I had no idea what kind of parent I would be. I had planned to return to work

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Before I had my daughter, I had no idea what kind of a parent I would be. I had planned to return to work. I just assumed that’s what you do. I thought I would put my baby in a cot and she would just sleep. I thought she would happily take a bottle and be happy with any caregiver.

How wrong I was!

My perfect little girl has never slept in a cot, always napped in a sling, breastfed a LOT and has always been most easily comforted by myself. So as the time to return to work drew near, every part of me told me this was the wrong thing to do. I had sleepless nights worrying about how my daughter would cope. I tried getting her to sleep and feed without me, which upset us both.

My first day in work I spent most of the day in tears. I drove home in my lunch break to feed her, to find a distressed baby who hadn’t napped or taken her bottle. I had to pull myself away to return to work, feeling so guilty and upset. It didn’t get easier to leave. It got harder as she became more aware when I would leave.

So I quit.

I sold my car, we went through our finances together and made huge cut backs to our spending. Its hard living off one wage, but I have never been happier. I now watch my 17 month old little girl thriving and most importantly happy every day.

Raising her is the most important thing I will ever do.

I have always paid my fair share of tax. And when my daughter is older I will do again. But for now, we struggle on one wage, feeling unvalued and unsupported by a government who seems to want to push mothers back to work and leave their babies in childcare all day.

It saddens me when friends of mine are forced to return to work in tears –  as I was – but they have no choice. This is what I would like for every mother – a choice to look after her own baby if she wishes.

Laura

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