Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Stay At Home vs Working Mum


I'll put my hands up and openly admit that there was once a time, not too long ago when I thought stay at home mums had it easy. Real easy.
I rolled my eyes whenever I read 'Full time Mummy!' on social media sites.
Can't work or won't work?! i'd mentally ask, 
picturing them all catching up over flat whites in Costa, having baby dates in soft play centers and strolling through the park whenever the sun made an appearance.
It seemed like one giant holiday, how could they have anything to complain about?

Then I became a mum, and I was left eating my words. 

I quickly realised just how hard the 'job' was. In fact my retail job that once used to stress me out, would sometimes seem like a holiday away from it all. OK maybe not quite a week away in the Cote d'Azur, but one where I could pee in peace and not have to share my lunch, and that's just as good as isn't it?.....
I spent the last few months of my Maternity leave toying with the idea of not going back to work. Some days I got so emotional at the thought of having to return, I felt she was still too little, changing so rapidly by the day and the thought of missing out on anything would have me bawling into a box of Kleenex.
Other days (teething days, always teething days) I would have happily shut the front door and sprinted over hot coals to work, begging them to let me start back there and then, hell, I would have done a shift for free to get out of the' pressure cooker' house.

 I love being at home with my daughter, and as much as I moan (and I do moan) about the lack of sleep, and the early starts, my skinned ankles courtesy of  the baby walker and cleaning the decomposed banana out of the high chair. (banana is the absolute worst offender- I shudder at the very thought.) I really do love it. The good days, the bad days.. the in between. I just love being a mum.

But, i'd love to debunk this myth that Stay at home mums have it easy, because it is so far from the truth. 
While it may all seem all good fun, coffee dates and afternoon naps.(God forbid we nap when baby does! - and if you do, never admit it to your other half or you'll have to hear all about 'the nap' for the next fortnight.)
It is 24/7  Living for the weekend means nothing other than maybe getting a sleep in on a Saturday morning if your other half is feeling particularly generous. It's eating on the go; a polite term for inhaling a sandwich in two bites as you try to prise your little one's fingers away from opening the bin, and trying to dismantle the tv off the wall. There's the over-tired tantrums, the cabin fever on rainy days,the endless cycle of dishes, washing and cleaning food out of the high chair with no overtime, no hope of a bonus or payrise. It's basically a full time unpaid job in the house. 

Of course I wouldn't have this any other way.

No really,  I wouldn't. I can't remember ever feeling this content and so genuinely happy. 
My head and house are so chaotic at times, but my heart is so so happy. 
At the risk of  sounding like i'm being sponsored by Hallmark, the love I feel for my daughter is indescribable.
I love my sleep, a tidy house and having time to wash my hair. But I love my daughter even more.
But that is not to say it doesn't leave me feeling enraged when someone says 'So what did you do all day?'  'It could be worse, you could be at work!' 
This leaves many of us mums looking and feeling like a bull that's seen a red flag.
As much as I would love to spend my days in Costa sipping on caramel lattes and devouring red velvet cake with my mummy friends, I would need a lotto win to fund it, because lets be honest, Costa prices weren't made with statutory maternity pay in mind.
Most people I know are at work during the day, our plans are weather dependent and it's a challenge to keep things fun and entertaining all.The.Time... and that's when Mr Tumble and his flippin' spotty bag come in handy. (*Cue the mummy guilt for using the tv as a distraction*)

I have been fortunate enough to return back to the work in the evenings, so I get to spend the entire day with Eva before starting my shift. I'm so greatful that my job has allowed me to do that as i'm aware there are so many mum's who don't have the choice of evening work. In a way I have the best of both worlds, I spend every day at home with my baby and three evenings at work. I can relate to so many things that stay at home mums go through and  those mums who are newly back at work (where I spend my entire break pestering my other half to send me pictures and  updates on everything under the sun)

Did she eat all her dinner? How many oz's of her bottle did she take? did she go down ok? Have you went and checked on her? Send me a wee pic.

I read a lovely blog post this week which really inspired this post.

http://carolynee.net/a-letter-from-a-working-mother-to-a-stay-at-home-mother-and-vice-versa/

I insist you read and nod along, laugh and maybe even shed a little tear.

Mums, working mums, stay at home mums, part time, full time, whatever it may be, you are nothing short of amazing.













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4 comments

  1. A gorgeous post Sarah! I've been on both sides of the divide too, and neither is 100% easy. I think regardless of what working options we choose though we are still mums, simply doing the very best we can for our families. That should always be applauded in whatever form it takes, shouldn't it?xxx ps. Wee Costa some day? ;) xx

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    1. Thank you!
      You're so right :)
      Oh of course! (and a lemon poppy seed muffin!) xxx

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  2. It sounds like a lovely balance. I'm going to be controversial and say it probably is easy for some people, but we're not all the same. If we're lucky we can carefully choose where we work but babies and children don't give us that flexibility!

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    Replies
    1. So true! the flexibility isn't always an option! xxx

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