When I’m passionate about something, I research the heck out of it. When I was pregnant I read books, googled everything possible and took advice of other parents.
When Mason was born I did everything that I thought I ‘should be’ doing. I never followed my gut, I did what the books said. What people expected of me. Now having my third when I was 28 I’ve pretty much got it down to a tee. I’m exactly the mother I wanted to be and I do what’s best for us all.
I struggled when Mason was a baby, I missed my life, I missed work, I missed people, most of all I missed myself. Looking back now I’m pretty certain I had postnatal depression.
I returned to work when Mason was 7 month old and I enjoyed it. I was a hairdresser/barber and my job was based around being social, talking to people and feeling like I served a purpose.
Don’t get me wrong, being a mother is the most amazing gift any woman can ever have, I loved it, but I was more than just a mother.
When Mason started a pre school playgroup, it was the first time those words got said to me, I kissed Mason goodbye and a little girl said to me on the way out…’bye Mason’s mam.’
Fast forward to the time I returned to work after maternity leave with Finley. Mason was under diagnosis for autism and Finley was 6 month old. Finding people to watch the kids was hard. I couldn’t put Mason into a mainstream nursery or Childminder, we had a few failed attempts. My mam really struggled with the demands from a struggling Mason and a small baby. Emma was finding it hard to work her shifts around helping me with childcare. Even if I did have a nursery or Childminder for both the boys, my wage would of been took up by the cost.
I made the decision to leave work, I spent six months of stressing over childcare and stressing over leaving the two of them everyday. I’d be able to claim to be Mason’s carer with the benefits he received.
When I left work, I left a part of my identity there.
We barely left the house, it was too hard and too stressful, we spent most our days cooped up doing the same thing, day in, day out.
Mason had his diagnosis, we had so many people and services involved, I had people turn up at my door and I couldn’t keep track of it, one day I actually said to someone ‘I’m sorry, who are you?’ Every time The would address me the same:
‘Are you Mason’s mam?’
‘Can I speak to Mason’s mam?’
‘Is that Mason’s mam?’
After a while I became just Mason’s mam. It was all I was.
That’s really hard, I felt I had more to offer the world, I always wanted to work, I enjoyed my work and hoped to get back someday.
The thing is, my work hours don’t fit around school hours and I don’t have someone every day to pick up and drop off Mason to and from school.
I’ve accepted the fact that I will probably never work again. However there is huge positives around that too. I get to be there for my kids all the time, I get to be flexible with appointments and school events. I got to have another baby, we may not of had Theo if I worked still.
I have the best but hardest job in the world, I compare my days with kids to my husband as my work. Technically I’m Mason’s carer so i do get paid for it. With my job though, I’m always in the same 4 walls, I don’t get a break, my job is 24/7, I don’t leave a shop or office to my home life. I’m always there, every day of the week is pretty much the same.
I chose to be a parent but being an autism parent chose me, I wasn’t something I anticipated. Loosing your identity is hard when you always thought you would keep something that was just for you. Maybe someday I will get that back.
For now, I plan on being the best parent I can be and raising my beautiful little boys into young men.