This week, I helped a friend in need. I won’t go into details as far too much attention has been placed on them unfairly and unnecessarily.
In the midst of banging out statements and talking people down from cliffs, something became abundantly clear. I made the right decision.
In my life before the smalls, I was a grown up: An editor, a journalist specialising in online media. I set up my own media consultancy. I managed websites, created bespoke online presences, designed B2C campaigns, wrote articles, made programmes… All the things I was trained to do. And I did them well – award-winningly well, in fact. Well enough to feel a wrench when I closed the books.
When I was expected Big, I immediately knew that my professional life did not tally with that of a mother. I couldn’t take off for five days to cover Badminton and not be there to kiss her goodnight. I couldn’t justify battling social media on behalf of a client until 5am only to be too exhausted to read Fox’s Socks for the 58th time. Fundamentally, my priorities were going to change in the biggest way possible and now I wonder how I had the foresight to predict that and also to immediately reconcile giving up a successful 18-year career in the process. I loved my job. I met my heroes. One of them even made me a cup of tea in her kitchen, but it was blindingly obvious that with the hours Lovely Husband works and this precious bundle imminent that something would have to give. In this case, my career.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t miss it. It means I’m resigned to it. I’d be lying if I said that feeling my fingers flying over the keyboard as I carefully constructed the right message didn’t give me a buzz. That second guessing and predicting the effect didn’t remind me of the best of my time in my profession. But it did make one thing abundantly clear: I did the right thing.
I did the right thing because for those hours while I got a hold of what needed to be done, I was absent. My children were waiting to give me birthday presents. Medium wanted to tell me what she’d done on the potty. Big wanted to not only tell me what my present was, but also where they’d bought it. Little just want to bite me. But all three wanted me and I realised that by moving on from professional life and into the confines of domesticity, I am there. And I am theirs. And that is the greatest accolade.
Maybe one day I will go back to it. I am good at it and I enjoyed my brief sojourn out of retirement. I just wish it had been under more pleasant circumstances. But for now, the only headlines I need to concentrate on are those that my family creates.