This is a blunt post. I do light, fluffy, and happy, I do honest, and keeping it real, and I also do blunt.
I am a working mum. I always have been. I went back to work when my daughter was 9 months old. It was hard, because my job was intense and a lot of pressure, and stressful, but she thrived in childcare (we still use the same childminder, who is in fact one of our emergency contacts for school, she’s that good and reliable and knows my kids almost as well as I do) and she was happy. I stopped work for a few months, due to being made redundant and was at home, and whilst I love being with her, being at home all day, was not good for my mental health. After the boy was born, I started a small venture that has now grown into a “job” that keeps me busy. I didn’t intend for that to happen but it did. I work 16-20 hours a week not at home, and I also write this blog and that keeps me busy. I don’t work from home, technically, because as I am typing this, I am actually sitting in office space that I share with someone, which I pay for, because I don’t find being at home trying to work productive. I don’t consider myself someone who works from home. I work for myself. On the days I am not working, I am at home, as a mum/wife/person doing the things that need to be done to make life run smoothly.
I don’t want to be at home full time, and I don’t want to be told that it’s what I should aspire to. I don’t enjoy cleaning my house, or all the mundane tasks that need to be done to keep it running. I do the things that need to be done, and here’s the rub, the husband also helps because he is an adult that lives in the house and he and I work as a team. There are certain domestic tasks he does because he’s better at them (I loathe ironing, he irons his own shirts, but I am fussy about how clean the bathroom should be so that’s my job and so on) and we work together.
My mental health suffers if I am at home, full time, keeping house. I love being with my kids and spending time with them at home, but when they are at school I am not going to sit around the house. I never have.
I keep seeing on social media, people suggesting that being at home “full time” is something that we should all aspire to. Don’t even get me started on all the underhand marketing used to tell women they could stay at home if they did x, y and z, that’s another post for another day!
You do what works for you and your family.
If being at home full time, and not working, is what works for you and you are happy, then do that.
If working part time and being at home some of the time works for you, then do that.
If working full time works for you, and your family are happy, then do that.
It’s all ok. It’s also nonsense that it’s bad for children to have working mothers. We are dammed if we work (because apparently that means our kids are neglected and we are bad mothers) but we are dammed if we don’t (because apparently that makes us lazy and reliant on others to provide for us).
I have started to strongly object and reply back when I see things that suggest that one way of motherhood is better than others. There is no better. There is what works for each woman and her family. Some women have no choice but to work full or part time, to make ends meet, and to pay bills. Not everyone can work from home, or work a job that means they are at home (and no, blogging and being at home with the kids is NOT easy, I can tell you that!)
For me, being at home full time is not my goal or desire and my children have never known anything else and are fine with it. I work hard so be there for school runs and pick ups and I cram a lot into my day so I can.
They will get to a point where they don’t need me as much and I still need to have a life of my own, beyond motherhood.
We need to stop telling mothers that one way of doing things is better than others. I am a working mum and I am happy as a working mum. My next door neighbor is at home full time and not working and she is happy with that. The theme is “we are doing what works” not what other people think we should.
So stop insulting mothers by telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.
If you want to be home full time, part time or not at all, if you want to work, be employed, be self employed or take time out from work to be full time at home, go for it.
I don’t want to be at home full time, and the next time someone tells me that I should want to be, I plan to be as blunt as I am in this blog post…