If you would have told me 12 months ago that today I’d be sat on a laptop at home, Alabama Shakes on in the background, writing a blog while answering emails and enquiries for my own business, I’d have thought…”oh, so I finally set up that cleaning company!”. Erm, not quite the case, although friends who have known me for many years would probably have expected that too! However, they were not surprised when I told them I was going to leave my job and train to work as a birthing instructor. Why? Well, a couple of reasons really.
By trade, I have the privilege of being a children’s therapeutic social worker. This time last year, I was working part-time after returning from mat leave and as much as I loved my job, it was different now I was a working-mum. Emotions and frustrations about the work I did were heightened with having my own little one; I saw, felt and experienced things differently and whereas before I was able to mentally leave work behind, sometimes the cases, especially involving younger children were much harder to shift out of my mind.
As you can imagine, work loads were big and stressful, but you kind of get used to that. However, I had to constantly remind myself that I had my own child to prioritise now. I did not want them to be the last child standing at nursery each time I was on pick-up duty. It’s not their fault that their mum can’t predict how the 4pm appointment with a distressed teenager on her case load was going to go.
So the straw that broke the camel’s back? Let’s just say political pressures at work were not mixing well with personal stressors. There are only so many times you can ruin an episode of Corrie by off-loading your daily stresses or cry over a spaghetti bolognaise when trying to hold it together.
Thankfully, my husband spoke the words I needed to hear, “right, you are handing your notice in!”. Hallelujah! That’s the solution I didn’t think of – why? Probably because I worked hard to get my qualifications and my specialised job title, and I started to feel that was all I could or should do. I was a little clouded; the “job satisfaction” was now being outweighed by the stress and strain attached to many aspects of it and it took me a while to see it.
However, he was right. I looked back and thought about how I had been for the last couple of months – and my “light bulb moment” came. Only the day before I had been off with my little one; I should have been laughing at Mr Tumble, Going On a Bear Hunt or finding what food to give the Tiger for his tea…instead, I couldn’t get work out of my head. I remember it clearly, just couldn’t shake it off at all even when trying to give eye contact and a token gesture of a smile. That’s not right is it, when work takes up so much of your head space that it affects your sleep, your health and most importantly being a parent.
So I did it, handed my notice in. It is amazing how resourceful you become when faced with unemployment and a mortgage to pay, let me tell you! I really stripped back what it was that I enjoyed about life, what I enjoyed about the work I did and how I could balance the two, or if I wanted to at all. I knew I was a qualified, educated professional with a good reputation. I wasn’t going to struggle for a job. Now was the time to think out of the box. Mmmm, so what did I want to do now?
Cue, The Wise Hippo.
After my own positive experience of “hypnobirthing”, I spoke a lot about it to friends, family and pretty much anyone who asked, really. My birth was amazing, loved it. And why shouldn’t I be able to offer this experience to others? It felt like the opportunity had been staring me in the face all along. Everything I am passionate about ticked every box when reading about becoming a Wise Hippo instructor. Thanks to some unhelpful people, I really had to work hard to shelf my self-doubt and lack of confidence that had been stirred up over the years. But I did it, two-fingers up to those who made me feel I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something different. Friends and family knew what a tough time I had been having, not necessarily to the full extent, but it was reassuring to hear how encouraging they were of my new venture agreeing that it was going to be right up my street. And so, Mama Knows Best was born.
Both hubby and I have made big career changes at the same time. So far, so good. I did have to pick up some additional work; more hours, more days and different stresses but it was OK as I knew it was a means to an end. I’m now good to go, ready to go full swing on my new path.
So here I am, start of a journey. Thanks to those people and politics who kicked me up the ass to look at life differently…I am thanking you sweetly already. I am just sorry my little one was half heartedly parented for a while before I saw the light (cue the obligatory parental guilt!). I get one chance at being a mum, being a wife and being me. A cliché, I know, but life is too short so I am giving it some welly from now on – better late than never, I say.