As Mums we’re constantly putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect and let’s face it it’s not a standard anyone can live up to and yet we still beat ourselves for every little mistake we make.
One of the biggest difficulty for modern mums is whether or not to go back to work after having a child and for some mums, due to financial difficulties it’s not even a choice.
It’s a constant balance between family and career and it never seems to go away. We walk around constantly questioning every decision we make.
Worrying is part and parcel of being a parent and trying to have the best of everything is a tightrope of a balancing act.
Am I doing the right thing?
When it comes to motherhood you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t so there’s no right or wrong answer to this question.
Every family situation is different and every mother has their own reasons for going back to work but mum’s always get the rawest deal when it comes to judgment. This is as unfair on dads as it is on mums because it implies that it’s not as much of an emotional tug of war for a father to say goodbye to his children in the morning as he heads off on a long shift not seeing them for the better part of the day.
When I had my son I was still a student so I was able to spend the first 2 years of his life mostly at home but that’s not the situation for most new mums and having to head back to work when your child is only a few months old is heart breaking but with the cost of living in Ireland rising all the time being a stay at home mum is often not an option.
The only one who can decide if going back to work is the right choice is you but even when you’re certain it is it doesn’t make leaving your child any easier.
Am I missing out?
While my job is fairly flexible working full time means sometimes having to miss out.
I try my best to try not to because I know he expects to see my face in the crowd if there’s a school play or sports day but sometimes it’s not always visible and those days are the hardest.
I wasn’t able to be there for his first day at play school and I remember crying on my drive to work that day. It sounds like the silliest thing to cry over but up until then we had always been together and I knew he was confused as to why I wasn’t going with him. I worked in a pharmaceutical company at the time and I worked 12 hours over time that week so that I could collect him on the Friday.
I have more freedom with my new job but I have come to terms with the fact that some things I won’t be able to be there for.
Are they ok?
This isn’t just a concern when I’m at work but anytime I’m not around and I think most parents are the same.
My son started primary school in September and even though he comes home happy and healthy the fear is still within me.
I had a rough time in school and often felt left out and rejected and it’s something I never want him to go through but as he gets older it becomes less and less something that I can control.
I have to trust that I’ve filled him with enough confidence to get him through the hard times and that he knows that if anything bad should happen that he always has me to fall back on.
Will this be a problem in the future?
One fear that plays on my mind a lot is my child resenting me for not being around more.
Again it’s a damned if you do damned if you don’t because I have friends who’ve had their kids lash out at them later in life because they were stay at home mums and the kids felt like they were carrying the guilt of their mother having to give up her career.
I worried about this more when I worked jobs with longer hours but now being in a 9-5 the worry has eased a bit.
My son is already in school most of the time I’m in work and as he gets older he’ll be in for longer so it doesn’t effect his daily routine whether during the hours he’s in school if I’m at home or in an office but it could become an issue if down the line I decided to have another child.
Can I win either way?
Short answer no, but there’s no real winning in parenting.
We constantly feel like we should be doing more for our children and be better than we are when in reality the only person who can judge how we’re doing are our kids and if they’re happy that’s all that counts.
Whenever I have time off I try to get out with my son and do as much as possible and working in online media I’m pretty good at finding out what’s on out and about the city.
Kids appreciate time over money so don’t sweat the small stuff like trying to buy them the best of the best and just focus on enjoying the moments you have together. When I think back on my childhood my most vivid memories are renting Disney movies on a Saturday night and having water fights in the summer and neither of those required massive amounts of money.
You are the greatest gift you can give your child.