Last year when I wrote about maternal mental health we were right in the beginning times of the pandemic. I was watching parents making bread, painting rainbows, and crafting with their children. People were posting about this gift of time with their kids. Meanwhile cut to my living room where I sat halfway through maternity leave, with a bored 4 year old and grumpy 6 month old, who were at such different stages with such different needs I felt I couldn’t do anything fun with them and that I was failing them both. The older one I couldn’t play with because I was caring for the baby, and the baby never got the one to one attention my son got when he was her age. And while I love the cuddles and kisses from my babies, I was so touched out I wanted to peel my skin off. While I love their laughs and their wee noises while they play, it has been so loud I began staying up until 1 or 2am just to be in the quiet without someone whinging to be fed.
During lockdown I returned to work, and it was completely different from the role I had left just 9 months before. Where I was working one on one with new parents, now I was organising a small team of people and doing social media work, and doing all this with the children still underfoot with no care. In all fairness my husband has worked throughout the pandemic, and has helped where he could over his breaks, but I haven’t rested properly in over a year.
Slowly things are opening back up. My parents are now fully vaccinated and able to help with the kids and the nursery is reopened (quick shout out to the utter angels who care for my son when he’s there!), and we are returning to some face to face work. It doesn’t look the same as the before times, but it is a step towards normality. And in this normality I hope that I no longer have to be a mum 24 hours a day, that my temper will improve from some space to breathe, and that the heavy weight of isolation and care tasks eases so I can be the mum I want to be again.