offer of more work is on the table.