Iona is 160 days old.

Almost three months have passed since I last posted an entry on this blog. It feels like about three weeks. It’s becoming apparent that all those random strangers who said, “Enjoy it, she’ll be at nursery/school/university before you know it,” were probably right.

I have never had so little time to myself in all of my life. I’ve always worked hard and had a fairly decent social life, but I’ve always been one to value a little ‘me’ time too. Right now, the only time I get to myself is the occasional bath and even then I prefer to take Iona in with me. It seems I am in love.

Now, apologies in advance for stating the obvious but being a good mum with a fairly good job is not easy. Hats off to all of you career mums and particularly to any single mums and dads out there. And as for those of you with more than one child  – well, you deserve a medal. It’s not just that there aren’t enough hours in the day (and really, there aren’t) but finding uninterrupted time to spend with my daughter is just so hard. And then there’s the guilt. I feel it is my job, my responsibility and my privilege to bring up my daughter – to be with her each day as she grows and discovers and learns and becomes. Sadly, that’s just not possible. We are lucky in some respects – I run my own business so have some flexibility. I can work from home and am very fortunate to have grandparents around to help out. On the other hand, I often have to work  10 to 12 hour days, which means very little time with my five month old daughter. This, I find very hard.

My longing to be with my daughter has made me reassess things in my life, my beliefs for one. While I appreciate and respect mothers who feel they must work for sanity reasons, personally, I feel exactly the opposite. I would give up work tomorrow if it wouldn’t leave us financially crippled. I’d happy play housewife/mum and almost resent the fact that my generation are pretty much resigned to juggling career and family. I can count on one hand the number of friends I have who have been able to stay at home to care for their children. I know some women who were back at work within days.

My priorities are changing too. I am making some changes so that hopefully I will be able to work less and spend more time with my daughter. I am selling my home, downsizing and buying something more affordable. Because this house, which was once so very important to me, no longer matters. It is bricks and mortar, not flesh and blood. It does not need me like my child does. It cannot bring me the joy that Iona can.

Because even on the days when our time together is short, Iona does at least one new thing which makes my heart almost burst with love. Today, 160 days in, Iona reached out for her mummy. There she was, happily sitting in her grandad’s arms, when I walked past. And I smiled and she smiled the biggest, gummiest, dribbliest smile back, and her little legs kicked with the excitement of it all, and her arms reached out to hold me. And this one fleeting, beautiful, remember-it-forever moment made this mummy so grateful to have been blessed with this most precious of gifts.

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