Monday, 25 January 2016

Working Mums v Stay at Home Mums

Below is my most recent blog, written for the Huff and for here.  I haven't actually posted it to the Huff yet.  I want to find a suitable picture to go with the piece first and because I want to get on with my latest attempt at a novel I am going to wait until my computer support team (husband and eldest daughter) are home this evening.  Laziness?  Yes, perhaps.  But I am Giving Up Feeling Guilty.  In fact, that might be the title for my next blog post...  Anyway, here is this one:

Working Mums v. Stay at Home Mums

At the start of January I made a resolution to write one blog post a week – and whoops, I have blown it already.  Last week I had other priorities.  A friend popped in unexpectedly one morning for a chat.  The next day I had to take one of my daughters to the opticians.  I had a parents’ meeting and a school uniform sale to attend.  The few hours a day that I try to allocate to writing gradually became consumed by other matters.  By Friday I had stopped even trying (or pretending to try) to write and just spent the day out shopping with a friend. 

It is all too easy to become distracted when you work from home, so much so that sometimes the distractions seem to be part of the routine.  I feel privileged to be able to take my children to appointments or to pick them up from school if they are poorly.  I like to meet friends occasionally for coffee or lunch and a chat.  I do usually manage to fit in some writing during the day but it is sometimes hard to find the motivation.  By last weekend though, after a whole week of not writing, it was tempting to think that perhaps I should find a job and contribute to the family in a more measurable way – i.e. financially. 

The trouble is, I have friends who are working mums, I observe them becoming stressed with all the tasks they have to juggle and I can’t see myself existing that way.  Plus, just because I enjoy my days, doesn’t mean I have an easy ride.  I do a lot of chores; cooking, cleaning, all the things that keep a household running, and I do have a large family (a husband, four children and two dogs) to look after.  I think perhaps every family needs someone in a support role – certainly in the absence of family members to rely on.  I shouldn’t feel guilty, I tell myself.  I have plenty to keep me busy. 

I am not a helicopter parent, at least not deliberately, but I am around to help the children when they need me, and I probably have more time than most to think about what is the best way to feed them, what are the most suitable activities out of school and so on.  I am trying to raise independent, confident children, I am trying to make their lives as secure as possible so that when they grow up they won’t have the problems that I did.  It is important to me to prove that I am a good mother, a capable mother - although I know that most people don’t even consider such things in relation to themselves or anyone else. 

And that’s the other thing – because of the track my life has taken, I don’t know if anybody would employ me anyway.  Would you employ a person with a diagnosis of schizophrenia?  I am not sure that even I would.

So, is it better to be a working mum or a stay at home mum?  I don't know, because I have only ever tried one of those options.  All any of us can do in life is our best, which will depend on our personal circumstances and those of our family.  I would say from personal experience, that once you have chosen a path it is probably better for your sanity not to wonder what the road not travelled might have held. 

Sometimes, blogging feels like shouting into the ether.  There are so many things on the internet and in the world at large competing for our attention, why should anybody want to read about what I think?  Last week, though, a friend phoned to say she had read my last piece about how every down in life has a corresponding up and that we should always bear this in mind when we are going through troubled times.  She said it had really helped her – and that was enough to encourage me to get back on track. 

This week, I will write more than last week (that won’t be difficult!)  I will continue to blog regularly, or try my hardest to do so.  I will keep plodding on, and one day I might even finish one of the many novels that I keep embarking on and abandoning.  Or perhaps, when the children are grown, I might go out and find a job after all.

Meanwhile, life goes on and everyone in my little home is healthy and happy, including me.  

It is all progress, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.


No comments:

Post a Comment