I cried in the little kitchen in my office the other day while making a cup of tea. A woman asked me how I was feeling about coming back to work. This was not the first time anyone has asked this, I still get it a couple of times a week, and I use to say I feel ‘liberated,’or ‘going back to work makes me a better mother,’ but this time I just said ‘guilty’ and started to cry. And luckily the woman who asked me knew just what to do- she gave me a hug, tissue and told me from experience how well it worked out for her family. But if I am being really honest with myself, guilt is still all I feel when I walk out the door at 7 in the morning. Normally Freddie is crying, its dark and its raining because it’s England. Maybe if I had fairy godmothers and talking animals throwing glitter and cheering me on saying something like ‘work it girl,’ I would feel differently. It’s not getting easier, it’s getting more difficult so I don’t know what to say to those of you who tell me it gets easier. That’s just not happening for me.
But I do want to thank each and every one of you who have offered me a hug, a story and a shoulder about going back to work and just motherhood in general. I had so many women reach out after my last post about my worries of going back to work, it made me realise that the sisterhood is real. We may all decide to parent differently, but when it comes to loving on our kids and leaving them, well in that respect, we are all the same.
So besides feeling this deep and damning sense of guilt, what else is happening?
Freddie turned one. We’ve decided that this milestone is one that is more exciting for us than it is for him. We figure we can get away with another year of not making a big deal out of his birthday, so we got the kid a balloon, made a cake and called it a day. We won’t celebrate his birthday until the year he can say sing the birthday song. We may not be in the running for parents of the year, but we are helping him have realistic expectations of his January birthday. Everyone knows January birthday kids have it rough, being just after Christmas and in the middle of cold and flu season, generally kids January birthday parties are underwhelming with everyone cancelling at the last minute. When you grow up it gets even worse, everyone is skint after Christmas and there is buzz kill called ‘dry January,’ created by your liver, which ruins any amount of fun you may have in January. So while we may be the first people to give him a low key birthday party, we definitely won’t be the last.
Freddie had his naming and it was the most beautiful thing we have ever done. No truly. We might suck at birthdays, but I am so glad we gave the boy a proper naming (think Christianing or Baptism, but in Judaism it is when you receive your Jewish name).Freddie loves a platform and he thought the entire congregation was there for his naming. He said things like ‘ow’ when they handed him a teddy bear and tried to give the Rabbi a cuddle. He was the best and most sweetest baby there ever was, and I read the most beautiful words about creation and prayers for him. After his monologue, the kids played in the lobby of the synagogue while services continued, and every once in a while you would hear Freddie yelp with excitement and the Rabbi would comment. Afterwards we drank wine and went to a local Chinese to celebrate Freddie ‘Solomon’ Simmons Durrant. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we are very lucky with our village people. Our village spoilt and loves on Freddie hard, and I hope one day he realises how lucky he is. Seriously, Freddie’s naming was one of the best evenings of my life.
And finally, we started a new project. Abe part II, aka George. This one is a doozy, it is smack in the middle of Canterbury, was built in 1795 and most likely hasn’t really been renovated since then. In some ways this is great, it still has the original panelling and fireplaces, in others it’s not so great- every room needs replastering, every ceiling needs taking down before it falls down. Did I mention the leaky roof? It is messy, but when the mess gets cleared and they start putting it back together I am going to fluff this Georgian up. I’m going bigger and bolder with colours, because why not- I think you can get away with more with age, and since George is over 200 years old, he can get away with almost anything (just not crocs). Move in date is set for the 7th of March- I have every faith in Will and the dream team, not much faith in the leaky roof, and still upset he did’t let me ride that lift.