Do you ever feel that others judge you as a result of the job or career you have chosen? Do you ever feel like others make you feel less of a mother for working part or full time? I know I’ve been made to feel like that many times before and the comments and opinions of others used to cut deep and often left me feeling ‘not good enough’ but, not anymore!
Being a mother of two myself and coming back to work after a long stint of maternity leave was a hard decision to make and during maternity leave I changed my mind so many times about what it was I wanted to do after I’d had the boys. I contemplated child minding so I could raise my own children and was prepared to think about looking after others too but, I changed my mind. I then contemplated part time work and full time work and what I actually ended up doing was something completely different. I ended up finding the best solution for my family and I and that was condensed working in my old job and after a long discussion with my husband that worked for me. Of course I would have liked to have worked less (of course I would) however, that wasn’t an option in my current role and I’d worked hard (extremely hard) to gain the career I’d had and I actually really liked it too but, even I wasn’t really prepared for the transition back into work with two children in tow.
There was the high childcare fees, the sleepless nights and long days at work and the general daily demands of juggling everything I had to just to stay afloat. There were days when I just had enough energy to get through the day never mind anything else. Emotions ran high and at times I just felt like I couldn’t go on juggling everything but, I did! Then when I met others through either my work or social life they’d often ask if I had children and that would be shortly followed by questions about my work commitments and career and after explaining my situation many of them would rudely imply that I’d chosen work/career over raising my own children and that wasn’t the case at all. It was never about the money (it never is) although let’s be completely honest, having money does provide you and your family with opportunities. For me it was daunting to think that I might have to give up my career as I couldn’t reduce my days and that was not something I wanted to do so I just did the best I could and I managed it – just!
On top of this whilst on maternity leave the first time with Tom, Richard lost his job and got made redundant so at the time he took on another role but, it wasn’t exactly what he wanted so my job was the stable one, the one that we could rely on and I had that to contend with too. Richard and I share everything and we continue to support one another, if I decided to take a part time role at the time we’d have managed but, it would have been tough, financially!
Our childcare at its peak was £1,150 (GBP) per month so it didn’t come cheap but, it was still worth me working as I earned more than that. But, that’s not something you want to talk about with those who judge and make comment about the fact that I could have been at home raising my own children for that. They used to ask questions, ‘Is it really worth you going to work when you pay that?!’ But, I’m too polite to say anything so I didn’t really comment but, I knew it was worth it and I enjoyed my job, in fact in all honesty at times it was a break.
I got a hot cup of tea when I wanted and got to go to the loo too in peace but, it didn’t mean I didn’t miss my kids because of course I did! This week I had a coaching session with a Mum who has decided to go back to work full time and she is now facing the same comments from friends and family and she’s deeply hurt by the comments made. So we’ve worked together to help her understand why others judge and how to avoid other’s comments and judgements from affecting her so much in the future and she’s already on her way to being happier because she knows the decision she’s made is the right decision for her. It was this that prompted me to write this article today, why do others think it’s okay to pass judgements on others?!
So if you’re a working woman and raising a young family too, hats off to you (honestly) it’s no easy tasks. I just want you to remember that you’re doing your best and your best is good enough! And for those judgemental mothers out there that judge, just think twice before you start acting like mother of year – everyone here is doing the best by their family and that’s all anyone can ask!
So let’s just get rid of a few myths, being a mother doesn’t mean you can’t have a career or run a business (or both), it doesn’t mean you can’t study or retrain if you want to and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour with your child. It does mean (or should mean) that you strive to be the best Mum you can and spend every day trying to be the best role model you can be for your children whether you work full time, part time or not at all.
As mothers we shouldn’t judge other, we should support one another in everything we do!