Must Do’s and Want To’s – A Lesson For Self-Employed Mums

This morning taught me a valuable lesson of being a working stay-at-home mum. Four months ago, I became a self-employed (doula/childbirth educator) and stay-at-home mum to my two year old daughter Emily. Since then I have written eloquently about the joys I have found in the simple things such as jumping in puddles with her and even ironing. But I think this morning’s lesson may prove to be the most valuable and perhaps the key to making this new arrangement what I had dreamt of.I had planned on having my older daughter watch Emily so that I could attend a mother’s group. But since she had worked last night my older daughter did not feel like getting up before 10am to watch her baby sister. Who can blame her? I checked with my brother-in-law and he was happy to watch Emily. But Emily was not happy to have Uncle Funny. At that moment I discovered the true joy of being self-employed…I really could choose.Of course the temptation was strong to just bend Emily’s will and take my crying two year old to her uncle’s. I knew that he would take good care of her. I knew too that she would stop crying within five minutes or so. But why? I had quit my full-time job for the much greater part so that I could spend more time with Emily. Why should I push that aside to rush off to a meeting that was not absolutely a must do?Don’t get me wrong…self-employment has its own must do’s. When babies are born or classes are scheduled then I have the same responsibilities as when I worked full-time. On those occasions I must simply carry a screaming two year old to her uncle and console myself with the knowledge that she will soon quit crying. But being self-employed offers me these moments…these choices.The hard truth is that we can not have it all. We can not in the words of the Enjoli jingle…Bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and never let you forget the romance. We must all make choices. Some of them monumental…such as deciding to start your own business so you can be home more with your child. Some of them small…like skipping a meeting here and there. But together they add up to motherhood.

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