Wednesday, February 13, 2013

work or stay at home?

Today I am dipping my toe into the working mums/stay at homes debate. I know daft beggar!!

I have been fortunate to experience both sides doing various hours when working.  I found out I was pregnant a few days after starting a new job, in a rather well know supermarket. Very fortunately for me they were incredibly understanding, after years of trying I was quite cautious, and there was never a question of me leaving. Back then we were only entitled to 18 weeks maternity and I went back to work, part time, when my eldest was just 11 weeks old.

I worked for a total of 10 years with this supermarket. I had son number 2, and I went back to work when he was just 8 weeks old. I was fortunate that the majority of my hours could be worked around my hubby, and that my mum could fill in the odd hour in between.

After child number 2 and before child number 3 I also had a stint of full time working, still with same supermarket, but in one of their 'express' stores. I will not deny, I found this incredibly hard. Firstly I missed my babies terribly as my hours were very erratic, sometimes I would be starting 6am or I would be starting mid afternoon and getting home after midnight. Add to that, the job was 30 miles away and that I suffered, what I will now admit, flat out bullying from one of the under managers. So it may not have been the hours that was the problem, just the situation in general.

I went back to the small store I was working at originally, and to less hours. My hubby started the full time job he is still in, and again my mum filled in when needed. 

Then one day I just completely broke down........looking back I understand it was my hormones. At the time I just couldn't face going in to work, I cried and cried. My hubby handed in my immediate notice that day.

Within the next couple of weeks I found out that the reason I was so tearful was that: I was in fact 2 months pregnant. My mum went for an operation, which left her unable to give me the help she had, up til this point.

Just like that I became a stay at home mum. I did have the opportunity to go back, just after little A was born, but my manager (and friend) was leaving and the new manager played silly buggers, so I didn't bother.

Of course, little A turned out to be a different shape puzzle piece to other children, and now working is out of the question. If I was to go back to work, hubby would have to quit and we'd be no better off.

So my opinion on the eternal debate is........I don't have one! I have been on both sides of the fence, they both have positives and negatives. I have the utmost respect for mums that work, I'm also a little jealous of the adult company they get to keep.

The one thing I do have an opinion on though is grandparents that help. If you have a child minder the government will help towards costs, but not towards family that do it?! I couldn't leave my child with a child minder as he can bolt if he's upset, how is a childminder supposed to run after him when they are likely to have other children to look after. I know several child minders, and would leave my son in the care of any off them, but I am also very aware that I would have to pay them enough to care for my child alone. Give the parents a chance to subsidise the grandparents, and you would have a lot more working mums.
What's your opinion?

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