I did it my way!

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Why are we all so angry at each other? I hear working mums slating their stay at home counterparts, saying that they shouldn’t be complaining about having too much to do when they have all the time in the world. I hear stay at home parents deride the working mums for chosing career over family. Is there no compassion? I have tried to look at this from all sides, and base it on stay at home ‘parents’ as I now see so many more dads finding themselves in this role. But it is hard as everyone has such different outlooks..

Having spoken to lots of parents about their ‘choices’ (and I use that term loosly, as many parents’ decisions are completely out of their hands) I have realised that we are all just doing what we can. So why can’t we respect each others decisions? I hold my hand up to having shared opinions on others lifestyles, at looking negatively at how others choose to live. Haven’t we all?  But after going through a pretty hectic few years myself and from watching a lot of my friends lives change and some them suffer. I am now trying to look at the bigger picture. Some people made mistakes after their first baby and when they had their second they were more comfortable deciding what was the best way forward. Some people are just limping along.

We have the stay at home parents. Split into two tribes, the first tribe are the parents for whom raising a family is something they excell at and it is definitely a choice to stay at home. Then we have the people with no family close by and/or previously in a low paid job? No chance you’re going back to work just to pay someone else to watch your kids and come out with nothing. You may have believed pre-children that family would step in and help out and have been sorely let down – I hear it all the time. Childcare is crippling and I can see why people would decide to stay at home rather than work just to pay for it. I would certainly think twice if I didn’t work shifts. So you are at home full time with the kids trying to make a weekly routine and maybe find something for you. Some take active roles in baby groups, some try their hand at a work from home position and some find thst they truly love being a homemaker so it doesn’t feel like a chore. Whatever way you came to be at home, for you the guilt comes from feeling the need to provide enough stimulation for your children, from trying to justify your day to your partner, from feeling like you are a glorified skivvy some days. Not all of us but the majority. A stay at home role is really a calling I believe, and I can understand the resentment that could builds up if you are forced into this role if it maybe wasn’t on the cards. Yes you choose to have children, but do you as a parent also have to choose to sacrifice all the other parts of yourself?!

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There are those who go back flexi or part time. An ideal senario you might think as it’s the best of both worlds. But you often find yourselves doing just as much work as your full time counterparts while still doing all the housework. At work your employer still expects the same out of you,just in condensed hours so you have work guilt for the feeling you aren’t pulling your weight as much as before. While at home everything still needs done and you have the dreaded guilt of not seeing the kids for a few days, so you spend all your days off doing stuff with them. You might have family that help out to enable you to work which means you get back a little bit of yourselves and a break from being mum but at the same time don’t feel you can ask any more from the family so don’t get any time as a couple. You do get the financial benefit of being back at work that enables you to afford to pay the bills and enormous mortgage you took out to enjoy the lifestyle you aspire to, but are you really having it all?! Most days it won’t feel like it.

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Then there are the full time workers, most derided sometimes for their lack of maternal care. You work 40+ hours a week at your job, spend evenings preparing meals and doing housework so you can spend every minute of your day off with the family trying to ‘make memories’, because you suffer mummy guilt the most. Jesus it’s a never ending hamster wheel. By working so much you are able to provide well for your family but for most of us the reason for going back full time isn’t financial, sometimes it’s not a choice but a case of necessity as your employer doesn’t offer an alternative arrangement. You feel guilty for missing out of the social aspect of parenting when you can’t make classes or events at school. You feel guilty for not being there at school drop off or pick up every day. You even feel guilty at work for not focusing 100% on your job because you are thinking about your kids. Personally I would love to work part time if I was able. But for some individuals it’s a need to be that person they are at work and they truly enjoy the full time position as opposed to being at home. But if they are honest is this the life they really thought the would have?

We would all be lying if we said we enjoy working – win the lottery and see if you would still get up at 5am for your commute!

So do we place any higher respect on the parent who chooses to stay by their childs side or the one who works and sets a different example to their children?  I am constantly torn.

On one hand I abhor anyone who is workshy so for me going back to work was a given (but I was lucky enough that my mum can help out with childcare and I work shifts that make it easier for me than most). But staying at home everyday and raising children is harder work than anything I can ever imagine (And yet…while staying at home you cannot contribute to your pension or get a paycheck!).

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I believe that in the end we are always going to be jealous of each other. A massive case of ‘the grass is greener’. Those who stay at home are a little jealous of the lifestyle of the working mums while those at work are jealous of what they perceive the stay at home parents are up to. You have idealised views of what they get up to, and if you could live one week in their shoes would you stay?

If I knew 5 years ago how my life would be would I still make all the decisions I have done? I’m not honestly sure. But hindsight is a great thing. It’s all relative. Ultimately not many of us would trade places so we should start owning our lifestyle.

If you are currently at home and loving it (well at least mostly!) then I salute you! If you are stuck at home and hating it, the good news is that they do get older and move out (and whos to say our 50’s can’t be better than our 20’s!) If you are juggling work and family then I raise a strong gin in your honour – you most likely need one most nights! We only get one chance at this and I want to look back and think I did it my way – permenantly exhausted, limping through like a sloth on weed but my way!

Pam xx


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31 thoughts on “I did it my way!

  1. Great post. I’ve been a SAHM since my eldest was born. I often think I want to go back to work mornings only now my girls are older, but for a number of reasons I haven’t. I just don’t think me going back to work will benefit my family at all in any way shape of form. The minimal money I will make will never make up for the sacrifices we will all have to make. Point in case – my youngest is sick today so stayed at home with me. I don’t have to explain myself to anyone, or feel any guilt.
    In essence though, the mommy-shaming needs to stop. No one else should judge anyone else for their choices, we’re all doing what’s best for our situation.
    #postsfromtheheart

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely post Pam. I wrote something similar called: choose your hard. Basically the same idea that there’s no easy option when it comes to kids, we are all doing the best with what we have and should be able to do so free of judgment. #postsfromtheheart

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  3. Getting the right balance is so difficult. I always dreamed of being a SAHM and when my dream came true, for me it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. So, after two years at home I’m heading back to work for one day a week. Hopefully this will create a good balance for our family! This is a lovely post, and one that we should all take note from. Respecting one anothers decsions is so important! Thanks so much for linking up to #Blogstravaganza, hope to see you again next week xx

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  4. We can always think that the grass is greener can’t we? I know I have. I stand by the idea thought that if you don’t like something, you mustn’t talk about it for yonks, use that energy to change it. Regrets are terrible things. Thank you for sharing. x

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  5. Brilliant post. I could write a whole post myself in reply as I am on my second ‘career break’ both times as a result of situations we found ourselves in as a family. You have encouraged me to write a post on this topic myself on my blog. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I’ve been a SAHM for the last few years and that has been the right choice for my family. As a mum of five, three of which are just two years apart, there was no way we could have afforded child care had I wanted to go back to work, but even then it wasn’t about the money. I want to be at home for my children, and it’s what works for my family, but everyone has to do what is right for theirs. #postsfromtheheart

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  7. Great post. I originally planned to return to work part time and had it all planned with my manager. She left before the end of my maternity leave and the new manager didn’t think my returning part time would fit the business plan! I was a tutor and spent a lot of my evenings and weekends prepping for classes so I knew I would never have time to spend with my baby. I love being a SAHM but occasionally I do wonder if I should try and get back on the career ladder.. #TriumphantTales

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  8. I do both. Work in the morning and home in the afternoon. I feel like I don’t stop. I’m in a rush all the time. I even eat my dinner in a rush out of habit of doing everything in a hurry! I think we’re all just winging it!! Thanks for linking up to #TriumphantTales

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  9. I’m sure we all have good days and bad. Most of the time I’m happy that I gave up my career to stay home with Peachy. Sometimes I’m somewhat less happy. The bottom line is that we all choose the direction our life takes. We can all make changes to our lives to bring ourselves closer to the kind of life we want to live. There is no point in feeling jealous of each other. #StayClassyMama

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  10. Nice post. My bugbear is the stay at home mums that complain that they pick up the slack for the working mums (with volunteering at school etc) That’s part of what you stayed home to do, to be the community for ALL the kids. And guess what, your reward is knowing who they all are, and them knowing you and being comfortable with you. Esp when they’re teens, this knowledge will really be valuable…#Stayclassymama

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  11. i work extra hours throughout the week so i can take wednesdays off to spend with Ben. But when i’m home i’m doing housework and getting dinners ready so by the time i sit down im knackered. I couldnt stay home as it drove me insane but I would love to do less hours to be honest. I’d love three days a week i think! I am very lucky that my MIL watches him when i work. Thank you for linking up to #TriumphantTales

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  12. I love this post. It is so true, we are all just muddling through doing whatever we can to do the best for our children. Necessity rather than choice so often makes the desicion. This is such an important post and one that I am sure parents on both sides of the fence will understand. Thank you so much for sharing this post with us at #PostsFromTheHeart

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  13. This post is spot on and it really resonates with me at the moment. I have done both. I have gone back full time after my first child but stayed at home after having my second. When she is 3 she will be going to nursery and I will definitely be looking for a job and I’m quite looking forward to it if I’m honest. Thank you for sharing with #StayClassyMama

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ve done both, went back to work when my eldest was 6 months, was due to go back when my youngest was 11 months but he became seriously ill. After a major op both hubbie and I realised our boys were out priority so we both quit our jobs and are spending some quality time with them before they go to school. Life is all about priorities and we have to stop judging and do what we need to do for us! #dreamteam

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  15. LOVE it, and your drawing is so funny and true too. It’s such a strange circle isn’t it. where does it ever end and why do mums pull each other down for doing things differently. I was nodding along to a lot of this. Thanks so much for sharing with the #DreamTeam – a star read xx

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