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 £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. 

Strange Day (Project 366 – Day 22)

Strange old day today consisting of a funeral and a kid’s party. Pain and sorrow from weary souls, followed by absolute delight and excitement from fresh, innocent tots. 

Here’s a photo from the latter portion of the day:

 
It pains me to think that a day will come when he will know pain and sorrow. I mean he thinks he knows it now (for example when I confiscate his football because he’s launched it at his brother for the sixth time that morning)  but I hope any real heartache is years and years and years away, if it ever has to come at all. 

Chintzy Dresser (Project 366 – Day 18)

Yet again I have failed to take a photo of anything interesting and I simply can’t subject you to further photos of my offspring. So here’s a bit of my house instead:  


This is the dresser in my kitchen, painted with my own fair hands.

Although I tend to prefer modern, cleaner looking decor these days I do still like the odd bit of chintz. My house is over 100 years old and has lots of character, so I think it can pull it off. And you can’t beat a bit of Emma Bridgewater can you?!

Tax Hell (Project 366 – Day 15)

I’m pretty sure I’m one of the most disorganised people on the planet. I seem to function best when I’m in a last-minute panic and “the fear” has set in. “The fear” being the terrifying prospect that I’m going to miss the deadline/bus/wedding. All of my best uni assignments were done at the very last minute and any exam revision I did was done the night before. My method works, I get decent results. But it’s bloody stressful. 

Which brings me to today’s photo, which in itself is stressful to even look at: 

  
My husband owns a shop and I do pretty much all of the admin stuff, including the tedious tax return. In true Me style I’ve left it until the last minute, which means I’m now spending every free minute trying to get it done before the looming deadline.

It’s quite handy in a way though because the deadline is just before my birthday, which usually means my husband is so relieved I’ve done it on time that I get a decent present. Win! Told you my method yields decent results 😁.

Coffee Stop (Project 366 – Day 14)

This weather is the pits! Is there really any need for wind and rain AND snow all at once?! It’s so tempting to just hide away indoors but Omar’s like a puppy and needs regular exercise. So just go get out of the house we went for a walk today to our local High Street. Bad decision. Not only was the wind stinging our faces but my hair turned into a massive frizzy Afro and threatened to team up with Omar’s Afro to create some sort of super-Afro frizz bomb. 

Anyway, the only one who didn’t get wet was Zaki, who was all cosied up in his pram snulgy and smugly pleased with himself, I’m sure. 

  

We stopped off in a coffee shop to regroup and allow mine and Omar’s hair to calm the hell down before making the perilous 10 minute journey home. 

Apart from the dreaded soft play has anyone got any ideas for winter activities for toddlers? I’m really not a fan of mud though. 

Instafame! (Project 366 – Day 10)

Ugh I am massively failing at this. It’s 10.59pm, I’m in bed and have just realised I haven’t taken any photos today. 

I’m not giving up though so here’s a screenshot instead. Pretty pleased that Tobias & the Bear used one of my photos on their Instagram feed! And how cute are these outfits that my sister bought for the boys?!

  
If you’re on Instagram come say hi! I’m @mamaaintraisinnofools on there 😊. 

Resorting to a Selfie (Project 366 – Day 9)

Ok I know I promised less boring photos that aren’t just last minute snaps of the kids but to be honest I haven’t done much today. I went shopping in town but unless you want to see chavs and ne’erdowells there isn’t anything remotely worth photographing there. 

So here’s me and my smallest having a mirror selfie:

 

That’s all I’ve got for today folks, sorry! Project 366 is really showing my life up to be honest!

Nail Fail

Pre-children I used to have my nails done every 2 weeks and yesterday, as I was walking past the nail salon with an hour to spare, I decided I’d have them done for old times sake and to cheer myself up after a crappy few days. 

Unfortunately there was a misunderstanding between myself and the lovely Vietnamese nail technician, who seemed to be filing my nails into some sort of arrow shape?! Was this just a new method of filing? Would the end result be ok? No. No it wouldn’t. Stiletto nails! She was giving me stiletto nails! 

The offending nails themselves
 
Being terribly British I couldn’t bring myself to tell her until she was onto the third nail. She was mortified and offered to take them off and start again but I didn’t have time and told her it’d be fine and to carry on. It’s not really fine. 

It’s not really fine because I’m now basically unable to cope with life. Not only are these nails essentially pincers, they also have some serious camber on them! Here is a little taster of what I cannot do with these godforsaken nails:

  • Send a text that makes any kind of sense
  • Use the self service checkout in Tesco
  • Open the back of Mr Potato Head to retrieve his spectacles at the request of my toddler (thus resulting in said toddler having a nervous breakdown)
  • Take just one baby wipe out of the packet (taking at least ten out at once is achievable, however)
  • Pick up a pound off the floor after dropping it (resulting in walking away from the pound and being disproportionately sad about it for the rest of the day)

As you can see, it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs. Plus the pincer-nails make my already sausage fingers look positively Cumberlandish. On the plus side, I imagine these pincer-nails can be used in lieu of a hot drinks stirrer or a screwdriver. Always handy things to have at your fingertips.

    
Moral of the story: never feel shy to tell the Vietnamese nail technician that you didn’t ask for pincer-nails today.