One friend of mine returned to part-time work when her baby was two months old and was working full-time by the time Zara was four months. I couldn’t help feeling, “If she can do it, why aren’t I able to? It is hard enough to meet all that is demanded of me and yet I am at home all day. How does she manage a full-time job and to be a mum?” Melba has a dynamic career and I admire her enormously. But there is a high price to pay: Melba does not see as much of her daughter as her husband or her own mother. She has had to deal with lack of understanding from work colleagues and the tension between her demanding job and the desire to be with her daughter. Melba is drained and tired at the end of each week and even her recovery from pregnancy seemed to take longer than most women.
You may feel envious of friends who go back to work and it can be hard to see others working and managing to be mothers. I think the reality is that we all have choices, and you would be able to work and be a mum if that is what you choose to do. However we need to make our own choices based on our own situation and priorities. If you decide not to return to work even if your friends make different choices, stick with what you believe is right for your family.
Going back to my friend Melba, although her lifestyle appears alluring, I have stopped envying her, as the reality is gritty hard work with a high price tag. I didn’t want to be exhausted or leave my tiny baby five days a week. Friends like Melba need my support and I need not to feel undermined but rejoice in my own decision to be at home.
Just because mothers have the right to work and no longer automatically remain at home does not mean that society should frown on those who choose to stay at home. I am not against mothers being in the workplace, but rather it is about having a real choice. The feminist revolution has achieved so much for women, but don’t allow it to remove your right to mother your own children if you wish to. It used to be a traditional role, but now it feels more rebellious to stay at home with your child. If you are pouring time and energy into the next generation, it is just as valuable as working outside the home. Hold your head up high stay-at-home mums!
This is part of a series of considering the positive and negative aspects of being at home. Choose the category ‘Why am I a stay-at-home mum?’ to read more in this series.
Image credit: efffective.com