And then it all changed
Today was the day I’d envisaged going back to work after maternity leave. C is 6 months old, L is back at school after half term last week, today would have been the day I’d have left my two girls with a live-in nanny to go back to work in an office, leaving them from 8am until 7pm for 4 or 5 days a week.
Then everything changed. About 2 months ago. I was getting all ready to go back to work, I had contacted nanny agencies in our search for a live-in French nanny, I started to think about work clothes and weaning C off breast-feeding during the day. Then I had a moment of clarity. I don’t want this, I thought. I can’t do this.
In the back of my mind – you know that fanciful area where anything is possible – I had been entertaining the idea of childminding, so that I could work and spend time with my girls too, especially as I’d really wanted C to have a playmate her own age somehow. But the rational side of my brain kept arguing me back into place, with things like “you’ve got a degree”, or “you’ve got a good job as an account director in a digital marketing agency in London, are you going to give that up?”, or “won’t you get bored?”, or “your brain will shrivel up and die”.
But none of these arguments were enough to deter me from what I really want to do, right now, which is to provide fun childcare in French and English for my daughters and a couple of other children (preferably of a similar age). I started to look into it, and I discovered that it’s feasible and financially viable.
So I set up a meeting with my bosses and handed in my notice, fortunately they were really supportive of me, as were all my (former) colleagues when I told them. It’s a very strange feeling as I went back to work 4 days, then 5 days a week when L was just 3 months old (as is fairly common in France), and then didn’t really spend any time with her, not working, until last September when I went off on maternity leave. And I have seriously loved this time.
It may not be what I do forever, but for now it feels like the most right thing in the world and I couldn’t be happier.