Having had my two girls later in life, I certainly have had plenty of time before I became a mum. Before becoming a mum, I was pretty much career focused. I didn’t leave having children until late because I was career focused. I was career focused because it was what I had. I had been with my partner for 8 years before I fell pregnant. He is a lot younger than I am. I waited until the time was right for both of us. I am so glad I did because having had my girls and the impact it has had on our lives, I realize how much better it is that we were both ready.
From a career point of view, I had all the time in the world. I had deadlines, as everyone has, but they never bothered me. If a piece of work didn’t get completed during the day, I could just finish it when I got home. I always knew I would get stuff done. I didn’t feel pressure.
Because I could finish work whenever (one of the joys of working in IT is that you literally can work anywhere), I was free to catch up with friends at lunch. Additionally, if I wanted to, I could stay back late, whether to work or to be social. Where I work, it had a pretty amazing social side. Before kids, it seemed we were always doing something fun after work.
When not working, I could go to the gym and exercise or, as I preferred, to go for walks along the beach after work. I was pretty slack with my gym membership. I would say that (possibly like most people), I would go regularly to begin with, but would start to slacken off, the longer I paid the membership.
Weekends were either socializing, or playing computer games. Since I was child, I had always played games. For me, it was nothing to spend a marathon session of 12+ hours in a day/night playing a game and really getting immersed in the atmosphere of it all.
I could stay up late, knowing that I didn’t have to be anywhere the next day. It was great, and the sleep was fantastic! I loved waking up feeling so refreshed and so rested.
The house was tidy.
Life was good. Life also became really predictable.
Soon, my life started to feel like a Monopoly board game for real. Pay bills, buy property, collect your wage (thankfully I have never gone to jail). Over and over again. I truly started to feel like my life felt empty.
And then my girls came along. Oh how my life changed! When my first was handed to me, I actually felt like my brain had been rewired. It was the strangest feeling. I went from being career focused to suddenly becoming so attached to this tiny creature that was so completely dependent on me. For the first time, I stopped obsessing about emails, computer games, TV, anything. All I could do was stare and hold her.
Returning to work the first time was such a shock. Prior to going on leave, hardly any of my workmates (mostly males) had children. When I returned, it seemed most had also had babies too. The dynamics in the office really changed. Suddenly any random chats by the coffee machine were in regards to our children and not what we got up to on the weekend.
My working days reduced from five per week, to three days. I wanted to spend as much time with my girl as possible. I was so happy and grateful that I even had the option of returning part time.
The biggest shift in my working day, came in the amount of effort I spent, trying to get everything completed within the day. I never worked so hard and remained so focused all day long before. I had to. I knew that when I got home, my baby girl would be wanting all my attention. I worked harder than ever before. I also think that having spent a year off with my daughter, I learned to multitask. Being able to go to work and focus on one thing, actually felt good. It was amazing how rewarding it felt to complete something. Not to mention go to toilet on my own!
Socializing is definitely different since my girls came along. Instead of late nights out, drinking with my friends, my preference is catching up for a coffee at a café nearby. Play dates and days out with my girls are how I tend to spend my days.
I have given up on ever having a gym membership. I spend most of my time running around after the girls. That said, in an attempt to get fit again (‘move it before you lose it’ is my inspiration), I have started exercising when the girls have gone to sleep. If I have any energy left.
My house will probably be tidy once the girls are teenagers (or not). I can live with that.
Oh and sleep, what’s that?!? Past Facebook posts where I brag to myself about how well rested I was, make me cringe. At least I slept, once upon a time. I will sleep again. I’m pretty sure of it.
Before my girls came along, life was predictable. Life was fun but life wasn’t complete. Since my girls came into my life, my level of happiness has increased significantly. Life is unpredictable and sometimes chaotic. It is definitely exhausting, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I much prefer the new version of me. Debbie Version 2.0