This seems to be a bit of a rambley piece but its weighing on my mind a lot lately.
It seems a bit redundant to have a mid life crisis at the grand old age of 22. I could potentially go ahead and decide that its a quarter life crisis, thus giving me an extra 44 years to play with in the hopes of getting it somewhat right, but for dramatic effect (my ex-drama student self loving it, of course), we’ll stick with mid life crisis.
I’m half way through my maternity leave, my baby is 12 weeks old and I’ve started looking into going back to work. Started looking into who will be minding my baby while I deal with the day to day things my job offers me (and I’ve even heard legend of uninterrupted cups of coffee! With a biscuit!). I never doubted that I would be going back to work after having him, it wasn’t something that entered my head while pregnant, that I’d become a stay at home mammy. My own mother did it after having my youngest brother for three years, so I do have memories of having Mammy at home from the age of five to eight or so. But it isn’t something that appealed to me. Having taken a basically extended maternity leave as it is, having been signed off work from 22 weeks, by the time I was en route to the labour ward I was chomping at the bit to get back to work. And facing into six months off, to get to know the tiny tyrant and to recover from his creation process. Not exactly the mixture I was hoping for. This makes me sound like a work-crazy fiend, I’m not, I just don’t deal very well with staring at the walls of the house all day. My job is something I’m good at, not something I wish to do for the rest of my days, but for the most part is something I enjoy.
I fear the Mammy hormones, and the money matters, have kicked in, and made me doubt everything. I like to have well laid out plans (not that they get stuck to) to work with, a framework to bounce off of in my day to day life. It is for this reason that in final year of college I decided to become an accountant, and scored an interview with the partners of one of the “Big Four” finance companies. They were offering me a five year plan and I was jumping at it, despite the fact that I abhorred accounting, had stopped doing it after Junior Cert and still am bitter about it being the one test I failed in school barring Higher Level Maths (damn you Profit and Loss account). None of this seemed to matter to me, as long as they gave me my lovely five year plan and it was all set out. Jesus, what was I thinking. I did of course receive the rather lovely PFO letter from them once they realised how not made out for a career in auditing I was in interview, and for that, I am truly thankful. However, this did leave me without a five year plan, and I ambled on anyway and wound up to where I am today, working in the same job for the last year and a half in something that wasn’t my field of study in college. This all seemed fine and dandy until I’ve had time off to think, and now have to assess what my next move is, and honestly, what my next five year plan is aiming towards. It’s now not all about me anymore, I don’t have the freedoms of being able to up and leave a job and hope for the best. I’ve got rent and bills to pay, nappies and formula to buy, and to fund all of this while still making sure that I am the one E is calling “Mama”, not a childminder. It’s giving me a serious case of the Mammy Guilts and I’ve not even left the room he’s in yet. If I’m leaving him I want it to be for something that I love, or at least, will want to leave the house to do it in the morning. Unfortunately it seems that my degree isn’t much use for me there, unless I go back and top it up. I’m eligible for graduate schemes, much like my lovely five year plan for becoming an accountant, but given the feedback from others who have pursued them, it is unlikely that I will be able to devote the long hours and dedication to the role in order to succeed when he is this young, without complete neglect of the Mammy duties.
And so I am faced with a crisis, which would likely be solved by a lovely lotto win or a rich benefactor deciding to make me their pet project. Understandably, this is a crisis which I’m likely better off having at 22 than 44, because I’m still at the very very start of my career. That opinion piece by Kirstie Allsopp two weeks ago, about how we should be having our babies younger and then going back for the career got me thinking. Yes, it is fantastic that when my baby goes to school in four/five years time I will still be in my late twenties and able to start picking up on proper career work, and that by the time I turn 40, he will hopefully be heading off to college. However, I don’t think she’s being realistic about how much more of a struggle it is to get established while balancing everything else with your career. My mam was an absolute hero and went back to study when my littlest brother started school (he’s just finished his Leaving Cert today), and for years worked and studied by night as well as minding us, her three kids under the age of 10. Until I went through university myself, I never realised how much of a struggle it must have been to be that dedicated to studying while everything else was going on at the same time. It was done with a lot of support from family members, but still, the dedication required is something I’m not sure Kirstie takes into account in her piece. Last time I checked, “My three year old was up all night crying so its not completed” doesn’t get you bonus marks in any college essay.
I need to decide what to do with my life all over again. With everything else balanced in. Wish me luck…