Not so long ago a blogger I have followed for a while posted on Instagram about the criticism she had received online for being a working mum. I was infuriated by this! Fellow parents were questioning her commitment to her children and accusing her of not spending enough time with them. This is so not acceptable.
Only you know what is right for your family. How work features in this is, I’m sure, not a decision reached without careful consideration for the vast majority of parents. For some there is no choice at all. Finances may dictate that parents have to work to keep a roof over their heads. Conversely, parents may have to give up work or reduce their hours because of the ridiculous cost of child care or because their employers refuse to offer flexible working. (Please head over to Mother Pukka’s website for more info about her flex appeal to change this sorry state of affairs).
Luckily the blogger under fire was able to brush off the criticism, although it did upset her initially. But what if it had left her feeling really rubbish about her choices? Not cool.
Why I’m proud to be a working mum
In response to this I wanted to write about why I’m proud to be a full time working mum. This is in no way a criticism of stay at home mums because the ‘job’ is just as hard either way. Full time, part time, job share, stay at home, hide in the loo for a bit of peace – whatever your choice, high five for making it work for your family! This post is simply meant as a big up to the people who are working parents and to give support and a big virtual hug to anyone who is feeling judged for their choices.
- My career. I’ve worked hard and invested a lot of time developing my career. I genuinely love what I do (well 95% of the time. Some days are a bit crap but that’s just life isn’t it?) After nine months maternity leave I was ready and excited to return. It also enabled Anthony to take a month’s paternity leave with Willow which was an amazing experience for them both.
- I like earning my own money. The reality for us is that we have a mortgage to pay and all the stupid costly extras that come with home ownership. Bills aside though, with what’s left of my wage we can make a nice little life for us. We don’t go on expensive holidays or wear designer gear (not that I would, except I do dream of owning a Chanel handbag one day. Just a teeny weeny one. To be fair I’d probably settle for the dust bag they come in). There is a bit of spare money for family days out, tea at the local pub every now and again and new shoes and clothes for Willow in what feels like every other week. I swear she grows out of things before we’ve even got them home from the shop!
- I would go bonkers! I need adult company where the conversation isn’t about babies or toddlers or children or the gross stuff that comes out of their bodies. That’s just who I am (don’t get me wrong I do find myself oversharing in the office about Willow’s digestive health on the odd occasion). I love every second that I’m with my little girl but there’s only so much Mr Tumble and reading the same book 50 times in a day I can cope with. I think I’m a better mum for having my own time. I’m more patient and always try to max our weekends together as a family.
- Nursery is great for kids. Willow loves nursery. She really loves it. She literally runs in in the mornings without a backwards glance at mummy. I suspect this may have something to do with the puddings at lunch time which the sugar police don’t allow at home. Nursery has given her the opportunity to interact with other children and adults and form relationships outside of her immediate family. She’s so confident and little miss independent. I could burst with pride watching her develop into a cheeky, curious little rascal. Also the activities and learning nursery cover in just one day is mind blowing. Reading her diary at night I would be exhausted if I did that much and of course it’s always a bonus when they get to do messy play on someone else’s lino!
- I feel like I’m setting a good example for when the time comes that Willow has to make choices for her family. It sucks that in the 21st century we still feel the need to educate our daughters about this. It should be a given. Hopefully it will be when the time comes for her. My daughter will know she can have a career and a family. She will know there is no pressure for her to return to work either. She will know she has choices and the right to not to be unfairly judged by others.
Do I always get it right? No, not at all. Striving for the perfect work/life balance is a fruitless parental quest. Sometimes I have to leave early in the morning and return when Willow’s already in bed. Sometimes I have to do overnight work trips. Housework is hit and miss as I don’t want to spend my weekends cleaning and I swear the washing basket breeds dirty laundry. Does this affect Willow? No. She gets extra daddy time and probably a big helping of pudding after tea. What happens when mummy is away… (Her clothes are always clean before you start wondering). I would never do anything that would be detrimental to Willow’s wellbeing. She is and always will be my priority.