Several times before I have debated the role of the working mother in this blog and how parenting a child with special needs can make being in employment challenging. Monday was an afternoon and evening when I was wholly Joshua’s mother, our hospital stay was ALL about him – taking care of him, doing what was best for him, praying for him etc. and I am thankful for having a flexible employer who can accommodate those commitments. I reverted to an employee yesterday, as I handed over my parenting responsibilities to Yorkshire Grandma, while Joshua stayed at home in bed all day, to recover from his operation, while I went out to work.
Leaving in the dark at 7.30am, I drove 90 minutes away from the patient. I had already fed him his porridge as, unexpectedly, Joshua was awake at 7am, but he was still in bed when I left. No longer in ‘mummy-mode’, I drove away leaving my husband temporarily in charge. Grandma sent me text updates throughout my working day, but they were mostly about his sound sleeping and asking whether or not she should wake him for food or drink, seeking guidance from afar.
Family responsibilities aside, it was good to be ‘Emma the researcher’ for a day, rather than simply ‘Joshua’s mum’. Although of course I was thinking about Joshua all day, wondering how he was feeling, it was liberating to leave that world behind for a day. Very rewarding though parenting a child with special needs is, it can be all-consuming. Over time, as a full time mother, you an start to feel as though you lose your own identity. Usually I am happy to be known as Joshua’s Mum , but I have so many other important roles in life too : employee, Parent Governor,wife, daughter, sister and friend to name but a few. Rightly so, being Joshua’s mum is my priority. I would always put Joshua’s well-being above my own, and anybody else’s for that matter. There was no real reason however, why Yorkshire Grandma could not be a great stand-in for me yesterday. It can involve making tough choices and I was exhausted when I got home at 5pm, I joined him in a nap on the settee as soon as I got home.
So today I have another choice to make: to keep Joshua off for another day, given that he slept for all but an hour or so of yesterday, or to send him to school to try to get some normality back into his routing. My gut feel is that he would benefit from another day at home with Yorkshire Grandma, as he was coughing an sneezing last night too. But it is still early , at 4am, I have some more time to consider his options, before I need to let the taxi know. My day is already mapped out, I will be returning to where I worked yesterday, for another repeat performance and it is not until tomorrow, that I will get back behind my desk in the local office. So once again, I am left pondering what today might bring…..?