I heard something the other day and it really struck a chord, a friend of mine said:
"I'm paid maternity pay to spend the time raising my child, if that takes up all of my day then it's only fair. If I was at work, I'd be busy from 9-5"
This gave me a whole different perspective on what I do all day. She's right, if I was at work I wouldn't be expecting to necessarily enjoy myself. I would definitely expect to be busy from the start of my shift until the end, with maybe a short break if I'm lucky.
So maybe I should be more dedicated to my daughter? Especially within office hours. But then I thought about that statement in a bit more detail. It is quite a strong thing to say - that I should be shackled to my daughter every day and spent all of my time entertaining her as, after all, that's what I'm being "paid" to do.
But does that mean at 5pm I should stop and say to my husband that it is his turn, I've done my days work? After all, he works long hours in his job, too. What about the evenings, nights and weekends. Does that mean I'm "owed" time off from my "new" job?
On the face of it I agree with this statement, yes I am being paid to have months off work and raise my baby; but very quickly the pay starts to dwindle and very soon I will be on no pay at all. In my job as a midwife, I work shifts, which (at the moment) means I'm paid if I work antisocial hours. There's definitely not a subsidy for doing the night shift with my daughter (joking of course).
Is it so wrong that I want to socialise and have some time to myself in the day? That a long prayed for nap may give me half an hour to watch a bit of mindless TV. I wouldn't get that luxury at work? If I was to completely agree with what my friend said then I should be happy to stay at home all day and concentrate only on looking after my child, but I'm not. I need to go out and socialise and meet other mums. This is for my sanity. But I'm not being "paid" to drink coffee with my mates and have a day where my mum looks after my daughter so I can have my eyebrows waxed or clean the house.
This doesn't even consider the fact that I chose to have a baby, therefore I should be willing to do anything I can to bring her up. The fact I get maternity pay is a bonus.
The thought of being paid to parent really makes me feel uneasy, it's a privilege that is not afforded to every mum; maternity pay and benefits are a luxury. Should I see my daughter as a day job? I don't think so, she's definitely a 24/7 kinda baby! I think that, personally, you have to do whatever gets you through until bed time. Whether that is drinking a coffee with your mate while your baby watches TV for a bit, or if it is playing the same peek-a-boo game for the 7,000th time so that you feel you are being the most involved mum you can.
Parenting is way harder than a day job. I count the pay as a survival bonus, or at least enough to cover the cost of the coffee to keep you awake!