When it’s Selfish for Mothers to go Back to Work

Being a stay at home mum was never part of my plan. I spent a lot of time, energy and money becoming a qualified solicitor. I had grand plans. I’d be a city girl, a high flyer wearing designer threads as I slayed my opponents in court before marching out in my Jimmy Choos. (Look, I am a socialist but I like nice stuff too, ok?)

Look at this lady having a lovely time at work.

Anyway, the plan started to go a bit wrong when I moved from a city to my small home town and cut my legal teeth at a high street firm here. What followed was marriage and a baby. And then another. 

And now I’m a stay at home mum. Not a Jimmy Choo in sight. (What’s the point? They’d only get covered in crayon and milk spit up.)

Going back to work (as in paid work – we all know raising kids is still actual work) is something I think about a lot. I suppose I’ve never really gotten comfortable with being defined as only a mother. Yes, that’s my most important job, raising humans is a big deal and a lot of responsibility. Not just to them but to the world (I don’t want to rear psychopaths then let them loose to wreak havoc on civilisation one day,  obviously). But to let it be my only job doesn’t sit well with me. I suppose I feel the need to have something just for myself, if that makes any kind of sense. 

Please don’t mistake this for me having no respect for stay at home mums (and dads for that matter) and their decision to stay at home out of choice. I get how important it is for some people and judge them in no way. Some stay at home mum’s thrive but I’m not one of them; I’m crap at baking and I don’t have a crafty bone in my body. 

So I’ve explored going back to work. I’ve looked into the childcare options. I’ve worked out pick up and drop off times. And here’s the thing; no one would benefit from it except for me. 

If I worked locally I would have to drop the kids off at childcare at 8am and collect them at 6pm (maybe 5.30pm at a push). So that’s ten hours a day they would be in someone else’s charge. That’s the vast majority of their waking hours. After childcare it would be home, dinner, bed, bath – I’d barely see them. And that’s if I actually finished work when I was supposed to. Most lawyers take work home with them to finish as well, it’s the nature of the job. Yes, I’d have weekends, but that’s about it. 

The cost of 50 hours per week for childcare for two children would be around Β£460 per week. Despite popular opinion the average high street lawyer doesn’t make a huge amount of money, which means it would actually cost me financially to go back to work. If I worked part time, it would still cost me. 

The other option is if I worked out of town. The nearest two cities are just over  an hour’s commute away. Totally doable.  My salary would be a fair bit higher but I’d spend even less time with the kids. I’d may as well get a live in nanny. Which just makes me think, why did I have them in the first place if I’m going to let other people raise them? And as well as the live in nanny I’d doubtless need a cleaner, otherwise I’d be spending those precious weekends cleaning and ironing and what not. 

So to go back to work it seems I would have to either make my family generally poorer or outsource most other parts of my life (and possibly still make us poorer). And as the only person who would benefit from me working is me, I really can’t justify it. It would just be selfish. 

I chose to have my children, a decision I’ve never for a second regretted, so if that means I’m a stay at home mum for a while then so be it. The Jimmy Choos will just have to wait. 

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15 thoughts on “When it’s Selfish for Mothers to go Back to Work

  1. It’s harder than you realise going back to work isn’t it!The only way we’ve been able to do it is for him to work half the week and me to work the other half.We fell in lucky I suppose.We don’t have to pay any childcare,we earn an absolute pittance but it meant we could both work.If that hadn’t been the case though he would be working and I’d stay at home. x

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    1. My husband is self employed and works loads of hours so we wouldn’t be able to share looking after the kids between us, it sounds ideal though. Lately I’ve found myself just wanting to work in a small shop or something. Little responsibility and not much stress. It’d be great! X

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  2. I used to invest multi millions of pounds of peoples’ pension contributions. Of course this meant I had to be there when the money wouldn’t go through (every month). I often would work past 6pm and then be in at 7am the next day. No daycare centre round here opens for such hours. My friend had a childminder who messed her about constantly such as taking holidays in term time so she had to take a week off while they were at school. It is tough going from such responsibility to being in charge of what seems to be constant housework but in the end you do find things to do. My friend was a solicitor for a big firm and now does cases on her own. She is in family law so the school playground is ripe for mothers wanting legal advice!

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      1. His 7 months. Im due to go back at 9.
        I wanted to do 3 days but my company declined my request. I have been looking for employment elsewhere but its proving very very difficult 😦 xx

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yep UK. I have 14 days to appeal but unless i go down the medical route with post natal depression and my bad anaemia i don’t really have a case. Im a insurance claims handler. The reason that they declined my request is because they have a ban on recruitment so cant fill the loss of hours. Silly really as they’ll be at a loss of 35 apposed to 14 if i find something new. Xx

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      3. I’d phone ACAS for some advice if I were you. Being unable to recruit someone else is one of the grounds for refusing flexible working requests but I’m not sure if that holds up when the company themselves are blocking the recruitment. ACAS should be able to tell you more xx

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