Working Mums and the problems it brings!

So I’m a working Mum…not by choice, but because financially we had no option!
I had my son in 2001 and had to return to work after three months because I couldn’t afford to stay off for any longer. I’m the main wage earner so there was never any question as to whether I would go back to work, it was a done deal although I did go back for four days a week instead of five!
It was difficult leaving my son after such a short time at home, but none of my friends had babies and it wasn’t easy meeting other Mums in such a short space of time so part of me was glad to go back so that I could enjoy the social aspect of work.
It was hard, especially in the early days. Although I was part time, I never left work on time, and as a teacher there was always planning and marking to be done. By the time I had been to the childminders, done the washing, cooked the dinners etc I was shattered……I was also very fortunate in that my OH was happy to help out when he got in from work which was a great help- he would do bath and bedtime while I cleaned up.
The worst days were when we had been up in the night- often several times, and you knew you had to goto work after only a few hours sleep……. You could hardly phone in sick because you we’re tired, although I know people who have!!!!!
Anyway, my kids are older now- they’re six and eleven, and although the process of going out to work is getting easier, the guilt that you have as a working parent doesn’t ease. There is rarely a school trip that I can accompany, I’m not able to take my kids to school and on two afternoons a week, I don’t even pick my children up ! I don’t know as many of the parents, and they don’t know me, which makes the whole having friends round for tea difficult. I don’t really get included in the social events either as only being there three afternoons a week isn’t really enough time for anyone to get to know you.
Now my son has started Secondary school, the guilt is even worse. I leave in the morning before he does, which means that he is responsible for locking up the house and getting himself off to school on time – a big responsibility when you are only eleven! He also comes home to an empty house twice a week too, which is something that I hate. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not on his own for more than half an hour, but even so, I would prefer to be there for him.
Then comes the other issues. Having to get the food shopping done at the weekends or trying to order it online when I know I will be home, getting the washing and ironing done, making time to help with homework, housework and on top of all that I have marking and planning to do most weekends! This makes it difficult to create valuable family time which I know is important…….
As my children are getting older and more independent, the guilt that I have as a working Mum isn’t as bad as it used to be. My MIL is great and helps with childcare, which has been brilliant as they now have a fantastic relationship with each other and get to spend quality time together every week. I also know that my children are understanding of our situation, and know that if we want to have nice things then I need to work. I’d like to think that this will teach them a valuable lesson for later on in life!
On the plus side, having the holidays off is great. The children and I count down the days until the holidays as we know we will get to spend lots of time together. We plan special time together and try to do something every day – whether that’s going to the park, bowling, a picnic, the cinema or whatever else takes our fancy. Sometimes we plan duvet days, knowing that we can sit around in our pj’s, watching television, eating junk food is just as much fun as going out for the day! We look forward to the holidays and they are our special time together as a family. I know that I will always be off at Christmas, Half Terms, the summer holidays and Easter and that’s when being a teacher is great advantage.
Although not ideal, I know that as a family we really value the time that we have together and make the most of it. We have games, stories and cuddles before bed, we talk about our day and nothing makes me prouder than when my son says ” Mum, how was day day at work?” He understands that although he might of had a boring day at school, Mums and Dads have bad days too. As for my daughter, she comes running up the hall when she hears the key in the lock, so I know she is always pleased to have me home! What more could I ask for?
I guess sometimes we just have to make the most of our situation, and I know that we certainly do……. Are you a working parent? How do you feel? Maybe you’re a Mum that couldn’t wait to get back to work and a bit of normality………..I know for me I can’t wait for Half Term – six more working days and we are all counting!

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2 responses

  1. Going back after 3 months must have been super hard. I have just recently gone back after having my son in June 2011. I am now part time and finding it a little easier but I still long for the days I had Leo to myself all day. Enjoy half term lovely xx

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