Now that I’m back at work, I have to question why anyone would ever think we have reason to judge working mums (sorry dads, but for some reason us mums get judged more than you guys on this one). More to the point, why on earth would anyone have anything other than absolute admiration for those mums working full-time?
Related: Why we need to do more for dads
I live in a half-world. I work part-time (four days a week), so I still enjoy the benefits of having days off with my girl. I also get to enjoy the time to myself when I get to the office, log in, steaming hot coffee in hand (oh, the luxury!), brain whirring with possibilities that don’t include pondering how to get the tiny grains of sand out of the crevices of the pram (serious problems, people!).
I have found that since returning to work I feel a kinship to a collection of women that perhaps I didn’t give a lot of thought to before. I look at these women and think “wow”. I think, “look at you, managing this, walking around like your heart isn’t being worn by a little person somewhere”, because that’s the reality of going to work when you have young children. It’s great, and I absolutely want to do it, but while I do my beautiful little girl walks around with all my love on her shoulders, and it is only when I get home and we’re together again that everything feels whole again. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
These women, these women that the media likes to say are being judged and judging themselves (and maybe they are), are role models. I’m not saying every mother should work, absolutely not, but these women are role models to those who want to do it. For those who want to attempt “having it all” as people delight in saying. Anyone who thinks working and being a Mum is “having it all” is seriously deluded! Life is about so much more – and in some ways, so much less – than that!
So I ask anyone who judges full-time-working mums to really have a think about why you’re judging them, because if you ask me, they’re one of the toughest breed of mother you get, and I admire the shit out of them!
And, if you’re a working mum – or planning on being a working mum – I want to share with you the best advice someone gave me. They said to me, “You are a role model for the generation to come after you. There’s no room for guilt. You need to set the example, and show those women it can be done.” For me, that solved the guilt I felt at running out the door at five o’clock, for prioritising my daughter. Of course I should prioritise her, but I don’t need to feel guilty about it. That advice changed my whole outlook. And you know what? It wasn’t a parent who gave me that advice, so maybe it’s time we stop judging the non-parents out there too.
Related: Five things I didn’t expect when I returned to work
You might also like: How I feel about returning to work
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I think it’s great that many mums do choose to go back to work. There are many who don’t have a choice and financially must go back. The only judement I have on working mothers is the ones who decide to go back insanely early. I’m talking within the first twelve weeks. The reason I judge this is because this is such an integral time for the child mother bonding and attachment, and we as a species are not designed to cope with this early separation. The modern lifestyle has moved on, but our biological norms have not. This however is usually the minority, but I believe women who are under the assumption that by doing this (returning to work very early, such as the CEO of yahoo) that it will not be damaging to the mother child relationship and the health of their babies are sadly deluded. I repeat though this is only my opinion on mothers retuning to work within the first few weeks, not my opinion on all working mothers. Cheers, great article.
This is so true. It’s flippen tough being a working mommy, just as it’s tough not being one.
Absolutely! After being on both sides, I can confidently say neither is easier than the other. They both have their challenges – and rewards!
I think as a mum you will always feel guilty, but it’s even worse for us full time working mothers. I find it extremely hard to juggle motherhood and work but hopefully we are getting there.
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Great post! Again!!
I’m my personal experience, I found being at home much easier than working. The juggle is hard! Staying on top of my home, ensuring my daughter gets healthy home made food and being a diligent, hard working and committed employee, all while my child is top priority of everything is TOUGH.
Staying at home full time is not an option for us on a number of levels.
I appreciate everyone has different experiences but that’s mine.
High fiving you here, yes, yes and yes-I’ve actually blogged about this and would love to hear your thoughts, guilt is futile, we must be happy in order for our kids to and we are providing for them and setting an example. Loved this!
Thanks! Something I’m feeling rather passionate about at the moment.
I used to manage a large team of mainly women when I went back to work after having children. I made a point always to leave the office exactly on time with a big smile on my face and encouraged everyone to do the same. If I had more work to do, I would sneak it home in my bag rather than stay late as I didn’t want to set the example of a stay-late culture. Compromises all round, but you are right – we have to take responsibility for the effect of our own choices on other people. #TwinklyTuesday
I couldn’t agree more. I’ll confess I judged working mums before I had my son. I thought I would be a SAHM mum for several years and that that would be enough for me. Alas, I found I needed more. So I work part time and it suits me down to the ground. And now I make sure I never judge anyone – part time, full time or SAHMs. We are all just doing what is best for us and our families and that’s all that matters.
I love this post. I’ve been on three different sides of this! I didn’t take any time out of university after my daughter was born, and carried straight on as a student parent. I got a lot of judgement for that as it meant that she went into nursery young and people saw it as selfish. Then I went straight into full time work, and people said I was selfish for not spending any time with her. Then I became a stay at home mum, and people said I’m lazy and should be working, and am setting a bad example to my daughter! Sometimes, mums just can’t win whatever they do. We’re all just doing the best for our families – surely that’s something to be praised, not criticised!
People are so judgemental aren’t they? You’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t. And to be honest, *whatever* route you choose to take ALL of them are hard!! I work from home and trying to juggle home and work and get a separation is a NIGHTMARE! But we do what we have to, to get by don’t we? Great post 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with us for #TwinklyTuesday, we really appreciate it 🙂 xx
I think working mums are judged just as much as those who choose to stay at home! I stay at home with my four children (we simply cannot afford child care) and I am judged every single day for this decision. I have people who tell me that I am setting my children a bad example by not being a strong, working woman and that I should be a better role model. It’s just awful how judgemental people are, I think as mums we must develop a thick skin and do whats right for us and our children. #AnythingGoes
As a first time mum who had to leave her 8 week old in the care of others to go back to work, I have nothing but love for this post. I’ve seen so many people posting on social media judging mums who go back to work and I’ve never, ever understood why. To say we are supposed to be in this parenthood thing together, there’s a lot of harsh opinions being thrown around everywhere. We all do what’s best for us and our little ones and whilst a lot of us would love to stay at home all day with the kids, we can’t. Keep doing what you’re doing, because it works for you 🙂 #AnythingGoes
I always thought id be a working mum but then life happened and I became a SAHM. Not what I expected and now I’m looking at going back I feel a different type of guilt. Guilt on my second baby that I’m not planning on spending as long off with him. Guilt on my first that I don’t make the most of every day. Guilt on my husband thayi don’t financially contribute.
Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
I’m sure they sent me out the hospital with it when I became a mum!
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