WORKING MUMS: SELFISH OR SELFLESS?

17:06

I'm sure there are lots of women out there that would much prefer to be at home with their children than having to go to work because their bills require them to do so, wish they'd planned their career before having children, that there was more time so they could fit in their chosen employment but because they have a partner that works more than full time, they have to stay at home. 

My online girlfriends and I were discussing an online article about a nursery that offered a place for children to stay over night for parents who work nights and there was a very varied view. Some believe that at least one parent should be at home with the children, some that it's great to have around the clock services of childcare for people like myself who work varying shifts, that parents are entitled to have their ambitions met and not to be judged because they choose to progress in their roles. 

This really got me thinking about my job, how I feel about it, whether there are things that I would change or choices that I would have made differently.

Firstly, let me tell you what I do. I work part time at a local birth centre, alongside midwives offering support during labour, birth, post delivery and postnatal, I'm also a qualified breastfeeding support worker, working within the birth centre and sometimes out in the community. Although my job varies hugely because we provide a 24 hour service, I absolutely love it - I feel very blessed to be involved so heavily with such an amazing life event and if I were to choose any job to do that involves being away from my son, this is the one.

The great thing about my job is that I primarily work nights. Now why on earth would that be great to a full time Mummy? Well, I function without sleep having already birthed my very own little night waker out of choice, Theo is in fact asleep while I'm working and it means that apart from the one day of sleep between 2 night shifts, I get much more time with him than I would working in the day. I'm also very lucky to have a husband that works a day job and can be home with bubba when I'm at work!

But what would I do if I didn't have family or a partner near to support? If I had friends that worked or had children and couldn't offer any help whatsoever?

Obviously we pick a nursery for it's comforts, competencies and qualities, a home away from home where we feel happy in the knowledge that our child is safe and taken care of. I have to be totally honest here, the idea of nursery for Theo petrifies me, I feel uncomfortable about him being somewhere with masses of children and feel that the best place for him to be is with family or with me until he is able to tell me whether he is happy or not. I'm not saying I don't agree with nursery, or that I'm judging those that use it because I really am not, it's just not for us. 
BUT, if it was my only choice and it meant the difference between having food on the table for my child or not, I'd shove him in there as often as needed. And at night too. I think it's nice for them to have a consistent place that they are happy with rather than darting from person to person depending on your shifts and what friend, next door neighbour or the trusty postman that lives a few minutes away is available.

I think for our family the only things I would change would be the days that I work, it would be nice to have set days and set hours so that I could attend baby groups, swimming lessons or any other activities. I would really love to be at home but what I gain from working outside of the home is much more beneficial to our family. I'm happier, I feel like I give back to the community and it makes me feel like a normal human being as opposed to Mummy alone.

We all seem to want what another has and I think with the new year well under way, it's time to change that! I try not to envy those that have other working circumstances.. but sometimes, it can be hard when you're off to work on Christmas Day and the rest of the world's eating a beautiful dinner and opening presents.

I don't think there is anything wrong with wanting a career or making a decision that puts your family first. I also don't think it's as simple as being at home or going to work, this whole topic is such a minefield as circumstances differ so hugely but I genuinely feel is that a choice a mum or dad makes, as long as it's not neglectful or harmful, is usually with the best interest of the family in mind. 

What happens in your family? What childcare services do you use? Do you feel mothers should be at home or at work? I'd love to know your thoughts!

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