To part-time or not to part-time…that is the question

When I met up with a mummy friend recently and mentioned in passing I had started a blog, she demanded to read it straight away and upon reading it, instantly gave me my next blog post – “make the next one about part time working, that is a topic driving me mad!” I knew exactly what she meant the minute she said it.

My friend is going back to work full time. Not because she wants to leave her baby, or because she can’t afford it – she just wants to! She wants to have both, a career and a family, which as we all know is totally doable! She is passionate about her work and also passionate about being a parent, but by going back to work she feels she can pick up where she left off before maternity leave without having to put a strain on their family finances. She is getting exceptionally frustrated with the shocked and disappointed faces when she tells people she wants to work full time! And she is feeling under pressure which is totally wrong.

See, I was in the ‘full time forever’ camp before I had Harry, I didn’t think it would be affordable or realistic for me to go part time and I really didn’t think I would want to. So when various friends and family members looked at me with shock and confusion when I answered the dreaded “are you going part time?” question, I felt crushed. I felt like a bad parent, and why? Because I needed to work to provide for my family. People would say “but you waited so long for Harry, don’t you want to work part time?” It just didn’t feel like I had a choice.

After lots of sums, and thankfully a very flexible boss, it worked out that I could drop a day so once a week Harry and I have a day together. Yes we will have to tighten our belts but I’m delighted that it is working out the way we would like. But I still get asked why I don’t drop more days! You can’t win.

Although I’ve made this choice, I still feel very strongly that I want to have a career. I want Harry to know I worked hard to provide for him. Both Ben and I want to take him to lots of lovely places and working will allow us to do that. I don’t know if I will do it forever or just for a year but I’m grateful to be able to do it at all.

My friends that are going back to work full time after having children (whether that be by choice or by necessity) – I think they are amazing. It doesn’t make them any less of a parent; their children will be able to see an amazing work ethic within their family and their weekends will be so precious, packed full of fun activities and bursting with laughter.

In short, if you are a stay at home parent, a part time working parent or a full time working parent, you are still a PARENT! You are a mother or a father who is everything to your precious bundle. You provide for your family however you need to and you are free to make your own choices without judgement, without a cocked eyebrow and without comment! As far as I’m concerned you deserve a pat on the back.

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2 Replies to “To part-time or not to part-time…that is the question”

  1. This post really got me thinking – I used to be on the “full time” camp as well. In fact, growing up, I used to think that I could perhaps be the career woman and breadwinner, and I could have my potential partner be the stay at home dad. Which is funny because my husband is really more than happy to do that. But then I had my first son, and a lump formed in my throat, and I took it back. Not because there is anything wrong with full time work, but because I realised that I didn’t want to leave my baby at home. And also partly because in the job I was in, I would have to be at work 8.30 to 5.30 (and some days I had to stay back late as well) 5 days a week. I wouldn’t be able to be at home to cook my family dinner every night (not that I even do that now), bathe my kids, put them to bed, etc. Whereas my hubby is a high school teacher, so some days he’s home by 4pm and he has school holidays – and we both earned about the same at that time. And so I made that decision, and now I’m sort of doing a bit of part time work but nothing much at all. It is a luxury, but also a sacrifice in the sense that we are setting ourselves back financially by doing this. But hubby doesn’t want me to go back to full time work (in fact he says 2 days is plenty, which is what I used to do before going on mat leave) so I respect that. That’s my situation anyway and it currently is the way we’re going, and we are happy for the time being.

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