Whether you are a working mum, a stay-at-home mum, a mixture of both, or an undecided as to what you’ll be yet mum, I imagine you may have wrestled with mum guilt.
I have felt the need to justify my work decisions since becoming a Mum over and over again. I’m sure that people haven’t meant to make me feel judged by asking questions but it has happened.
Partly my response is, if I’m happy with what we’re doing then why does it matter to anyone else? But, you know what, even if I’m not happy with my decision, why does it matter to anyone else?!
By working I enable us to save a little money for the first time in over a year. I am doing a job I absolutely love. I’m working on a project I’m super passionate about and I get to work closely with a dear friend who I love learning from.
But on the flipside, I miss my kid all day long. Working from home I feel particularly aware of him missing and I have stood in his room some days just thinking about what he might be doing. Whilst I am saving money, the reality is that I’m also spending a heck of a lot of that on childcare. I ask myself every week whether putting my kid in childcare now will have a negative long-term impact. I know there are studies on attachment that recommend waiting until they’re two but my kid seems happy so I’m following his lead.
So, when I’m asked questions like, “isn’t that a lot of hours?” or “is your kid ok in nursery that long?”, I wonder, do people not think I wrestle daily with those questions?
I would love to spend all my time with my kid but for now I feel that what I am working is right. I have made a decision that works for us. It doesn’t mean I’m always comfortable with it. It doesn’t mean I’ve struck the perfect working mum balance. But, it is what I’m doing and the reality is that it shouldn’t matter to anyone else.
Perhaps you didn’t want to go back to work but you had to go back for financial reasons; perhaps you had to go back for your sanity; perhaps you don’t need to and you’re going to spend some time with your kid instead. Parenthood is not one size fits all. We’re all so different, we all feel differently about our work and we all have different financial situations so there is no way we can begin to compare our work situations with one another. I think all that matters is that you find the option that works for you and you enjoy parenthood to all its fullness, however that looks for your family.