“When you make the decision to have children, you should make sure you have the provisions there so you do not have to work, to enable you to dedicate your whole life completely to your child”
These were the words of a young mum I once knew. She didn’t approve of mums working. She also did not approve of them having hobbies, a social life or time out to themselves. She believed that you should do all of those things and get them “out of your system” before having children, so you could be with your children 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week and devote your life to them.
This Mum believed that children suffered when parents went to work and “shoved” their kids in childcare. My mum was a single parent (and it would have been much easier for her to stay at home, and she would have probably been better off financially!) However, mum chose to work, and I have not suffered as a result of that. It has taught me appreciate how rewarding it is to work and earn the things you want or need. I never once begrudged my mum for working and in fact, I admired her for it and hope that the same will apply to my wee ones. I receive comments constantly about how confident yet polite and well behaved my children are. I may be biased, but my children are very outgoing, sociable, loving and most of all, HAPPY children. They are not suffering in the slightest.
The hardest thing for me was that this Mum pitied me for “having” to work and believed I was envious of her not having to. This really grated on me because I actually choose to work. Don’t get me wrong, I would like to be at home a little more, and hubby and I would struggle big time in the financial department if I did give up work completely, but I choose to work because I enjoy it. I have worked hard to get to the stage I am at in my career and I am unbelievably proud of my achievements to date.
I enjoy the opportunity to talk and interact with adults (and adolescents) about subjects other than CBeebies, milestones met, how much sleep we got etc! I also feel empowered with the independence of going to work, the responsibilities I am trusted with and earning my own money which then contributes towards our family.
At home I am “Mum” and “the Missus”, both roles that I love immensely and am proud to be, but at work (and socially) I am ME. I think its so important to retain some of your identity, whether that be through work, socially or hobbies – because when you strip away all the roles and titles, or when it feels everything is crashing down around us, there is just YOU. And YOU need time, attention and love too.
Its probably no surprise that I am no longer in contact with this Mum (her choice, not mine) but I hold no grudges. She is entitled to her opinion and I wish her and her family the very best.
Whilst I could see and appreciate her views, I also felt they are somewhat unrealistic in a lot of peoples cases, particularly in this day in age and with the threat of recession around every corner. If you are in a position where you do not need to work and can stay at home, that’s great (and I take my hat off to you as parenting in itself if a full time job!) However, there are enough pressures for new mums (and dads) without being made to feel guilty for both parents having to, or choosing to, work.
My choosing to work does not mean that I am any less devoted or dedicated to my children than those who do not work. In fact, I appreciate my time off with my children so much more because I work, and as a result our family time is quality time.
I cannot vocalise enough how completely and utterly devoted to my children I am. They are my life. I would drop anything for them, do anything for them, die for them. I would even walk over lego for them! 😉 Being a working Mum does not change that.
So here I am, at 6am, getting ready for work after 2 lovely weeks off with my family.
Do I feel guilty? No.
Do I feel excited? Yes.
Am I a bit odd? Probably!
ProudMuma signing off! x