The answer is two fold.
Firstly, Tim and I agreed just after Christmas, whilst I was still on maternity leave that the way we wanted to parent, would mean that one of us should be readily available and at home to care for the children 24/7. In our situation, it makes absolutely sense for that person to be me. We also agreed, that as both our babies have August birthdays, we would put them into some form of childcare each week for their socialisation, growth and development and to attempt to be #school ready. Cue confusion and anxiety about who I am and what I do… I am going to stop being a nurse, something I love and am proud to be and have always felt is my identity… but I am not embracing the full time stay at home mum role either, because, I want the very best for my children and although hard to admit it, I do not think staying at home 24/7 with me is the very best for them. Suffice to say this has taken a long time to get my head around, and I am still not completely comfortable/feel a lot of guilt and inadequacy. I’m at home, but I am sending my children out 3 days a week. But I am definitely not a lady that lunches! I am relatively financially comfortable, but I have an absolute yearning. To do something big. To make a real difference to peoples lives. Something powerful and fulfilling. I don’t feel I have fully reached my potential in nursing yet, and yet now everything is on hold. Or is it?
Being at home with 2 children under 2 (at the time) meant in so many ways I had absolutely no time; the days flew by narrowly avoiding catastrophes, colossal tears, fits of giggles and juggling poonamis. But, in another way, maternity leave gave me all the time in the world to think! To scrutinise. To overanalyse. To psych myself out and to get in a real head funk with no-one on a day-time basis to change my mood or feelings. I don’t think I was low, I don’t think I was lonely, I don’t think I had depression. I was shattered (who isn’t when you’ve just had a baby and have a toddler!) and it was the first time in my life I experienced being alone. As the sleep slowly drifted back into my life (Hallelujah!!!) this got me really thinking about #loneliness and its #impact on health.
Whilst staying with my mother in law I went out on a run early one morning. It was the most beautiful day. One my Grandfather would have always said is “A great day for the race”. To which you’d reply “What Race?” and he would say, ‘the Human Race’. I am very lucky that in my village and town I am often bold over by how friendly and welcoming people are, but it struck me when out for this run, on this beautiful day, that not one person acknowledged or replied to my ‘good morning’.
I started to wonder whether I could set “something” up that tackled isolation and brought community spirit and neighbourhoods back together, whilst also fitting around the children and giving me an identity.