After a lot of thought and discussion I have made the decision to hang up my NICU nurse uniform and leave the hospital. I am going back to university for a year, full-time, to train as a health visitor.
Career-wise, I know I am making the right decision for me and my little family. I will no longer have to do 12.5 hour shifts and I won’t have to work unsocial hours of night shifts and weekends. I will be able to, for the first time in my working life, have routine in my life. Hopefully this will improve my health long term.
The difficulty in my decision lies in the emotions of leaving the twinkles to go to work full-time for a year. I have had the luxury of working part-time since returning from maternity leave (currently doing eight shifts a month) and Rob and I have been able to manage to look after Biscuit and Cracker between us. They haven’t ever been left with anyone (bar grandparents babysitting for a day for a friend’s wedding) and they have never been left in an environment that is unfamiliar to them.
I am aware of how lucky we have been to be able to do this for the last 17 months, and I have nothing but respect for mums and dads (a lot of my close friends included in this) who had to return to work full-time and use nurseries, child minders etc. We probably would have done the same if we had a single baby. If you factor in child care costs for two children, it actually wasn’t worth me going back full-time and paying for someone else to care for them (one quote we had for a London nursery was £2000/month for the twins to go two days a week).
Now my university start date is looming ever closer (less than three weeks to go) and we are finalising the arrangements with the child minder I feel a little emotional. One of the girls at work joked about how I thought I’d cope with how much I’m going to miss in this year with my twinks and that really got me thinking. I know that I will at least see them every day, both at breakfast and for bath and bed time. At the moment if I am on a long day they are still asleep when I leave for work and are back in bed asleep when I get home, I go around 36 hours without them seeing me. I hope that the time I will be able to spend with them this year on weekends and on holidays will be more special. I will, fingers crossed, not be so tired from a screwed-up body clock with my transitions from days to nights.
I am focusing in the positives for them- as twins I never worried about their socialising, they have always been used to another little one around and have always had to share things (both toys and me), but now they are getting older and I think it would be good for them to be around more children. Especially children of different ages. They will also get used to different adults, although they have always been very good as they are used to a lot of our friends and family coming round to see them. I also think it may be a good opportunity for them to develop and mature a little. However much we want our little ones to grow and do well, I for one am guilty of possibly doing things for them that they would be perfectly capable of doing but don’t want to! They are still my babies after all!
Biscuit and Cracker are amazing. They are funny, kind, sweet, hilarious and contented. Every day they do things that make me laugh and smile. Every thing I do in life is about my family and this decision about my career is no different. Of course I will miss them every second that I am away from them, and will spend all my spare time thinking about them.
Being away from my babies full-time does not make me a part-time Mama, it makes me a Mama who wants to better herself, her career and her life for them and for our whole family.