My decision to become a stay at home Mum was not an easy one, there were so many factors that needed to be taken into consideration. In a nutshell my internal monologue sounded a little like this:
Is this the best decision for my child? Yes, he needs to be with his Mum. Is this the best decision for me? Yes, I gave birth to my son, because he was wanted and not to hand him to a professional to look after. Best decision for my husband? Yes, bless him he agreed with my beliefs 100% and whilst it hasn’t been easy, neither of us would change that decision we made nineteen years ago. I have blogged about the financial implications of being a stay at home Mum, in my very first post. So I won’t go over them again, needless to say from a purely financial basis this was not the right decision to have made. I would imagine financial implications are one of the strongest reasons, why some Mothers decide to go back to work. Of course there are many other valid reasons, the desire to have a career. To be a good role model, especially to their daughters, to demonstrate that women can have it all.
All perfectly valid reasons from both sides, so why are we constantly at war with one another?
I admit that there have been a few times in my life, when I too have judged working Mums. Occasionally when I have heard that a Mum’s main reason for going back to work is financial, I have found it hard not to look at their large house and two cars and think that if they moved to a smaller house and only had one car, surely they could stay at home with their child? That said I have been careful to keep that opinion to myself, I would never say that out loud to any working Mum. As I have grown older and hopefully a little wiser, I have became less judgmental.
In my humble opinion, both sides have equally valid reasons for the decisions they have made. No one should be judging women for what is, let’s face it, an extremely hard decision to make. We certainly shouldn’t be judging each other. We both do marvelous jobs, neither of which are particularly easy. We both often want what the other has. I would love a high powered, well paid job where I get to use my brain. One where people remembered to say thank you or compliment my skills. Feedback from my teenagers is never the kind I was hoping for. Most of all I would love to never have to clean a toilet, belonging to not one but five boys! Speaking to my working Mum friends, I know that sometimes they would dearly love to attend every single assembly/sports day/school play that there little angel is starring in. Without wondering how on earth they will pluck up the courage to ask for yet another afternoon off work. I know that they dread phone calls from school to say their child has fallen ill and please come and pick them up immediately, do not attend any meetings and do not return them until at least 48 hours after symptoms first occurred, even if you have to use your precious holiday time to do so.
So why do we judge each other, why do we each think that the choice we made, was the correct one? Giving little thought to how hard the decision was for all of us. I think it’s because we are always a little worried that we made the wrong decision and spend a lot of our time defending this choice, even at the expense of others. A quick search on Google revealed a vast amount of blogs devoted to why being a stay at home Mum is the best and of course an equal number extolling the virtues of being a working Mum.
From my own point of view I constantly fear I made the wrong decision. Do my children suffer because we have little money to spend on them? Would they have preferred me to have gone back to work, so that they can always wear the same clothes, have the same must have gadgets or go on foreign holidays as some of their more privileged friends. Has my brain withered away to the size of a raisin, because I rarely get to use it these days? Will anyone ever want to employ me after this very long career break? Or if I’m being completely honest, apart from a brief stint as a trainee manager at Tesco, I have yet to have an actual career. Getting pregnant whilst still at University put paid to that one.
I’m almost positive that working Mum’s have cried many tears, when leaving their precious babies in the hands of others. Will this somehow harm them in later life? Do they worry about being too tired to play with their kids at the end of a long and hard day at work, followed by making meals and cleaning their houses? Quite frankly I don’t know how they do it all, I’m not sure I could.
I have oodles of admiration for a working Mum, a fellow sister who is busy proving to the world that we women can and do have it all. It wasn’t the right decision for me, but it certainly was for them and I salute that bravery. So I hope others will do the same, let’s agree to disagree and support each other’s difficult decision!