Mummy, Mother, Mum, Mom, we all carry these titles right? Is that not good enough? Why do we need to define it anymore than that?
So I have just come to the end of my year of maternity leave and as it stands, I will not be going back to work. But I certainly wont be staying at home... that makes me laugh, how many 'non-working' mums stay at home all day? I consider myself to be very fortunate that first of all as a family we are able to afford for me to stay at home (at least for now). And despite the fact I do not work, my daughter is not always in my care. She has a very loving auntie and grandmother who both like to enjoy her for the odd morning or afternoon, when I get to give my house a good clean, or just have a bit of me time.
So you are a working mum? Maybe you are working out of choice, maybe you are working out of necessity, as far as I am concerned, that is no body's business but yours. But I bet 100% you don't forget about your children when you are at work. I bet 100% you don't switch off from them because they are out of site. No way. You are a mum, your title does not need any more explanation than that.
It is not how much time you spend with your children that makes you the mum you are, its the quality of the time you have together. If you are with you child for 12 hours or 2 hours a day, you make it what it is.
My daughter is 6 months and currently during her naps, I study online to be a teaching assistant. Before I had her, I was a nanny but I have also wanted to work within a school environment. There is so much controversy these days about some mothers working all day and only seeing their children at night. Yes, I hate the thought of leaving my child, yes I worry about her becoming more attached to a childminder and yes I don't want to miss any milestones....but did it ever occur to people that some of us have no choice? My partner works full time, and we would probably be better off on benefits but we both enjoy the working lifestyle and would be bored stiff at home. I love the feeling of earning money especially now I know that what I earn on top of my partners wage means my daughter gets a better upbringing. I will only work part time, otherwise all my wages will end up in the pocket of a full time childminder.... but I think at 22 years old I should still be taking oppurtunities, especially ones which will improve life for my daughter. I am looking to start a job when she has turned 1, and I would like her to mix with other children and learn to be away from me in preperation for playgroup. I think it will benefit her greatly and I see nothing wrong with it.
I write this now as my little one is turning two and currently laying on the floor having a temper tantrum over not having a yogurt and I thank the lord I can have a break when I go to work. However this is not how I have always felt.
I am a childrens nurse currently working full time in a childrens hospice. I love my job to pieces and although heartbreaking at times it is very rewarding. I also love being a mummy, I have always wanted a child and when I found out I was expecting i was overwhelmed and fell in love immediately! When she was born I was at my happiest and honestly never wanted to work again, however I knew that come 6 month I would not be getting paid enough to pay our mortgage and all the bills and my husband didn't earn enough either although he has a very goood job.
At four months old we found our little baby a childminder for two days a week and a nursery at my work for one day a week. At six months my heart totally broke as i gave her over to some starngers that didn't know her. It was at that point I became very resentful.
I have worked since I was 18, I have paid my taxes worked my way up in my job to get a good wage yet I cant have more than six months with my little princess. Two of my friends fell pregnant young and did not have to go back to work untill there children were 2, us as tax payers paid for them to be at home enjoying there little one and to say they struggled would be a lie, there children have a lot more than my child had, designer prams, clothes and every toy you could imagine. This made me very angry as I dont see how this is right, why should they have all the time in the world and I dont.
However, since I felt like this a lot has happened, I do work full time but I am progressing in my job and have had two promotions since having her, I have completed courses and can now provide her with everything she wants (although she doesn't get everything she wants). We own our own home (although have a mortgage) and when she gets older she will have a house left to her, although my friends are brilliant mums to there children I have been able to provide my child with a different life style and experience. We have been on holiday and had plebty of day trips out.
When our little one grows up and flys the nest I will still have a career and by that point will be earning enough to help provide her with the opportunities my parents were able to provide me with. She is a sociable little girl that loves other children and has really grown within herself at nursery. The childminder gave her all the time in the world and did things with her that I would not have even thought of.
If I have the chance to do it all over again, I will definitely save to have a year off as I do think six months was too young, but I love how my life is and I love the fact I have my career and I am going places so when she is older she can look up to me and think I want to be like her just like I did with my mum.
I do understand why some mums like to stay at home and thats there choice and if there husbands earn enough for them to do that then I am happy for them, but I don't need to rely on anybody except for myself and that makes me happy.
Working mums vs stay at home mums will always be an intresting debate and everyone does what is right for them and their children. I hope this review helps all those mums that are stressed about going back to work, it is awful but in time it gets easier.
I hope this has been a helpful review and to all us working mums: high five!
Here's a thing that drives me bonkers. My wife and I both work. Both of us earn okay money, but not enough to live on one person's wage. At least, not in a house with a garden. Both of us work very hard both at our jobs and at our parenting. My wife is a nurse dealing with end of life care, she works evening shifts whilst I work days and some weeks we're like ships in the night. I share the parenting jobs not just because our working arrangements but also because I want to. So when, as I've heard, some of her friends sniffly say; "I'm a FULL time mum" I struggle not to push them into moving traffic. Our kids have benefited from going to day care, they're both shy individuals and it has helped them socialise. They certainly don't want for love and by seeing how my wife and I work as a team for the family they get to see how the real world works. If you're lucky enough to be able to survive on one wage, congratulations. But don't criticise others. My wife is a full time nurse and a full time mum, and I couldn't be more proud of her.
I think when you have young children who are not in school and you're working, often feel abandoned that there mums and dads are away working all the time, it is accepted in todays society that a staying at home mum is in fact a sort of job - only 24 hours a day 7 days a week. I see my daily routine as a job, so I wouldn't like to be working at the moment on top of everything else I do as I know for a fact it'll be too stressfull for me. Thats where I think working mums with young babies have a disadvantage as they may under perform
The very idea of a 'versus' for working or stay at home option immediately gets my back up. Why should it be 'versus'? It's not two football teams competing, these are peoples lives.
I find the whole thing incredibly frustrating, and ultimately the most frustrating thing is that once you become a parents, the world seems to feel they have an opinion on your life and how you raise your child.
Breast feeding or bottle feeding
Co sleeping or independent.
Dummy, thumb or nothing
jars or home-made
nursery or child-minder. The list goes on and on. Everyone has an opinion. Fairly often it's an opinion, followed a 'but it's your choice' which does nothing but make one feel judged anyway.
Becoming a mum is something that no books can really tell you about. They can't explain the sheer utter joy or the sudden loneliness and isolation a mum can feel.
So, once a mum has navigated the stressful choices above, and the maternity leave suddenly begins to count down towards the end, the choice has to be made. The points to be taken into account are endless. Money, time, childcare etc.. It's entirely mind-boggling.
Personally, I went back to work. I worked compressed hours to have more time off with my son. We put him in a nursery setting and he also spent time with Grandparents. For us, this was the right option.
Even setting aside money, I wanted to work. Not that I didn't want to spend time with my son, I did but I have a need to work. Does that make me selfish? Possibly it does.
However, in my mind, no. For me to be the best mum I can be, I need to be me as well. I do not see why women should lose their own identity when they become mum. Being a mum is amazing, but should I pretend it's all toddler groups and coffee mornings? Because it's not.
Reality is, there are chores to be done. Regardless of how you agree to split things with your other half, the person who stays at home becomes responsible for the bulk of housework.
This is fairly mixed I know, the problem is it's an emotive topic. Do I feel guilty? Of course I do! Even though I know my son thrives at nursery I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not wanting to spend every waking moment with him. I feel guilty that I go in to work and immerse myself in it. I feel guilty that I actually enjoy my job.
And yet, I feel proud. I feel proud that my shy little boy has become a sociable being. I feel proud that I can add to the family pot. I actually do feel a little pride that my income is about half of the family income. I feel proud that I can balance the two, regardless of how stressful it is sometimes.
Whatever a woman chooses, she should celebrate the fact that she CAN choose. That we now live in a country where choice is our own.
We shouldn't be sniping at other peoples choices. We shouldn't have to feel guilty. We all want what is best for our own family, we all do what is best. If that's staying at home with the kid(s), perfect. If it's going out to work, perfect.
Who cares, really?
Surely the biggest problem around parenting today is more the bad parents, the ones who don't/can't love, who don't care, who abuse children. Those with no intention of contributing to society. To me, they are the ones we should focus on, not whether a woman should be at home or working. Have we not moved on from that in 2010?
Whatever your choice, good luck to you. Find what fits for your family, and try not to feel guilty. Guaranteed you will feel some sort of guilt regardless.
A working mum can be very versatile in today's society! She can multitask, organise the daily tasks, work her schedules, and plan almost everything that she needs to do to work around her pride and joys, her kids!! Finding quality time is both important for hers and her kid's emotional needs. Children thrive on just knowing that mum takes a personal interest in what they do. Working gives a mum a personal sense of identity. She is not just a mum but a person with many attributes and many skills to offer not just her working world but also knows her personal responsibility to her children. What are important to her are equally the needs of her kids too. Feeling valuable in society, contributing to the long term well being of her makes her someone who can readily be more of a happier person in herself. Her own identity is not lost and she gives the clear message to her children that work does not mean neglect. She is a positive role model and the choice she makes affects them too.
A stay at home mum has many reasons for her choices. The choice she makes maybe because she has a disability. I am one of those mums. At first not having any person to person contact with colleagues seemed lonely. But then I accepted that work is work. Working from home was just another way of building on my self esteem, up keeping my skills, and keeping hold of my self confidence and self worth. My daughter is much older now and she has seen me work both outside and inside. I actually now love working from and have the internet to connect to others. I can even work in my nightclothes if it suits me and takes breaks when I need it. My bills are much higher but this is just part of the job from working at home but I have the convienence of not having to travel in all kinds of weather, paying travelling fares and working overtime as is often required when I was working outside. The bond that I have with daughter has always been emotionally healthy. Having a personal identity is important. As human beings we seek self evaluation not only from ourselves but also from others around us. We all have the basic needs of a sense of belonging, having friends, a social life, and a working life, someone to share our days and care about our needs. These requirements are basic but important whether we work at home or outdoors. I have experience both and both have fulfilled my need and my Childs need in almost the same way with the only difference being, change and adapting to doing things differently but the outcome is same!!
I thought I would weigh into the debate as this is obviously something I have experience in and something that is personal to me as I had a baby girl at the end of last year. This is definitely a controversial subject as there are definitely two sides to the argument/subject and I can see both sides but I have to say that I am pretty much on the stay at home mother side.
Luckily I have a great husband who earns enough money for me to be able to stay home comfortably. That's not to say that we can be extravagant and have had to tighten the purse strings in various areas but we can pay the mortgage, bills, nights out, holidays etc and my Dooyoo money goes into a clothes fund for myself and my little girl. I know there are some people who can't cover these bills but and having to go back is the only option but then sometimes you look at the lifestyle they lead and can see why they need to go back, 4/5 bed house, 2 BMW's in the drive, and you have to think what you really want from life, do you want material goods and a life of luxury but kids who only see you when you pick them up from the childminders or do you want happy kids that you have been able to influence and perhaps a 3 bed house and one Ford Focus in the driveway. Yes, it's a give and take but I know what I would go for.
I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mum and my husband and I discussed it beforehand and planned for it to make sure i could become a reality. To me its so important for me to bring my kids up myself. I am happy to be the one to sing to them and make all my own homemade baby food, teach them to read etc. I think it's important for the kids too to have their parents there when they are very young. It's us who shape who they are and I wouldn't want that responsibility going to a nursery or childminder. I take my little girl to a number of free activities during the week and one of them is a singing class in our local library. There are a couple of kids who attend with their grandparents. I think it's great when grandparents can help with bringing up their grandchildren but after observing them and talking to a few of them the grandparents are all really tired and missing their freedom in their retirement years but feel guilty when they say they cannot help. Some of them look so weary and do not really interact with the kids and the kids look so bored because no one is playing with them.
So, do I get bored and miss my career? Well, I most certainly don't get bored as I don't talk about babies 24/7. I think it's important to keep my mind active and into other pursuits too so I can be an all rounded individual too. I run and enjoy taking part in that sport and also make time to see my friends without babies and take time to talk about politics, the state of the economy etc. I was a personal assistant to the Chairman of a bank before I had my baby girl so got quite high in the business world. I enjoyed working but always knew that there was more to life than paycheck after paycheck and wanted to give my family my full and undivided attention.
In conclusion I would say that all kids really need is your time, love and affection and if you are lucky enough to be able to give them that then it really is a nice situation to be in for them and you.
I have given this topic a lot of thought since reading a recent review on this subject. My opinion is simple. Do what suits YOUR particular family circumstances. There is no way you can impose a blanket assumption that one way of parenting is better than another. We are all unique individuals with our own personalities and family situations.
My personal situation is that I am a stay at home mom, and that I enjoy it very much. I wasn't working when I had my first child, so I didn't have to worry about going back to work after he was born, My husband was in a stable job and happy to provide for the family financially. This worked out well for us, and I enjoyed being at home with the baby and was able to breastfeed him exclusively. It is absolutely magical when you are there when your child reaches major milestones such as first words and steps, and spending so much one on one time with your baby enables a very close bond to form.
I had all my three kids one after the other, so when my youngest was born, my eldest was 4 and my middle child 2 years old. Life was pretty hectic, but had lots of real high points and "cuddly moments". I was always completely content being at home with them, though I can understand that some people would find the combination of cbeebies and nappies 24/7 a bit tedious, especially if they are used to a stimulating career!
When I grew up, mom was always there to look after us, and always at home when we got back from school to chat about our day and give us a shoulder to cry on. I really appreciate that, although it meant that we weren't "super rich" financially, but having the emotional support of a stay at home mom meant more to me than any material worth.
Nowadays, moms have a bit more flexibility with childcare, and many are able to combine raising kids and working very succesfully. I don't think kids raised in homes with two working parents suffer in any way, as long as they have meaningful play and contact with their parents and can feel secure and loved.
In many cases, both parents have to work to in order to make ends meet. It is unfair for society to judge the children of such people as disadvantaged in any way, any more than it is for society to judge stay at home moms as lazy and workshy! Too many people form opinions about others without knowing all of the facts. As long as kids are happy, healthy and feel loved, what does it matter whether both parents work or not?
For moms that work, this can be a pleasant break in routine, a chance to spend time with other adults and have coversations about things other than kids TV. A break in routine can leave a mom refreshed, and more able to cope with day to day life, more "human".
The only type of people I don't like are workaholic parents, people who have kids just for something to tick on their "to do" list.I remember going to a theme park a couple of years ago, and seeing a dad deeply immersed in conversation on his mobile phone with his boss, completely ignoring his two kids who just wanted to spend some time with him. It made me feel really sad and hurt.
Work and family life has got to be a balance. Circumstances change, but our responsibilities as parents and the decisions we make will have far reaching effects both now, and years into the future when our kids are parents themselves. Make the right decisions.
I am going to offer 2 sides to this in a way and hope you understand where I am coming from.
As a child, money was extremely tight and both my parents had to work to support myself and my sister. As a result, I was looked after by my lovely Granny. Now I feel that I never went without but the one thing that I felt I lost out on was a bond with my parents.
As an adult, I now spend more time with my parents and really enjoy it and I don't blame them for leaving me with my Gran. Nowadays there is more options and you can get some help in the form of Tax Credits.
My son was planned yet a suprise as we had stopped trying! I was due to go to college the week I found out I was pregnant and also lost my job. My education would have to be put on hold!
I had always planned on being a full time Mum however with my partner working 25hours a week and even with the addition of child and working tax credits, we would still find it difficult to afford alot of things. Therefore, when my son was 12weeks old I started a college course and received a bursary.
The first year was pretty easy. I was at college 3 and a half days and during this time my son went into the on site nursery and thrived. Every 2nd week though, he was picking up every infection under the sun and the nursery would not take him and I would not leave him. I fell behind but managed to pass so decided to go back to do my HNC.
In August last year, I started my course at the newly built college and my son, now 15months started the nursery again. He made friends and again caught conjuctivities, tonsilitis and various bugs resulting in me falling behind due to absense. In a bit to catch up, I was spending every moment at home on my computer writing essays and not spending time with my son. I really regret this.
During the Easter holidays and with no hope of passing the course, I left. The main reason for me doing this is that I had spent 2 superb weeks with my gorgeous and perfect son and realised that I had missed so much. I looked for part time work and could not find anything that suited in with me spending time with my son.
Now we are living off my partners weekly wage, some tax credits and a monthly child benefit. We are on a super strict budget with about £3 to play with after all essentials are paid and this does not include debts.
I am loving being at home with my son. We buy a weekly bus ticket and visit family and friends and go to the park and have fun. Some days we have lazy days where we sit in our pjs and watch Iggle Piggle and Thomas the Tank.
Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that myself and my son have bonded so much more and he is much happier than when he was at nursery and he has never been unwell except a sniffle so being with me is benefiting his health.
Yes we are struggling for money hence me being on dooyoo and ebay etc to pay for treats as my son deserves them for being such a good boy.
After discussing everything with hubby, we have decided that for the next year I will be a full time stay at home Mum. My son will start big boy nursery next August for a half day and then I will consider a part time job. For the time being I am happy with him and do not want to miss another smile, another laugh or another new word.
I want my son to know his Mum and no longer be stuck in a nursery. He interacts with his cousins of similar age and has plenty of educational yet fun toys that we play with together and he is thriving.
I don't want to miss another minute. This is my choice though not every parent has the choice and I very much respect this. I personally value my son over a few extra pounds that the tax man will no doubt pinch anyway!
Thanks for reading and I welcome comments x
Now as this is a very emotive topic I'm going to try my hardest to give a balanced argument of the pros and cons of working or staying at home. Whilst I have my own views, over the years I have seen mothers in many different circumstances so realise that it is a complex issue with no definite answer. If you are interested then read on. I'd love to hear your views...
My eldest child is now twenty eight and I can't believe where the time has gone! When I left my job in October 1981, I left the office carrying my baby gifts and goodbye cards and struggled into the underground station. Seven months pregnant and feeling tired, I was cross that, once again, the escalators weren't working. I made it onto a crowded train on the central line but, as usual, no seat was roffered. I thought, 'Good, no more of this, I'm free!'
I had no desire what so ever to return to work. It wasn't only the fact that I hated my job but, I'd been married for nearly two years when I suddenly got that feeling of wanting a baby. The desire was so strong it hurt. After a few months of trying, I became pregnant and my life changed forever. From first knowing that there was a life growing in my womb I was a mum. My life revolved around my growing tum.
When my daughter was born I was a totally inexperienced twenty two year old. She weighed 6lb 2oz and I was scared of bathing her. And boy, could she scream! I was so pleased that my mum took two weeks off work to help. I found the first month extremely hard but loved my baby from the start and knew, without a doubt, that I wanted to be there when she spoke her first word, crawled and took her first wobbly steps.
Eighteen months later, her 'planned' brother was born. What a busy but wonderful few years we had.
In those early years I taught them to read and write. We painted and solved jig- saw puzzles. I took them swimming, to the park and to playgroup. I began to help on a voluntary basis at playgroup and later at nursery school. I had a whale of a time!
I had four children and was a always a stay at home mum. During this time my husband's work varied but we never had much money. We lived in a small terraced house. The carpet was second hand as was the gas water heater (no central heating ) and most of our furniture. Gradually,
we furnished our home more to our taste and eventually moved to a three bedroomed house. It needed a lot of work but was all we could afford.
My children were young during the recession years and the Thatcher government. Our mortgage interest went sky high so we had to be very frugal in our spending. Even things like haircuts were delayed. BUT we had enough to eat, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and the occasional evening out. At Christmas, Santa filled sacks and a tea party was always enjoyed on birthdays. We took a one week holiday every year, in England. I admit though, that my parents were a big help with holidays and special occasions.
I tried several things to eke out the finances. Nothing lucrative, but it helped. I have been paid ( a few pounds per session) to work in a playgroup. I worked from home making up and packing fishing equipment and tried to start a business selling clothes. When my youngest reached the age of eight, I began a part time job in a primary school (not her's) working as a special needs support worker. This job was great and fitted in so well with being a mum. I could spend the school holidays at home and in term still do the school run. It paid for a yearly holiday abroad.
But, for me, staying at home was an easy choice. Had I had a career I may well have felt differently as there would have been more to give up. After years of not being in the work place, I admit that I had no skills and little confidence. Also, I planned three of my pregnancies which put me in a very different situation to one who was 'surprised' and maybe not in a position to pay their mortgage or rent.
There are many factors to take into account, one being the marital status. I had my husband to provide for us, even if not as well as he sometimes wished. He also was happy for me to be a stay at home mum. I had good supportive parents who, if we really needed an extra pound or two were on hand to give a loan or a treat. Mostly though, we managed on our own but it provided a 'safety net'. I don't think I, or my children missed out. I think we were fortunate.
I fully realise that, even if financially stable, some women do not want to stay at home with their offspring. We are all different and if you stay at home that doesn't necessarily mean you do a better job at motherhood than a full time working mother. Some people are able to have a career and also spend much quality time with their children. This said, I do sympathise with children who are left all day, every day in a nursery. I have a close friend who has worked in several nurseries and says that she wouldn't put a child of hers in one full time.
I am acquainted with many child minders. Although most are very nice people, I still wouldn't have been happy leaving my child for long with one, unless I knew the minder very well. Child minders may be patient with a child but they will not LOVE them. I have also seen problems evolve with the 'looked after' children and the child minders own. But not everyone is in the enviable position of having a relative to care for their child who will love that child and care for it in a way you would wish for. Leaving your child with a trusted relative is a great option.
If you are in a position where you can afford to do part time hours or perhaps take a lower paid job on becoming a mum, perhaps you could consider working in a school. Things may now change under a Tory/Lib.Dem government but, in the past few years, schools have generally increased in worthwhile non teaching posts on offer. Teaching/Classroom assistants can have a good career which fits in well with rearing their own children.
I have friends who do mobile hairdressing while the kids are a school. Others who work nigts. As a Care Assistants or in a higher qualified hospital job, you can often work three or four nights per week thus 'being there' for your children before and after school. Also evening work in a doctors surgery can be manageable. These evening and night time jobs are only possible if you have a reliable partner or relative to care for your children when you're working. I don't think for one minute these working hours are easy but I've known many who found they enabled them to have some luxuries whilst remaining the prime carer of their offspring.
As my children have grown they've often told me that they're pleased that I was a stay at home mum. They are glad that I could always watch school assemblies, plays, sports days and recitals. Mostly they were pleased to see me waiting at the school gates, especially if they had a certificate or badge to show. Or, if they had endured a bad day. I firmly believe that if a child has a problem at school they are more likely to tell you about it on the way home, and hopefully it can be solved quickly.
So, to summarise I will say that in my opinion IF you are able to go without a few material possessions then you'll probably be happiest being at home with your children either full or part time. If that just isn't possible then have a good think about the options open to you. For example, retraining, working from home etc. If none of these are possible or if indeed you feel you would be miserable at home then go ahead and work and DON'T feel guilty. Just choose your child care very carefully. I admire the parents who work but still juggle everything to provide time for their children.
I don't quite understand the appropriateness of the star rating here!
**Also, I would like to add that perhaps this category should be headed, 'Working Parents vs Stay at Home Parents' rather than putting the onus on the woman.
== Introduction ==
I am pregnant at the moment and I have had many people ask me if I plan to get a job once my baby is born. First off I need to give you a little insight into my recent life events. I finished college and planned on university, but then met my husband and ended up moving to a different part of the country with him as he had a full time job, my plan was to take a year out and then go to University where I live, for 2 years I was trying to get a job here, after deciding to put off my university career to try and earn some money and planning on starting an Open University course this year (this was before I found out I was pregnant!). I had two jobs in two years, both temp work over Christmas which didn't continue into the new years. I sent out hundreds of CV's to hundreds of companies anything from cleaning to secretarial work to call centers, but nothing came back, I had around 3 interviews, despite been told I had an amazing CV...didn't make much sense personally!
SO, I then found out I was pregnant, we had been trying for a baby, after been married 18 months and very happy together, we wanted to start a family, we were financially able, even without me working, and were both emotionally ready, and 8 months later, that positive result came to us. Now, I am been asked if I will continue to look for work when my baby is born... and it brought me to this "debate", I don't really have that much of a strong opinion on this subject, which I think is a good thing really as now it means I can be much more objective in this "review" and maybe give some people good advice...so here goes.
== Stay at home Mum ==
This is actually what I plan on doing, when my baby is born, I want to stay at home and look after it, I don't have family near by, and my husband works very funny hours as a security guard working 15 hour night shifts 5 nights a week, and so for 1 I would find child care expensive, but I also wouldn't want to put my children into somebody elses care, not that I have anything against mums who do, but it isn't for me.
Stay at home mums are mums who stop working when they leave their job on maternity leave, and do not go back to the job afterwards. Many mothers decide to do this, wanting to be at home with their child rather than out at work leaving their child with a child minder or relative during the day. Of course there are pro's and con's of this:
=== Pro's ===
*Your bond with your baby will be much higher than a mother who goes out to work 5 days a week for 12 hours a day, you get to feed, bathe and play with your child all day rather than giving them to somebody else to look after.
*You get to be the one who is there for all the milestones: first steps, first words etc, rather than a relative stranger.
*You know where your child is at every time during the day, and you know that IF anything happens to the baby, you will not blame yourself for not been there for him/her.
*You can teach your child how YOU want it grow up. So if you want it to learn to bake from an early age, you can show them this rather than leaving it all down to a child minder or relative.
*You don't have to fork out for childcare.
*You know that your child is not at risk from sick people, who sadly do slip through the net sometimes.
=== Con's ===
*Some mothers NEED to go out to work to be able to provide for their child. Whether it is because the benefits you would receive would not be sufficiant to pay the bills and feed your family, or whether you don't WANT to be benefit sufficiant- or if you are like our family and not eligable for any state benefits apart from child benefit which everybody gets anyway.
*You may feel your life is been dominated by your child, and resent it. Many career women who don't plan their children, or even those who DO plan their children, HATE to be at home all day, and find it boring and unfulfilling, this is a natural feeling for women who have had a career their whole lives, and they might feel resentful towards their children for "making" them be this stay at home mum.
*It is very very boring to be home all day, and if you don't have family or friends around you, it can be extremely boring to sit home with a baby all day with no adult conversation. Especially if your partner works full time.
== Working Mum ==
A working mum is a mum who goes back into work, or starts a new job once the baby is old enough to stay away from it's mother, this is usually after maternity leave ends, which I think is around 6-12 months after the child's birth depending on prefereces. Of course some mums wait until their children are in school or nursery before going back to work, but I am talking about young children (aged from birth to 3 years old).
You may be working full time or part time- but again here I am talking Full time working mums, who work over 30 hours a week.
=== Pro's ===
*Extra money coming in is essential for some new mums, not everybody get's benefits which are enough to stock the cupboards and pays the bills, and not all mums WANT that anyway. So extra money is probably number 1 on the pro list here!
*Life fulfillment. Feeling you are doing something with your life FOR your child is a huge thing, not all mums want to be stay at home mums, they don't want to set that example to their children and want to work.
*You can still spend time with your child, working 30 hours a week may only be 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, leaving lots of time to be with the children.
*Sending your children to a childminder of "play group" will socialise them sooner and mean they are not "attached" and clingy to their parents. Meaning a much easier life for the parents who don't have to worry their children are going to scream and cry all day when they do start full time education, and means they're going to have a happier time there making friends much easier.
=== Cons ===
*You might miss those all important milestones mentioned earlier.
*Although very unlikely, sadly in the world today, there are some very sick people around who like to violate and hurt children, and this would always be on the mind of a mother leaving her child with somebody they don't know. (ALWAYS make sure a child minder is registered and CRB checked!!!)
*The bond between you and your child may not be as strong as it would be if you were working part time or not at all, there is a risk the child will feel they don't "know" you, and ultimately won't want to share things with you as they get older.
*You may feel you are compromising one or the other- your own happiness for your childs happiness(if you are a stay at home mum) and vice versa.
*You may be very tired, feeling you have a duel task or working full time and then coming home and doing the cooking cleaning and sorting out your child, which can be VERY tiring for any woman!
Although there are pros and cons for each, every mother feels differently, and there are always ways of doing both! If you do need that little extra money coming in, and you don't want your child to be clingy with you making it difficult for a baby sitter etc to look after them, you could work part time, maybe working a couple of short shifts a week at the supermarket etc and send your child to a play group for a few hours a couple of days a week. If you don't want to work- you could do this anyway. Maybe once the child hits 6 months old start them at a play group, or even at a crech for a couple of hours maybe 2 days a week, in this time you can maybe use the gym, do some shopping or even go home and catch up on some washing, sleep, cleaning anything you want while your child is happy and safe and hopefully getting used to been left with other people for a couple of hours which will mean they will be easier starting school! This is what I plan on doing, it means peace for mum and dad for a couple of hours, and also means your child may be easier when staying at grandparents houses in future or starting nursery.
All in all, I hope this "review" has given people a good overview of working vs stay at home mums, and maybe even helped some people decide how they will do it when the time comes, and I am going to say sorry in advance, if I have upset anybody with anything said- this was not my intention at all, and I respect mothers who go out to work, and then come home to a full house, my sister does it and I don't know how she copes with 3 children at home and working full time. I admire those of you who do it, I couldn't do it, I would be too tired and ratty after working to come home and look after a baby!!!! :)
What's best when you have your child is it to stay at home and care for them and if this is right how long is it right for. Or is it go back to work (if you worked) and if this is right when do you go back to work if ever?
Maternity leave has increased over the years making it easier to have a longer time off work but some employers only pay the minimum so some parents believe they can't afford to stay off work for nine months; which is now maternity leave but employers pay different amounts and I am not going to pretend I know the rules on it. My employer paid full pay for 6 months then SMP for 3 months (which was about £112 at the time) the amount will have changed now. But when I had my elder daughter I got paid full pay for 15 weeks then nothing. So I then went back to work when she was 5 months old, I remember dreading it and deciding that this is what we could afford and I would go back 25 hours and my parents would look after her whilst I was at work. At the time I remember feeling quite sick about leaving her with someone other than me or her dad for a full 5 hours a day (I lived quite close to work). My (now) husband and I had discussed it and felt we couldn't afford to pay the bills on one wage.
So how did I feel about going back to work - SICK - I believed as a mum I should be the one looking after her or if not me, her dad. At first it was hard but I coped and it got easier, I realised my daughter enjoyed being away from me - it was her independance she vistited other relatives and the park etc. When she was 2 and a half I enrolled her in play school which meant my mum or dad took her and picked her up then I was home soon after - she loved it.
If I hadn't have gone back to work she would have never have mixed with lots of other people and when the age came for her to be able to go to playschool we wouldn't have been able to afford for her to go. She loved playschool and even though we don't live in the area now she still keeps in touch with a couple of them. Children need to learn to play with other children. (I always thought if I had the choice I would have gone back to work part time when she was about one). When she was 3 and could go to the school nursery (the year before school) I worked term time so she went to playschool in the morning and nursery in the afternoon and I always picked her up from nursery. I was then at home in the school holidays.
When I had my youngest daughter we didn't live near my parents so weren't so lucky. But I got paid full pay for 6 months now and the £112 SMP for three months, But what did we do then - well in our eyes she was too young to go to nursery but I checked how much it cost etc and it turned out we would be about £25 a week better off, well with that we decided it wasn't worth it.
So going back to work would have given us £25 a week more and a lot of stress having to drop off at school then a nursery somewhere else or the other way round plus the hours I had been working my husband used to pick our daughter up a few times a week so that would have meant another car (as his workplace had moved) which would have meant we didn't really gain anything.
This I think is a problem, people don't really work it all out properly financially.
I stayed off work until my daughter was one and yes I was ready to go back to work, I love my daughter dearly but I had no one to talk to in the day only my daughter and was this really good for me to do forever - sorry it wasn't I needed a break and I believe my daughter would develop without just being with me.
Money wise we decided after a year (I had got a couple of months tax rebates) that I had to and wanted to go back to work. Financially it was decided I work 16 hours 2 days a week and my husband would change his hours to work 5 days over 4 (he was on more money than me) so I worked a Tuesday and Saturday. I didn't mind the Tuesday my daughter was with her dad so it was fine I got to use my brain at last which I was soooo ready for. The Saturday that I also worked was different it didn't feel right - weekends are for family but work wouldn't let me work less than 16 hours. So one day was good.
I really believe if a parent is happy then a child is, as there is less stress so yes it was good to get back to work, although Saturday wasn't right I hated it.
I also believe if parents work they are teaching their children values if you want something work for it, there are too many people that don't get off their backsides. I believe if two people are together and between them they decide one of them doesn't work then fine, but if they split up then sorry you should now work if your children are of school age - look for part time work.
So which was better staying at home for 5 months with my eldest or a year with my youngest - well I would have liked to have stayed at home longer with my eldest but with my youngest yeah a year was probably about right. (and she would be with her daddy)
Sometimes people automatically think they can't afford to stay off work with their children but if you tighten your belts you might find you are not that much worse off. Nurseries are expensive so do the figures how worse off are you really? In money and time because time is also important.
Most women that have always worked will want to go back to work at sometime anyway.
If women are intelligent they will do what is best for themselves and their children but they are only babies once so please think about it before rushing back.
I have now increased my hours as I believe it was best for my daughter - I had taught her a lot and felt she needed to socialise with others. She loves nursery (it is only school hours) and I get every other Saturday off which is slightly better. Which means my daughter gets to play with other children 2 or 3 times a week depending on which Saturday I am working.
So you have to decide what is best for your children and family but don't presume you can't afford to stay home a little bit longer.
I was lucky my mum and dad looked after my eldest for the 5 hours a day I worked and even luckier that my husband was there for our youngest.
I am now trying to get term time again but it's not looking good. Although I have said I will work the 2 days again in the holidays so fingers crossed
This debate is one which divides many people, with seemingly no 'down the middle' option. I am going to give you my opinion on this debate but respect anyone who has a different one to mine.
I have 2 daughters aged 18 months and 3 ½. I work part time for the NHS, work at home part time running an ironing service and I am also studying part time for a degree with the Open University. My husband works full time as an accounts analyst for a major supermarket. Unfortunately, the option of staying at home, for us, was never applicable. Although my husband has a good salary, minus our outgoings, it just didn't cover everything. I set up my ironing service when my eldest daughter was about 1, and it soon exploded into something I just couldn't manage by myself. I found myself getting up in the middle of the night (to iron!), just to stay ahead of myself. I realised that it was not working, as the whole idea of starting this ironing service was to allow me to be at home with my little girl. After unfortunately getting rid of some of my customers, I found it much easier to cope and was spending time with my daughter each day, and then on an evening when she had gone to bed, I would do the ironing. I then found out I was expecting again, and had the bad news that as I had not been self employed for long enough, and hadn't been claiming any benefits, I wasn't entitled to statutory maternity pay from the government. I was disgusted, as in my eyes, I had been doing the right thing by grafting and using initiative rather than claiming benefits (to anyone who is in receipt of benefits, I'm not knocking it!!). Because of this, I worked up to 2 days before giving birth (I was 13 days overdue), and was back ironing 2 days after giving birth. Unfortunately for everyone concerned, we just couldn't afford to not be receiving my income and as the government were not willing to assist me I had to go back to the ironing. Many will be bothered that I had a newborn at home, but I was in no way neglecting her or not giving her the attention she needed. More often than not, it was only myself who suffered, as when she slept I ironed, meaning I was kinda tired!
In September 2008, when my youngest daughter was three months old, I took a part time job working for the NHS in Human Resources where I still work now. I work 18 hours each week, and get to spend a full day with them on a Tuesday and each morning of the rest of the week. I play with my children, read them stories, take them for walks and generally have fun with them. While I work they go to nursery or stay with grandparents. My children are well balanced and love to get away from me for a few hours each day to play with friends. On an evening when they go to bed, I iron, and whenever I can I try and read my coursework. My life is hectic to say the least, but in a way I would never change. If I didn't work, I would be grumpy and unable to interact with my children in the way I do. I need time away from them as they do me. Were money no issue and I didn't need to work, I would still send them to nursery for a few hours each week, to allow them to interact with other children and prepare them for school, and I think this is something all children need regardless of whether mums go to work.
I wish I could spend more time with my beautiful girls, but unfortunately I can't, so the time we do spent together is precious and full of fun. I hope you agree that the choices I have made maybe not right for everyone, but they are right for our family.
Thanks for taking the time to read my opinion.
I have always worked from home and I guess I have been very lucky in that respect. I worked from home for my previous employer (but obviously in order for me to do any work, my daughter needed to go to nursery full time). After a hellish 2009, I quite my job and am taking my former employer to tribunal for reasons I won't go into here - but now here we are at the opposite end of the spectrum... I may well have set up my own business, but we can no longer afford to send our daughter to nursery! Everything that happens in life does have a hidden blessing though and I have realised now more than ever (despite the fact working on my business is limited to evenings, naptimes and ok, I confess, the odd hour here and there when CBeebies is on), just how much I have missed out on. It is such a wonderful gift to be able to watch my daughter develop and grow, to listen to the funny things she comes out with, to know what she has eaten (she ate every meal at nursery except for breakfast - and to get her there on time, even that was a rush!) We have a much stronger bond, I get to take her to her toddler groups, to the park, read to her, teach her French. All of these wonderful things and just be there for her, instead of somebody she doesn't really have the same connection to.
Yet, I feel an immense amount of guilt! I can't begin to tell you! Whereas we will just about be able to afford for her to do one session a week at playgroup when she is 2 and 9 months, other wealthier friends who didn't need to go back to work as they are financially better off, are now sending their children to nursery for several sessions a week. So I felt guilty for 2 years because my daughter was full time at nursery. Now I feel guilty because she's not!
The bottom line is Mums need to stop beating themselves up! It has taken me a long time to realise we make the best choices we can in the situations we are confronted with. The child who has the most idyllic upbringing can turn out to be an absolute tearaway. The child who has the worst possible beginning in life can become the model citizen. There is no right or wrong and what works for one family, does not necessarily work for another. Life is hard enough without the added worry of whether we are doing the right thing. We are doing our best and that is all that can be asked of us...