As a mother I feel I’m forever being bombarded with conflicting comments relating to being a working parent or a stay at home parent:
“What do you do at home all day?”
“What’s the point of having kids if you are returning to work?”
“You must be so bored and unfulfilled all day at home with the kids.”
“Your kids are only young once. Think of your kids…shouldn’t they be your priority?”
“So what is it like spending your partner’s money and hanging out at cafes all day?”
“No one can look after you kids better than yourself. You don’t need a nanny or childcare to do the job you are supposed to do.”
“If you have a choice (to not work), why go back then?”
“Don’t you get sick of talking to kids all day? I’d miss all the adult conversations.”
It seems everyone has an opinion about what it’s like to stay at home or return to work as a parent. It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions we make (as parents) and the last thing we need is all the judgemental comments over something which is deeply individual and personal.
Next month I’ll be returning to work. It’s a huge decision but I’ve put some safety nets in place (Part-time hours, able to work from home, 3 month contract) in case circumstances change and I need to be back at home again.
I’m lucky that Lily loves daycare and has made quite a few friends. She is enrolled in the pre-kindy programme and seems to be flourishing from the more structured curriculum. Nyla is enrolled at the same daycare too and both of them will also be spending a day with my parents when I go back to work too.
I’m not looking forward to the hectic mornings getting the girls fed, bags packed and dropping them off and making sure I make it to work on time with everything I need as well. It’s always heartbreaking saying ‘goodbye’ and the massive guilt that follows when making the mad dash to the peak hour train.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach so it’s important to weigh up the options with your own circumstances. My decision certainly wasn’t an ‘easy’ choice and it doesn’t stem from me not wanting to be with my children. Yes, I get to contribute financially to the household but it will be a continuous juggling act to work in a job and run the household. And to maximise the time I get to spend with my kids. I’m lucky to have a supportive partner too.
I enjoy work. I do get a sense of fulfilment with my career as this is something I’ve worked hard for many years to achieve. The financial reward is difficult to ignore and it will make it a lot easier on us to contribute to the children’s future education and the new house. And with the government’s childcare rebate and my parents who are looking forward to spending time with the kiddies without me (i.e. getting away with spoiling them) it’s something worth giving a shot for at least 3 months right?
Everyone’s situation is remarkably different and I know what might work well for my family might not work fantastically well for another. As long as parents provide a loving environment and spend quality time with their children – with them always being a priority – it just baffles me why we still get judged?
No matter what I’m doing I will always and still be a loving mother and my children will always come first. And whether you choose to go back to work or stay at home, both come with sacrifices, pros and cons – but we are just all trying to be the best parents we can be.
Was it a difficult decision for you to stay at home or return to work?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.