Monday, 20 April 2015

Being a stay at home mum

Hi there! And apologies for the very slow blogging over the recent weeks. I have had a hectic time of late and have been tweeking things here and there behind the scenes on my blog, so thank you so much for reading and please bear with me.  Normal service will be resuming and, much to my husband's dismay I have some fabulous haul blogs coming up!!! Today, I thought I would blog about something that I have been meaning to blog about for ages, being a stay at home mum. 

For me, the decision to take a career break from my job was a really tough one, and it was made that bit tougher by the huge amount of pressure I felt from others and well, society I guess.  Pre-baby, I had worked in the NHS for 10 years and had done 4 years of training, a degree and a Masters to get to my current job.  After my one years maternity leave was up, I went into work to discuss hours which I could work, and basically, what I wanted to work and what the service wanted me to work just weren't compatible.  I was very lucky and was offered the chance to take a 5 year unpaid career break where I could return to my original job upon return.  And I took the opportunity.  But not without alot of thought. 

I was really torn as to what to do, as taking a career break wasn't something that had ever occurred to me. I felt pressure from peers that really returning to work was the thing you ought to do, women haven't worked hard for equal rights to then be stuck at home bringing up baby.  No-one I knew had taken a career break so I couldn't really ask anyone's advice. Was I even doing the right thing? When a very dear friend sat down with me and told me to grasp the opportunity with both hands if that would make me happy, I decided that is what I would do. 

And I am so so glad I did.  I am in year two of my career break and I can honestly say it is the best decision I made.  But the best decision I made for me.  Not for the other mum's at the baby group.  Not for the gossip at the post office.  Not for the mum who returned to work as soon as she could.  No.  I made this decision for me and my family. So why judge?   

There came a time at baby groups when all of the mums starting returning to work and I was asked weekly when I was returning also.  When I told people I was taking a career break, I got alot of negative responses.  People said things like, "oh, I could never do that", "oh how boring to have to play all day", "I need adult company", "your husband must be rich", "oh how nice that you can sit and watch TV all day".  Yup, I've heard them all.  And I am very guilty of replying to a few that "I felt it important to spend this time with my child", yep, big apologies to all working mum's out there.  I muttered those words. But at times, I truly felt ostracised because I was going against the 'norm'.  

I know there are working mums out there who would love to be in my position.  But then I know working mums that wouldn't.  And my point is that whatever we do, it's ok.  The decisions I make are for me and my family.  I shouldn't have to explain my reasoning for them.  I shouldn't have to defend that I do anything but watch TV all day.  That I am not some female version of Mr Tumble and I do not play in a circus tent all day to keep my daughter entertained.  That I do actually have a brain. And that I certainly do not go out for lunch everyday. Equality includes choice.  I am lucky that I can choose to stay at home with my daughter. 

I found that people were quick to judge me.  Quick to assume I didn't have a career before baby.  And alot of the time, quick to tell me their judgements.  I never heard people saying that to mums who went back to work (though I know that happens too). And I would never judge a working mum.  Because quite frankly, what has it got to do with me? Aren't all us mum's just the same? Aren't we all just trying to do our best?  So why judge? Why feel the need to judge me and my decisions? Trust me, I have enough self doubt and criticism to see me through to my seventies.  I really don't need anyone else's. 

I think for some bizarre reason, we are always made to feel guilty as mums.  That we are not doing things right.  That we should be doing the same as everyone else.  We feel guilty for working.  We feel guilty if we don't. But I am calling it.  I am calling it right now. I am saying sod everyone else.  You do what feels right in your gut.  You do what is right for your family.  Whether that is going to work or staying at home. That is your right as a parent.  A right that should never ever be judged, (unless you are running off to join the circus and then I think a bit of debate is fair play).  So now, when people ask me if I am at work, I say that I am a stay at home mum.  And that is all I say. I say no more.  No excuses.  No reasoning. Because I am done having to explain myself.  

Are you are stay at home mum? Did you feel judged in your decision? Or are you a working mum and felt judgement too? Comments below please and as always, thanks for reading, 


  1. I really like this post and I totally agree, I wish people could drop to judgements.
    I had my eldest daughter 7 years ago. Since then I have worked part time, full time and now work at home with our own business. For some obscure reason even members of our own extended family still don't think I 'really' work, despite the fact I work almost the same hours as my husband, doing the same thing. Same at my local toddler group (we now have a 2 year old) - most of the other mums work part time and seem to prefer to consider me a SAHM. It's a bit bizarre really!
    I was pretty stressed out when I worked full time - I think I might have resented a SAHM because I was jealous at the time.
    I was a SAHM for 18 months after my eldest daughter was born and it was great to be honest - I consider myself (and my family) very lucky that our business allows me to retain some of the elements of being at home!
    Best of luck with your career break - sounds like a lucky opportunity!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience too. Definitely agree we need to stop the judgements...and why do people compare how 'hard' jobs are against staying at home or working from home. You wouldn't do that with other jobs!!!
      And all the best with your business!!!

  2. Love, love this post Laura - you called it well! I am a stay at home mum and have really felt in the past a need to justify myself which is ridiculous. I haven't had any horrible comments though - I can't believe some of the things people have said to you! Whatever we do, is fine. People can pick holes in so many parts of our parenting (am trying to write a post about this and judgement at the moment without sounding bitter!) when what other parents do is of no relevance to others. I just don't understand it at all. Ultimately, we are doing the right thing for our family, and it was completely my choice so I don't see why it matters a jot to anyone else.