Two months ago I resigned! Hurrah…? I am now officially a full time ‘stay-at-home mum’. It’s strange isn’t it. I am trying to accept it and yes, between you and me, to live more ‘comfortably’ it might be better if I worked. But we can manage…for a while. I just can’t help this niggling feeling that I should at least have a part-time job. I feel like there is an overwhelming sense that being a mum includes having a job, especially in London. Why shouldn’t we be able to do everything? Girl power! Big up the powerful females of the world such as Beyonce, Melinda Gates , Amal Clooney and Adele who manage to juggle their success alongside bringing up baby (or three). I don’t doubt that they have plenty of ‘help’ at home but they are great role models for everyone… (yawn).
Then again I had a baby because I wanted to be a parent and bring another human being into the world. I didn’t give birth to leave her three mornings a week in a nursery where she would be sharing a nursery nurse between three other babies (not taking anything away from parents who do, it just doesn’t appeal to me!). Especially while she’s so young. Being in London however, away from the grandparents or any other family, and the way mine and my husbands lives work, paid childcare would be our only option. Other families seem to have thought ahead career and location-wise with regards to useful family being near- if you are reading this and have not yet moved away from your ‘family town’ and set off to find your life and career, I would advise you now to think, in ten years time, will I want a family of my own and will I need my parents to become useful baby-sitters? And if the answer is ‘yes’ then think about finding a job closer to home. I kid you not, those willing, nearby future grandparents of your future children will become priceless. One of my friends has already gone back to work full-time and her baby is the same age- we’re talking 8 months old at the time! I completely admire her for it and yes she will have her two lives and yes it will be so fullfilling. But is being a parent not fullfilling enough? I don’t know the ins and outs of their exact situation, and some of it is shared paternity leave, but I really hope for her sake she doesn’t regret her choice or feel forced into it because of the money or the ideal of being a ‘working mum’.
I had a long hard think whether or not to take a part-time job, (with pay-cut) in my same company, but it would have only just covered the childcare costs and a little bit more, and at the same time I will be missing that time with my baby. Going back to that company would have also meant that my progression up to Deputy Manager would have felt pretty pointless as I’d be working ‘under’ people I’d previously been in charge of and I would probably just resent being there generally. If you read any parent/pregnancy blogs such as ‘Pregnant_then_screwed’ or are even aware of the issues surrounding women going back to work part time after having children, then this will sound very familiar.
Another side to this is there is not enough financial support for families who (apparently) earn ‘too much’ to get any childcare support from the government but who work just enough to pay the mortgage and bills. Which makes me going to work completely pointless, as all it would do is pay my travel to and from work and the childcare costs, leaving us with no extra cash. This blog isn’t here to moan or for me to campaign for mother’s rights, just my perspective, and I could really shout about this but I wont go on…
I know that there should be more rights for mothers coming back to flexible working hours, but there were ‘real’ reasons given to me from my boss, that I couldn’t go back to my specific job in a part time/day capacity, such as needing me to work evenings (not possible!). However from my point of view now, these ‘reasons’ actually made my life a lot easier when making my decision. Yes, I completely resented them not making more effort to find me a job-share in the company or another role which might have paid the same. And yes I will miss my job as I had great collegues and it was so much fun working in Theatre generally. But this resentment was short-lived when I knew that I would be bringing up my baby in exactly the way that I want and give her so much love all of the time. It won’t pay me and we might have to ‘make-do’ a bit more. Money helps life but it’s not what life is about (So I will continue to tell myself everytime I feel this niggling doubt).
If our circumstances change or I get offered the part-time job of dreams I’ll probably have to make a difficult decision again, but at least the baby will be older and understand the world a little more and make me feel a little less guilty about being away from our little bundle of absolute joy.