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Built On Guilt

We bloggers are very protective about the places where we store our thoughts (albeit voyeuristically) so when we are afforded the privilege of posting on someone else’s blog, regardless of how it’s happened (I did not beg or hack, Brownies honour) then we have to either try to impress or just carry on regardless. I prefer the latter, to be honest.

If you don’t already know me from Typecast  then let me introduce myself. I’m Nickie *waves*, I’m a writer, a nana (I know, I’m far too young… thank you kindly), a professional procrastinator and a working mum.

I am the bread winner of the family and I am very lucky that I was in the position to be able to role-swap with my husband, leaving him to be the at-home parent. There are circumstances that have led us to this point but that is a long and boring story. However, I am always mulling over the situation in my head, wondering if it was the best decision for our family. I was a Stay-At-Home-Mum for fourteen years and whilst I yearned to go back to work full time (never thinking of myself as a natural mother) I thoroughly enjoyed being fully involved in community/nursery/school life. I attended all relevant school assemblies, I held a key role at the local Parent and Toddler Group, I met friends for coffee and I enjoyed the structure of the day which was generally interspersed with shopping and visits to friends (the word ‘playdate’ hadn’t been invented back then) – it was all very free and easy.

That was then, this is now. Since I returned to work full time I have had two children at high school (one now left school and has left home) and you find that there isn’t as much school/parent commitment required unless you are a School Governor or a member of the PTA. Parents Evenings are generally a once-a-term event so I don’t feel too bad about not being ‘available’ during the day from this angle. What has really hit me hard is the fact that my youngest has spent most of his primary school days with a mummy not in attendance, cheering him on. There are plenty of guilt-ridden moments when I have missed him taking on a lead reading role in an important assembly or as team leader at sports day. I feel the onset of a pity party so give myself a virtual shake. He isn’t missing out on anything and there is a parental presence at these events but it’s not me!

I also find that there is a definite ‘super dad’ aura when my husband turns up for events as the at-home parent. Yes, he is fantastic as a Stay-At-Home-Dad, a complete natural and I’m not about to take that away from him – but no-one ever gasped in amazement when I had that role. What unwritten law is there that states SAHD’s are doing a better job than SAHM’s? But there is also a downside. He often feels a bit like an outcast in the school playground as there is no huddle of dad’s putting the world to rights, discussing the previous night’s TV or bitching about how so-and-so has sent their child to school again wearing an expensive sports jacket (I really miss playground politics – my inner bitch wasn’t so hidden back then). The unknown or the unnatural is guaranteed shock value but we live our lives like this because it suits our situation – not because we want to be ‘different’.

Anyway – thanks for letting me ramble on here – please come on over to my place and have a read but don’t desert Holly as she will hunt me down and kill me dead.


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