The countdown is on

2017 is a big year.

Perhaps not as momentous as 2011, the year I got married.

Or as eventful as 2012 when I became a Mum.

Or even as huge as 2015 when I had another child.

But 2017 is a big year because, just two weeks in, I will walk out of my job on a Friday afternoon and become a full time stay at home Mum.

And, I'm scared.

In fact, scared doesn't even begin to describe to confused mess of feelings I have inside right now.

Terrified might be closer to it but that doesn't include the strange excitement I sometimes feel.

Anxious. That definitely comes into it.

I've had a crisis of confidence as a parent, as a Mum from the start. It's odd, because I have actually wanted children since I was child myself. I've never seen myself as succeeding in anything else. I went to university because, despite being the first in my family to do so, it had always been expected of me. I was intelligent with a passion for writing, I did well enough at school, achieved good grades. Of course I would go to university.

But I never saw that as ending in an actual career. Because a career was just something I wanted to have before I had children.

I just wanted to be a Mummy.

And then I fell pregnant. And it was awful. 'Morning' sickness is a lie and no amount of crackers or dry toast was going to help. For a new mum-to-be, any sign of bleeding means miscarriage and I had loads of scares. By the time I was 20 weeks in I was a nervous wreck.

That's when a relative turned to me and said:
"It's OK if you're not a natural mother and go back to work after your baby is born. So-and-so put her children into childcare and they've turned out alright."


'I'm not going to be a natural mother.'

'People don't see me as a natural.'

'I'm going to fail.'

I know that they meant well. They probably didn't mean it to sound the way it did. To wound in the way it has. I understand that completely.

But the words still haunt me. Fueled by postnatal depression and attacks of anxiety, I've never felt like I'm very good at something I wanted to be good at for my whole life.

I guess it's like wanting to be an author all your life, only to be told that you can't spell. Or a chef who can't cook.

Except with my children's lives, there is so much more at stake.

I was lucky when I had Lily in that I loved my job. I didn't do well with being away on maternity and couldn't wait to get back.When I fell pregnant with Ollie I knew things were changing, the company was changing but I still expected to return.

Long story short. That didn't happen, I was made redundant and started a new job at a lovely school. It was part-time. Finances balanced on paper. It was a foot in the door and the people were lovely.

And that should have been the end of it. I was home with my children the majority of the time, we have our routine. Quiet Mondays. Bible study Tuesdays. Nursery Wednesdays. Toddler group on Thursdays. Work Fridays.

Work was a break from the relentless demands of looking after a three-nager and a one year old.

But it hasn't worked out. All I have done for the last year is stress about finances and wonder if I should give up work to balance the books and family life.

So last month I handed in my notice. And now I'll be going it alone.

And I think I've made a mistake.

What if I can't do this?

What am I going to do?

What are the kids going to do?

I can't offer the activities the nursery can. A free pre-school won't offer the same standard of care that my children have been receiving at the private nursery.

I rely too much on the TV.

I break down too easily.

I don't delight in every moment like I 'should'.

How soon will it be before I fail?

It's too late now. There is nothing I can do but sit tight and hope for the best.

I keep telling myself that I'm scared because I want to be a good Mum so badly. That if you're not scared than maybe you don't want it enough. But right now, that fear is threatening to overwhelm me.

2017 is a big year. In less than 14 days I become a stay at home mum.

Can I do it?

The countdown is on.
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