Deciding to be a Stay At Home Mum
Since the day we found out I was pregnant I was looking forward to maternity leave. I knew I would just want to stay at home with my tiny little bundle of joy for as long as possible. We saved the whole way through my pregnancy to make sure that I would be able to take the full years maternity.
Like many mums I recently faced the decision about what to do about returning to work. It’s one of the first things people ask you (After “When’s the next one?”). And no matter what your decision is, or what answer you give, you will be met by a variety of responses.
Older generations struggle to see past what was their “norm”. Women used to stay at home and look after the children and the men went out to work. However in this day and age it is much more common for women to return to work either full time or part time. For some this will be for financial reasons, for others they like having their independence or want to pursue their career.
Is there a right or wrong?
Of course not! Why is there now an expectation for women to WANT to return to work? There shouldn’t be such a pressure for women to want to skip back into the office.
Until recently my response has always been, “I will be going back part time”. For some reason this seems to be the most acceptable response?
Why should a woman need to justify HER decision about what she does with HER life? Why are we met with judgement if we decide to focus on our career and provide for our families, or if we decide to stay at home and care for our children?
I have always felt that my vocation in life was to be a mum, despite going to University and always working (sometimes more than 1 job). When people would ask me what I actually wanted to do with my life, I would always say that I just wanted to be a stay at home mum.
I got many different responses to this answer, there was those with a similar mind set or that already had children and understood this. Then there was those that thought it was ridiculous and I had no ambition. People fought for women to have equal rights and be able to work alongside men, so how ridiculous that I would want to conform to stereotypical gender roles.
We have always thought that I would have to return to work for financial reasons…
… so never really considered any other option. We have a mortgage and bills to pay, and now another little mouth to feed. We had planned on me returning to work part-time 2-3 days a week.
However when it came time to planning my return, my employer decided it was no longer feasible for me to reduce my hours and I was left with two options: return full time or hand my notice in.
Me working full time just wasn’t a viable option for us. Not only did I struggle with the idea of being away from Zac for so long, but it just didn’t work with our childcare arrangements. So this meant we had to sit down and seriously look at our situation.
It seemed difficult to find a job which would be the same level of pay and provide the hours that we needed. So we then, for the first time, considered the option of me becoming a stay at home mum.
Just the thought of this made me happy!
So I was determined to find a way to make it work. No it isn’t easy adjusting to only having one income (although maternity pay was like a practice run for this), but it is feasible – just! If you want to stay at home then sit down and look at your finances, we never thought it would be possible (I’m not sure if it will be a permanent thing but for now it works). There are so many ways you can save money which will massively help.
Whether you want to return to work or you want to be a stay at home mum, do what is right for you! Ignore the expectations and judgements.
The main message of this post is just to say that if you feel ready and want to return to work that is fine! If you aren’t ready and would like to be a stay at home mum then that’s fine too! You aren’t breaking some unwritten feminist code just for wanting to be there for your children.
You do what’s right for you!
Thanks for reading