As I was watching This Morning (yesterday) they had a very interesting debate about whether working mums make better mums. This debate stemmed from Nicole Kidman in a recent interview suggesting that working mothers are perhaps more fulfilled, her thoughts being if you stay at home then you are vicariously living your life through your kids.......I did wonder if she had a point but at the same time was baffled by this. You can read a bit more about it here. This is such an age old debate, similar to breastfeeding and it's never going to go away, so many differing thoughts and opinions. It really got me thinking. Bizarrely my thoughts have swung both ways lately, at one point I wanted to back to work and then I wanted to be a stay at home mum. Currently I'm glad to be back at work, obviously I miss the children and that's only natural but there is a part of me that feels like I'm achieving personal goals.
I'm sure as you know if you stop by here alot you will know I've recently returned to work after nearly 10 months maternity leave and it is tough. Now I'm not saying that I've got a full insight into a stay at home mums life as Alfie still remained in nursery twice a week while I was off but I was looking after Elarna during this time and the rest of the days were spent looking after the both of them. I definitely think I got a feel for it and even though it is of course tough to return to work, for me working gives a sense of purpose, my own money and utilising my qualification that I studied hard for. However it doesn't come without issues.
I do find the whole debate completely crazy, how can being a working mum make you any a better mum than a stay at home mum and vice versa. I actually find it quite offensive in a way that our choices as mothers are always being questioned and sometimes working mums are chastised but similarly so are SAHM, how is that fair? Who really cares if a Mum decides to work or stay at home. Some Mums simply HAVE to return back to work while some Mums decide not to return back to work at all for the needs of their children but surely the most important thing is that the children are happy and loved. Happy parents make happy children in my opinion.
I thought about the 2 different options.
The benefits of being a working Mum:
- It can actually be less stressful being at work, no screaming children, you can pee and poo in peace, no constant tidying up.
- You earn your own money, I don't know about you but the thought of living off my husband (and not being able to feed my makeup addiction) makes me come out in a cold sweat.
- It's keeps your brain ticking over, I swear every day on maternity leave I felt like my brain cells were slowly diminishing.
- Kids TV......enough said.
- You can have a hot cup of coffee.......bliss.
- There is adult conversation. You network, make friends and socialise........ no soft play meetings!
- It sets a good example, you work hard (and I'm not saying SAHM don't work hard because they do..... this is me when I'm not at work, before I get shot down it's just working hard in a different way)
- The time spent with the kids is so precious and I find I make the most of it.
The negative side of being a working Mum:
- The guilt, oh the guilt is tremendous, that is probably the hardest part about being a working Mum.
- When the kids are ill it is THE hardest thing to leave them in the care of grandparents or daddy when all you want to do is stay and cuddle them and make them better.
- If like me you work 3 longer days the thought of leaving without saying goodbye in the morning and returning when most likely they are in bed or on the verge of going to bed is hard, really hard.
- It's tiring, the days off you do have are spent catching up on washing/housework/cooking etc etc and it's difficult to know how to get a decent work/life balance
The benefits of being a SAHM:
- Spending lots of quality time with the kiddies.
- No worries about finding childcare or arranging grandparents to step in at short notice
- No stressing when you get a phone call from said childcare that your child is ill and can you pick them up
- You can have a continuous routine to stick to day to day
- You know what you're doing every day and can plan around this easily
- Getting to witness all the milestones and firsts that occur
- Building up a solid and reassuring relationship with your children
The negative side of being a SAHM:
- Less money than perhaps you are used to
- Days are at times monotonous and for me I'd worry that they weren't getting enough stimulation on a daily basis
- Trying to think of things to do to entertain and occupy the kids on a day to day basis and I can't imagine the stress on a rainy day, wahhh!
- The worry of what to do when the kids go to school? Head back to work? Have another kid? I have no idea.
- Who to see when everyone else is at work?
In an ideal world and if money really was no concern I guess there is part of me that would love to stay at home more but I do think I would go a bit stir crazy. There were times through my maternity leave when Alfie was testing me and Elarna would just whinge all day and it did make me question my sanity somewhat! My biggest concern in this case would be the stimulation that they would get and how I could provide it.
I openly admit to not being an 'arts and crafts' mum or 'messy play' mum, we very rarely get the crayons out (not for want of trying but Alfie isn't overly fussed by colouring and drawing), I don't even own a 'tuff tray' and glitter (as much as I love sparkly things) brings me out in a cold sweat. What I do know is that a nursery environment can offer all of these things and more to my kids and for that I am grateful. Alfie is an active and very physical boy and extremely bright and I feel that the correct nursery environment is what he needs. It's good for Elarna too, she needs to develop and mix with lots of other babies and learn to be around other people and get used to me not always being around, she's thriving at nursery as is Alfie and I really do feel they can offer more than I can to a degree. What they can't offer is motherly instincts, motherly love and their full and devoted attention and this is where the SAHM's excel.
I could debate until the cows come home and I'm sure if anyone else had listened to the debate on This Morning it would have perhaps ruffled some feathers. As I mentioned above it is just ridiculous that we are judged, belittled and made to feel shite for the choices we make even though those choices are what are right for us personally and individually. So do I think working Mums make better Mums?? Of course not!! It's the most ridiculous and silly thing to read. I'm not a better Mum just because I work, I work to provde and give me a sense of being but this doesn't make me any better or any worse than a Mum that chooses to spend her time at home.These are things that I've thought of and I expect that there is lots more that can be added, so please do tweet me or leave me a comment. I know of both working Mums and SAHM and would really like to hear other people's opinions.
I really would love to know your views. Are working mums better mums? Do people really think think that SAHM's have it easy? Does Nicole Kidman have a point? You've read my thoughts, let me know yours.