Tuesday, December 1

Working Mothers & All That Jazz.



Nowadays, so many Mum's choose to work, or rather have to work in my case, it's just the modern way. Part of me wants to stick on an apron, whack a ribbon in my hair and pretend this isn't the case, but it really is and I have to admit I do appreciate the time out at times, though I'd much rather have a spa day.

After a conversation with some other mums today, I've come to the conclusion that basically, you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. It's not just societies view of our choices but also the constant changes and assumptions made by certain people running this country that make it a challenge. Working or not, the majority of us struggle. I would say 'da struggle is real' but A it sounds ridiculous in a Sussex accent and B there are a lot of people with real struggles a million times worse than any of mine, but you know what I mean.

Nobody can prepare you for the love and bond you have with your new baby and it does throw your whole working life completely upside down. In fact it chucks a big old spanner in your whole life, all be it in a good way. For me this was OK.  I had reached a point in my career where I needed to retrain or change path anyway, so having a child was the perfect excuse to pack up and rethink my options. My husband works 40 hours a week like I used to, but we still wouldn't  manage our bills and payments on his wage alone.

Like many parents, we don't qualify for any extra help, so the only option for me is to work part time and because of the crazy prices of child care now, the only option (again like many others) is to give up my evenings and/or weekends. Roughly translated - to be with my children while they are small and keep a roof over their heads, I have to sacrifice time alone with my husband and some of our family time altogether. This is the only way we can juggle it at the moment and it works (kind of) and I am grateful to be fortunate enough to be with my babies at home through til school. We both find the routine exhausting and are thankful for my shift reshuffle and the fact we now have a day where neither of us work, our Sunday fun day. We managed to cut out any luxuries and reduce bills as much as we could which means luckily I only have to work twelve hours. So far, our children don't want for a great deal, so there isn't too much pressure - most the time.

I have friends that work full time which pays for nursery without even leaving much change from their monthly pay and others that don't work at all. I am somewhere in the middle. I must say that if I didn't have to work fixed hours for guaranteed pay, I wouldn't. I would work from home though and I hope to some day, but right now it would be too much of a gamble.

Whichever boat you're in, it seems that we will get judged one way or another. Despite the fact most of the mums I know that don't work have very hard working partners, they are judged for being lazy, presumed to be living off benefits. Not always the case, but of course this does happen. For most of the people I know, if they needed to work and it was worthwhile for them to do so, most of them I'm sure would.

The ones that slog it for 40 hours while their baby goes to nursery get judged for that too. It doesn't make them love their babies any less or differently (yes I have heard it said!) - it's just their choice and what works for them. 

Me, I sit at my checkout in a busy supermarket thinking about my next blog post, dreaming big, serving with a smile and getting through my week knowing I can pay my bills. I am judged by customers about my 'career choice' and some are pretty rude. One asked if I had any career aspirations, I wanted to stick his baguette where the sun doesn't shine. But really I don't care. I am feeding my family (number one importance) and have bigger plans for the future. Someone has to sell you your groceries and you never know, they may just be another Mum making her way through a tough few years. They may even just enjoy it. Each to their own and all that.

Be nice to the working Mums, the full time, part time and stay at home Mums. Never judge us and our choices. We can't  win and we aren't tying to, we just want to survive this whole thing and enjoy our lives.

Thanks for reading,

Wafflemama


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