Sunday, 3 April 2011

Working Mum vs stay at home working Mum - the eternal dilemma

I've been thinking more about the whole returning to work after a baby issue, trying to figure out why I'm so deeply affected by it all - feeling absolutely that I NEED to get back to work, but also feeling horribly guilty and sad that soon, a large part of my son's care will be done by someone other than me.

The other day, when I was having a bit of a crisis about whether I could find decent childcare to fit around my new job, my husband said, as he has done several times before "Well, we could always swap. You work full time, and I'll look after our boy." He and I both know this is not an option. Firstly, he earns a lot more than me, and secondly, if he took time off work, he'd run out of currency and struggle to ever get a flying job again. When he says this sort of thing I always feel somehow belittled, because it's like he's saying to me  - there's no option, there really isn't a choice. This is how it is. You're a woman, I'm a man. You look after the boy, I provide.

I know this isn't what he means. I think he's just trying to point out how keen he would be to trade places with me. I know I'm lucky to be able to spend so much time with our son. He's tremendously precious.

Still, though, I can't imagine a future where the only job I have in life is as a Mum. Before having my son last year, I worked in an admittedly rather stressful job that I'd spent years working towards. My career was very important to me, in fact to some extent it defined me. Coming out to the Middle East and leaving my previous job behind was a bit of a wrench, but then having my son made my realise my ability to pursue my career was severely compromised, and I believe now that played a large part in my post-natal depression.

So, back to my working dilemma. For now, I've decided to pursue more part-time jobs that I can fit around my husband's schedule until our son goes to nursery in September. After all, this time of his life is precious, and I know I'll regret it if I don't spend as much time as I can with him now. Part-time will at least mean I'm contributing to the family finances, something I really want to do. As much as I know we share money as a family, I still can't quite get used to spending money on, say, some shoes, when I didn't earn it myself. It's a pride thing. And I know a bit more money in the family pot would take the pressure off my husband, too.

Oh, Mummy guilt. I'm told it never ends...

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