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!

If you’ve enjoyed my adventures in parenting, working and blogging, could I be ever so cheeky and ask for your vote in the Mum and Working Awards – it’s the first time I’ve been shortlisted for an award! And it’s one that I feel really passionately about – The Working Parent Blogger of the Year. Follow this link to cast your vote Click me!

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