I’ve said this so many times before but I truly believe that every parent should make their own choice about how they raise their child without being judged. Whether that be choices about feeding, sleeping, routine or work. It is not for anyone else to pass judgement but still we all find ourselves feeling judged at some point.
I’m quite happy with the way I raise my boys and it’s not very often that I feel judged because most of the time when it comes to my children I just don’t care what people think. But recently I have felt judged on a specific subject and I think lots of mums will feel the same. What’s the subject? WORK
When you have a baby you have a few choices regarding work. You can resume your previous work, you can cut down your hours, you can work from home or you can decide to be a “stay at home mum” When Marley was born myself and my husband decided that I would stay at home with Marley until baby number 2 arrived. And so life as a stay at home mum began.
There is a HUGE stigma attached to being a “stay at home mum” Many people don’t believe it to be a job and I would often get comments like “you are so lucky” “how nice not to go to work” “what do you do all day?” Lots of these comments are true in many respects. Being a stay at home mum IS amazing and I am so thankful and blessed that I was able to stay with my baby, but let me tell you it’s not as easy as it sounds! When you sign up to stay with your baby you are surrounded by just yourself and a baby or toddler 5 days a week. Your life that once revolved around adult conversation, business meetings and doing important tasks is suddenly a distant memory. There is never a spare minute in the day between looking after your child, cleaning, cooking and running errands. When you do get free time to do nice things it’s spent in soft plays, parks and baby groups.
Two years on and I am now taking care of my babies whilst holding down two jobs that equate to around 30 hours a week from home. It seems that the stigma attached to being a “stay at home mum” is the same for a “working from home mum” I’m finding it's almost as if people don’t believe that I’m actually doing real work from home. I work just like any other mum that goes to work except I do it whilst juggling a toddler and a 7-month-old baby. I’m still the one that looks after them full time, I’m still the one that needs to get the house jobs done, I’m still the one that cooks and I’m still the one that sits in soft plays and baby groups. The only difference is that now I do it with my laptop and iPhone stuck to my side and the days have become longer because I work into the evenings. Just like mums who feel guilty about going out to work and leaving their children, I feel guilty that I’m not present enough for mine.
Despite the above I STILL get asked by some people what I do all day. Like I get paid to do nothing? Wouldn’t that be nice! Sometimes it really gets to me and sometimes it really hurts me. So I’m making a pact with myself that the next time someone asks me what I do all day I will be handing them a list of what my day looks like. Do people think I have time to sit with a cup of tea and catch up on my soaps? I can only wish! I microwave my cup of tea around 5 times a day before deciding to make a fresh one.
So whether you are going out to work, staying at home with your children or working from home, don’t let anyone make you feel like you are taking the easy option. It is YOUR decision and one thing I know with absolute certainty is that there isn’t an easy option. You will feel guilty in some form no matter what you choose. You will feel exhausted no matter what you choose. It will always be a juggle because that’s what life becomes when you have children. Be proud of your choice and dont let anyone make you feel any different.