Did I go back to work too early?!

classroom
“You went back to work early, didn’t you? Especially to other people’s kids!”

Umm….I’m not sure that I asked for your opinion or am entirely bothered by what you think but go ahead and offer an uninvited opinion anyway!

I am fairly secure in my decision to return to work when I did and with the arrangement that we have with childcare etc. I have times when I find it all incredibly difficult and miss my little man beyond belief. Trust me when I say that in those moments, no-one could make me feel worse about myself and my need to work than I already do. So frankly, bog off and don’t judge me for the decision that I made.

The conflict between working and staying at home are ideas that I come back to all the time and I am fascinated by how we all need to function differently with regards to returning (or not) to work, and maybe it’s because I understand that there are so many different ways of doing things that means I try particularly hard not to judge people for their decisions. They may have arrangements that I could never have for me and my family but the beauty of human nature is surely that we are all different?!

I went back to work after 8 ½ months of full-time mama life. Financially, we could not have afforded for me to stay off without statutory maternity pay as I am currently still the high wage earner – it won’t be long until Hubby qualifies and leaps miles above me! But also, in many areas of ‘Western’ society women are expected to go back to work much sooner than that. The latest figures that I could find put France at 16 weeks, Australia at 18 weeks and in Saudi Arabia it is as little as 10 weeks. In the USA they are lucky to get any paid maternity leave! So actually, I gave my little man the best amount of time that I could whilst being able to financially support him.

And since when did 9 months become early to return to work?! Since when did we as a society expect mothers to go back to sacrificing their careers that they have worked hard to build to be SAHM? I clearly have nothing against SAHM’s. In fact, I admire their guts and determination as it is flipping hard work to entertain a small person and keep your own sanity. It is something that I was unable to contemplate as I would have seriously lost my sense of self by doing so.

But also, I love my job. It can be bloody hard, it is always immensely tiring and the pressure to get students higher than expected grades is relentless but I love working with teenagers. I love trying to inspire them and help them achieve their goals (I’m much more bothered about this than the goals that the school sets!) But they will never have the attention that they once had from me as my son will always come first… so don’t dare suggest that leaving my child to teach other people’s is wrong in anyway. I really detest the insinuation that leaving Sprog to go to work means that I care less about him than the children I see every day.

There are so many combinations of working and family environments, and hopefully everyone can find a set up that works for them. But so help me if you judge me for my choice and my decision as a woman to balance my life and the lives of my family as I see fit! So next time, lady of a playgroup (which shall remain nameless), kindly keep your funny little opinions in and concentrate on clearly explaining how this activity would benefit my son… not judging my choices.

Thanks!

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17 thoughts on “Did I go back to work too early?!

  1. I went back to work when my 1st child was just a little over 4 months because I had to. I agree with you I try not to judge anyone else’s situation and hats off to STAHM but I needed a break and cherish my time off with my children now more than ever ( the 4 month old I speak of above is now a delightful teenager…. Yeah me) . Take what others say with a pinch of salt

  2. As I was reading I thought you were going to say you’d gone back after a couple of months! But do you know what, so what if your baby was 2 weeks old?! It is your choice and nobody else’s business. As it is 8 1/2 months isn’t early at all! People will always comment no matter what. Just ignore them and concentrate on your family x

    • Thanks… I kind of like she was judging me as if I’d gone back that quickly… But like you said, it’s absolutely our choice about how we do things but I felt terrible for being judged on my work and family balance!

  3. That ridiculous I had 12 weeks off with my first and a year with my second but still have the same bond with both, Its your decision no one else’s. And honestly i appreciate my boys more after a hard day at work teaching other peoples kids. I say each to their own, but people should never judge anthers decision.

  4. It’s your own personal decision, your choice. Do whatever suits you and your family. That way you are at your happiest – which makes for a better life than being miserable. Anyone else’s opinion is insignificant! Great post and thanks for linking up #SundayStars Jess xx

  5. I have no idea why everyone has to have an opinion on what other people do. My youngest has just turned one and people keep asking me if i’m going to go back to work soon. I actually have no intention of doing so anytime soon and consider myself very lucky to be able to stay at home with my boys. But I in no way think bad of people who do return to work, everyone does what suits them best and its nobody else’s place to judge x #sundaystars

  6. One thing I have learnt since becoming a parent, is that lots of other parents love to judge and make comparisons. Every situation is different, everybody is different. After my son was born we made the decision for me not to return to work, financially we could really do with the income but realistically it just would not work for us with the shift pattern my husband works etc. I feel judged sometimes also but for the opposite reason, for not contributing to society. We all do what we have to do for ourselves and at the end of the day we are all doing and wanting the very best for our children.

  7. I am really lucky to be able to stay at home with my children, but on the other hand I don’t get any me time – EVER – which don’t get me wrong I don’t mind most of the time but there are those moments where I get a little frustrated!

    I also get judged on staying at home and not working, I think people are just more interested in what everyone else is doing rather than what is best for them.

  8. I totally get this. I am a teacher too and a colleague sat next to me at a staff meeting actually said “I don’t know how you are able to leave your girls to come to work” – I was flabbergasted! How dare people (especially those that don’t even know personal circumstances) pass judgement to other parents to our faces about our choices in parenting. Every decision I make, I question if it is the right thing. It has been thought through so carefully. I know that this will be the same for every other parent. How dare someone make you feel bad about the decisions that you have made for your family.
    #sundaystars

    • That’s an awful thing for a colleague to say! Most of mine are really understanding and do their best to make sure that I actually get time for me as well as all the work.
      Thank you for stopping by xx

  9. I think it is so sad that you have to write this post; all too often I hear mums having to justify why they went back to work when they did. As a SAHM I often find myself dealing with judgements that I must have had a low paid job beforehand (I didn’t!). I wrote something similar about peoples expectations that I should be going back to work – it seems us mums can’t do right for doing wrong!
    I respect everyone’s choices – for me I want to be at home, others aren’t suited to that. Other mums financially need to back in work.
    xx
    #sundaystars

  10. Pingback: So…It’s the Eve of BritmumsLive | mamavsteacher

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