I have nearly always worked, I returned to work when my first was about 3 years old and only took 6 months off with my second. This has meant my kids have always been in childcare, always. There have been times when this was really, really difficult for them and most definitely for me, but the rewards I feel are often over looked. I am not talking about financial rewards, because for me I have always had to work, but I am talking about the rewards for my children having a working mum, and while we are stuck in the trenches, these may be hard to see, I do assure you, they are there.
Early on I would say I didn’t really have a choice about being a working mum, now I think about it though I recognise I chose to have children when I did, knowing full well we couldn’t support our family without two wages. At the time I most certainly resented it. When my darling daughter was screaming as I walking away or years later my son was impossible to pry off my leg when it was time for me to leave, oh I resented it then. I had to work, to pay the bills. We had a mortgage, my first husband only worked in a business that only had income for 6 months of the year, I had to do my bit.
Those times were difficult, I worked in retail which meant my kids were in care on the holidays, over Christmas and Easter when so many of there friends were able to go away. As the kids got older, they were able to voice their dislike for after school care and vacation care, but without family support we had no option. We persevered until I no longer “needed” financially to go to work.
During those times though, I had realised that I actually needed to work for myself. It was a part of who I was. I was proud to support my family, and loved the stimulation of working in my pharmacy jobs. Work then very much became a choice, some would say a selfish choice, though I made it gladly.
When The Builder and I first moved in together, we initially thought that me working was really not going to be possible for our blended family. I did make a choice to reduce my hours to minimise the impact on our family, but I knew I couldn’t give up work all together. Fortunately the opportunity came to work for ourselves, and we have found a reasonable compromise for our family. This didn’t happen until my daughter was 14 and my son 9. They had had many years of childcare to content with by this point.
It was at this point I began to realise the benefits of the life I had chosen for my children, and it was far from the doom and gloom I had felt in previous times. My children are incredibly well socialised, we can put them into any situation and they are comfortable within themselves. They have grown with the most amazing communication skills, they are kind and generous souls who love to make other people feel good. As I have spoken about my daughter just moved to the UK without knowing a soul, she has made a wonderful life for herself, has made friends and is confidently traveling all over the country. Just today my 15 year old son went off to a work get together where he only knew one other person. He had to arrive at a secret location and navigate his way to find a group of people he didn’t know and go on an adventure to an unknown place and he has done so with enthusiasm, knowing he will meet knew people.
Now I am not naive enough to think that childcare alone was responsible for these amazing traits in my children, but that combined with the confidence work has given me, has created a positive home life in which we value every minute of our time together. It has taught my kids about fostering connections and how influential they can be when helping others.
I for one, am a very proud working Mum, and I am now proud to be able to share this with my step children as well. Can I finish by saying, I have no problem with Mums who work and with Mums who don’t work. I feel we all need to make the choice that is right for us. Today I simply wanted to share that it’s not all difficult and without benefit like we sometimes feel when we are a working mum.
Are you a working Mum? What have you found to be the biggest benefit of being a working Mum?