#whatwouldyoudo? To work or not to work?

Not to work, duh! Ok so I know many of you probably scoff at that question and there was a time when I would have too. However, it’s all very well choosing the ‘not to work’ option – if you have plenty of money to buy boats and shoes to play with all day but what do you do when your maternity (or paternity) leave is about to end (and therefore pay) and you have the very real decision to face of whether you should or should not return to work. For many necessity is the key motivator for returning to work, for others it is the desire to have a bit of adult time, a career, a passion. Whatever the reason it is a decision that my mummy friends and I have agonised over – and I am sure we’re not the only ones. 

I am currently on my second leave spell of maternity leave, I didn’t go back to work after my first period of maternity leave but only because my second child was born before it ended! My job is still there and my second bout of maternity leave is due to end next July so I have some 7 months to go yet. With two little ones with 11 months between them everybody assumes that I will not be going back to work! Truth be told not going back to work never really seemed like a option however the more I think about it the more I realise that actually it is not an unfair assumption to make. 

With childcare costs being at an all time high it is not uncommon for it to make more financial sense to stay at home with your children and I can certainly see the attraction to this. Your children are after all only young once and avoiding the gruelling commute and the long hours out of the house to spend the day watching your children grow and experience the world strikes me as a pretty good trade off. Day trips and play dates will not be reserved for weekends you get to hear all the toddler funnies first hand and be there when the baby first crawls. Neither do you have to fight the rest of the work place for christmas with your children or beg borrow and steal to make the school play or to stay at home when they’re sick.

That being said there are days when my one year old is having a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her climb the kitchen tops and rummage through the cupboards and the baby is crying because he wants a cuddle, the washing has finished and dinner is burning and I think about my colleagues sat at their desk drinking their hot coffees and having two way conversations and I long to be part of that world again. A world where I wasn’t covered in snot, vomit or wee, where nobody threw food at me and where people listened to what I had to say because it was sensible and didn’t just walk off dragging the plastic dog behind them. A world with business trips and client dinners and wine with lunch – a world I moaned about when I was in it. 

But it’s not just the here and now that plays on my mind, In fact the thing I find the hardest to reason with is what about the long term? After all, they are only young once! What happens when your children are at pre school then school and then going to their friends for dinner/the night and their reliance on you slowly decreases. You’ve walked away from a promising career to be with your children and then they don’t need to be with you. What do you do then? Return to work when the working world as you know it has changed so much and what career standing you had has been taken by your juniors? How do you then fill your days that were once spent running after all consuming babies? And what about your financial independence? Your pension? I can’t even begin contemplating how I would deal with that one, or lack of. 

  
Truth be told I don’t know what to do for the best. To my mind the decision is by no means straight forward and I can see the pros and cons to each option. I miss work (sometimes) and I know I would miss my children (most of the time). I don’t know if I am too risk adverse to take such a long time out of my career and I don’t know that I could not maintain some form of financial independence. BUT and its a big but if I were offered the chance to spend everyday with my children would I want to turn that down either? I just don’t know. Perhaps there is a happy medium in working part time. Perhaps you have to try it to see. Perhaps the grass just always looks greener, I don’t know. What would you do? If you weren’t ruled by necessity what would you do? 

Mummuddlingthrough

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52 thoughts on “#whatwouldyoudo? To work or not to work?

  1. If I could make a decision based on exactly what I wanted and not on financial necessity, I’d stay at home with my boys. Everytime. So I’m glad the cost of childcare for twins would wipe out my salary because it’s forced my hand and means there is no choice! Also, after 9 yrs in banking, I’ve just been made redundant so really no choice! I’m a little scared of what the financial future holds but at the minute we’re trying to work out how to get by on one salary… I hope you can reach a decision you’re happy with. Sx

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    1. Ah thank you. Like you the cost of two in nursery almost makes my return to work worthless…literally. It’s just having the guts to pull out I think! If I won the lottery tomorrow the decision would be simple. But until that happens I think I’ll have a few more sleepless nights pondering my future. Enjoy your time with your boys and I am sure the rest will work itself out 😊 xx

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  2. I have two children… I have worked on and off… It depends on you as an individual… I love my children unconditionally, having tried the best of both worlds (stay at home single mum and single working mum)… What works best for me is work… My children do not have any cousins or friends outside of childcare (massive bonus to their delelopment)… I find myself so stressed when I’m at home 24/7 with them, I don’t appreciate them as they deserve… I’d be doing house work continuously cleaning after them and not having money to go out nice places they enjoy… Returning to work was the best decision, I value my time with them, as they do me, more than before. I have the money to go nice places with them, my household chores are less as we’re not in the house all of the time. My children have made friends and have benefited from a routine stricter than I could have given at home. I miss them so much in the day (missing someone you love is not a bad thing!)… At one point I thought it was… I quite my job!! I was so excited about being with them again all of the time… You know what they did? They cried and cried and begged to go back to childcare!!! So I got my job back and they went back to childcare!… Things have changed slightly though.. I’m now self employed and they don’t do as long hours in childcare as previously (8am-6pm)… But… No child is the same… No parent is the same… Our opinions may help you, but please trust yourself and your own heart and your children! Xxxxxxx

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    1. Oh thank you so much for your honesty in your comment. I’m glad you’ve found something that works for all of you and you’re right what is right for one isn’t for everyone and it may take a while to get there but hearing other people’s reasoning or decision can be comforting, I guess to know we all go through the same thing. Being self employed must certainly have its perks when it comes to the little ones, I know it’s not all plain sailing but the flexibility must be a good help. Thank you again xx

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  3. This post rings so many bells. I had never contemplated giving up work but was made redundant on Mat leave #2. My decision was more whether to look for another job, or not. I wrote a post about it too. For now I’m still at home, and haven’t had any inclination to be anywhere else. Maybe not forever, but certainly for now x x thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

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    1. I have just read your post deliberating your options, it’s hard knowing what to do for the best and I can see you toyed with all the options but it’s nice to know you’re happy with the outcome and it’s all worked out x

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  4. We are told that women today can have it all – well we can’t. There are only so many hours in the day. You have a choice – go back to your career and juggle family life and the boss, stay at home and miss your job, or try some compromise in the middle. I couldn’t go back to my job (too much travelling) so I chose to start a new career and I only had one child. This seems like it was easy but it was not. I had no support network and did it all myself – so when my son was ill he went to work with me! Trust me – there is no easy or perfect solution. If you are going to go back to work then you either have to earn mega bucks or have a family member who will do the childcare. So I had the best of both worlds – and the worst! In my experience, the happiest people are the ones who find a balance in their lives. Find out what your ‘balance’ is and accept the compromise.

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  5. I agree – make a decision on what you want to do and feel is right for everyone, not on finances, which is easier said than done. I have been a full time working mama, a full time at home mama and now, a part time freelance working mama which might not make the most financial sense but means that everybody, including me, is happy. Good luck with the decision lovely and thanks so much for linking to #coolmumclub x

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    1. Thank you for that. You’re right it’s not all about money even if we do feel dictated by it daily. And yes Most importantly it’s what works for the whole family perhaps something I haven’t been considering enough whilst deliberating my options. Thank you so much for your comment and advice – it’s comforting to know that others have found a happy medium that is working well for the whole family xx

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  6. It’s such a hard one! I think there’s a lot of good advice here, and there really is no perfect solution. It’s all about finding the balance that works for you and your family. I decided I wanted to work no more than three days a week when my eldest was 1, but that meant leaving my job as they wouldn’t agree to less than 4. I found a part-time job for 3 days a week, but hated it. I stopped working altogether a couple of years later for health reasons, and just did the odd bit of freelance work. Since my twins arrived I’ve been full-on full-time mum! But financially, and for me, I know I need to get back to work at some point. But until the twins turn 3, childcare costs would be too high. I may try and get a weekend job soon, just for a few extra pennies. And I’m still hoping for what would, for me, be my best outcome – finding a new career that I love and am passionate about which is also flexible enough to do part time and be available for my children. Don’t ask for much, do I! I wish you luck with whatever you decide. Thanks for your post #brilliantblogposts

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    1. Well at least no one can say you haven’t explored your options, and good for you for knowing what you want and sticking to it. I really hope you get it! Thank you so much for your comment xxx

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  7. I Had this deliberation for a long time! I am a Teacher – and I fully intended to go back to work, and then I tried to find childcare and suddenly realised that not only does this cost more than I earn, I couldn’t find a nursery that opened early enough for me to still get to work for 7am! Plus the fact that teaching is so paperwork heavy – I spent every evening and 1.5 days of the weekend working, when would I get to see my child??
    So for now I’m not going back. Instead, I’m doing a bit of nannying part time for a child the same age as Arthur and I take him with me – doing this, along side blogging helps me to keep my brain in work mode a bit more so that I am still using my EYFS skills. I do miss my colleagues though, the laughs and adult chats rather than just all baby/child talk – but having taught reception for the last 5 years I don’t think it was such a massive transition as it would have been if I’d been leaving my previous (office based) career!
    Money is tight but I don’t regret it and o wouldn’t change my decision for the world: he’s only young once. My husband also feels that he can focus on his work guilt free knowing that one of us is giving Arthur the attention he needs . #KCACOLS

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    1. It’s such a hard one to decide on but it sounds like you chose what’s best for you and that’s it’s really working out and the family which is fab! I hope I get to me as happy with my decision when I make it. Thank you for your comment x

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  8. I have a 10.5month old and I went back to work when she was 7 month old. I then decided to leave, the cost of childcare was ridiculous and I got a staff discount. I had the guilt of working in a nursery and sending my child to someone else to be looked after. Fortunately I had a very supportive partner who supports my decision. Sure I might be a little bit tighter on the old purse strings but I’m happier than ever #KCACOLS

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    1. Yeah I bet that’s hard working in a nursery and looking after other people’s children and putting yours in childcare too. Glad you’re happy with ur decision though and that it’s working well for you and your family. Thank you for your comment xx

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  9. Gosh it’s a tough decision. I had my own business and I wasn’t able to continue after I had my daughter as I didn’t earn enough for childcare. I loved being at home with her but in hindsight it would have been nice and made me feel better if I knew there was something for me too. I was lucky that I didn’t have to work but I also think it would have been nice to have had a bit more purpose. Now, I’m very happy working part-time and doing my own thing and I feel glad that I am around for school drops and picks and some of the holidays. I think whatever decision feels right for you is the one to go with. Everyone is different. I was always financially independent and that’s a tough one. Good luck with your decision.

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    1. Thank you for your comment, I’m glad you have found a nice balance that works for you. Yeah the finance side plays a big part in the decision and I guess I won’t know till I try, but it’s been great hearing from so many mums who’ve gone through the same decision process, thank you for sharing, I really appreciate it x

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  10. I’ve just had our second child so this is going to be a very real situation for us next year…and I don’t know what I’m going to do. If money was no object, I’d stay home but still put the kids in nursery a few days a week so I could have a break, lol! 😀
    I’d love to know what you end up deciding to do.
    #KCACOLS

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    1. Haha wouldn’t that be a dream think of all the things you’d get done in those couple of days! And oh so relaxing. I still don’t feel too much the wiser I keep leaning toward different options daily…hourly depends how hard my day is lol! Watch this space, no doubt I’ll blog about it again when the time comes. Good luck with your decision when it comes around!

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  11. This is a very hard decision and for all of the reasons you mentioned. I tried the stay-at-home mom thing when my oldest was a baby but it didn’t stick because I felt too isolated so I went back to college and started working part-time. Eventually, I got a full-time job though and between the stress of the job, the commute that didn’t get me home until the kids were ready for bed, and the missing my kids so much, I am now at home but being home is a stressor too because I need to work. Society doesn’t make it any easier for parents to spend more time with their kids vs. working all of the time just to make ends meet. You have a tough decision ahead of you but my best advice is to go with your gut and do what you feel is best. Visiting from #abitofeverything

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    1. It’s so tough isn’t it, but no one can say you haven’t explored your options. I hope you end up finding the right balance for you. Thank you so much for your comment, you’re right following your gut is usually the best thing to do!

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  12. It is such a difficult decision but I am sure you will end up making the right one for you. I have 4 children and work part time (3 days a week). I would have hated to work full time but felt like I needed to keep my work options open and even the little bit of extra money helps. I also think my children benefit from the mixed week that they have. I suppose in an ideal world I would have stayed at home full time. Hope you soon feel happy with the choice you make 🙂 #abitofeverything

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    1. Wow 4 children and you work, I take my hat of to you. I sometimes feel going to work would be my rest day and I only have 2 lol. I’m glad you have a situation that works for you and your family and thank you so much for your comment 😊

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  13. I would not suggest going back to work fulltime, it’s too much even with one kid to look after. I think part time is best. You need to get a bit of free space away from the kids for a while and I suppose it makes you feel less worthless. However money is the problem, I’m a single parent with a 7 year old and an 9 month old and they have been hassling me to get a job since my youngest son was born, I was working right up until he was born but had to give it up as I didn’t know what my situation was going to be like. Thankfully I did because my son is a nightmare I barely get a wink of sleep and I’m definetly not any use to an employer with a brain like this! Working would wipe out my wage with childcare alone never mind rent, council tax and council tax arrears. I would LOVE to go back to work part time but there is no chance I’m leaving my youngest son to go out and work to pay someone else to look after him, it’s all very stupid. They keep saying yes your definetly better off working, then that extra money you make your paying hundreds to childcare, I’d rather not thanks!
    #abitofeverything
    Pauline x

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    1. Oh tell me about it when my first one was under 1 she was a horrible sleeper, not a chance I could of done my job then. How mums used to have to go back to work after 6 weeks before they changed mat leave is just beyond me. And yes your right the cost of childcare can actually makes mums worse off, it’s not much of an incentive for getting people back into the work place, if Anything it keeps more people out of work. I hope you can find an outcome that gives you the balance you need and in the mean time enjoy being with your little fella. Thanks for your comment 😊 x

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  14. love this post as it really resonates with me.. I have always worked. It is part of me. I need my own space to be in a professional sense. I have always known that which after reading your posts makes me feel good as I dont seem to know what the hell I am doing or thinking about any other kind of parenting thing! I would only ever work part time though I think unless my husband was willing to do the childcare thing. I find I am a much better mum when I have had a break to be me without kids. It gives me the headspace I need

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    1. I’m glad you liked it. Yes I’m hoping part time could give you the best of both worlds not to mention a bit of income and your foot in the door. Like you say you feel a better mum and you still have some me time. I know I really appreciate getting my kids back and being with them after they’ve been out with nanny for the day and it definitely appreciated the me time!!! I’m glad you’ve got a good balance going and it’s working for you – there is hope for me yet! Thank you.

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  15. It’s a very hard decision to make isn’t it,and only one you can make. I know exactly what you mean though as I too sometimes miss working. However having said that I would stay at home with my two princesses as long as we could afford to. This time with them is so precious and I want to make the most of it. As for when they are older and don’t need you as much, well you could always do a course or something the possibilities are only as limited as you make them! Good luck with making your decision.xx #KCACOLS

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    1. Ah thank you that’s a great comment with some great advice. I have considered re training when they’re a bit older but that opened a whole new can of worms of what I would then like to do if I were to retrain lol. It’s nice to hear that so many mums have chosen the right path for them and are enjoying their decision – I’m glad you are. Thanks for your comment x

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  16. I have had this dilemma, although, it wasn’t too much of one, I could only go back to work doing more hours than I wanted to and to be honest, I could not imagine leaving baby H. I couldn’t imagine why I wanted a stranger looking after her while I gave presentations and played with numbers (ok, and had hot cups of tea!!). However, I’ve found blogging has given me my outlet, and keeps me thinking. You just have to do what makes you happy x
    Thanks for sharing and hope you can link up next week with @withfranca #KCACOLS

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    1. Yes I think we all need some way to blow off steam, whether it’s working for a few days, blogging, or going for a run… Like you say it’s whatever works for you. I’m glad you have made a decision that you are happy with. It gives me hope! Thanks for your comment xx

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  17. When my second child was born I knew I would have to go back to work fairly soon after his birth due to financial pressures, but even if that hadnt been an issue I would have wanted to work. After the birth of my first son I developed bad PND, i felt I had lost all my own identity and had instead just become an extension of my baby. I loved him totally, but it was hard. I didnt really begin to feel better until I started working when my first started school. So when I fell pregnant again, the fear of returning to that place was very real. As it was it worked out, I worked part time and had plenty of time to be mum as well.
    Thanks for linking up with us, Tracey xx #abitofeverything

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    1. Ah sorry sent it to soon! Clumsy fingers.

      …. Working is clearly a benefit for you in more ways than one and Its great you were able to identify that and find a balance that works for you and your family. Thank you for comment x

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  18. Unfortunately I’ve had to work part-time out of necessity. While it’s great being able to interact with other adults and try new things, I look forward to the day when I can be a SAHM again. #abitofeverything

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  19. Oh, that is such a hard decision, isn’t it? I have always worked, out of necessity, of course. But if I had a choice, I would stay home with the children when they are still really young and then work part-time when they are a bit more independent. There has to be a balance like you say, but it has to be a balance that works for your family. I enjoy both working and being with my children and I don’t know if I’ll ever have the answer to that question. It varies on the day LOL. Good luck to you!

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    1. Oh god that’s such a good point what’s right the one day won’t necessarily be right the next..perhaps there is no perfect answer to this question! Uh oh. Like you say it’s what works best for you and your family and that’s perhaps as close to the right decision as we’ll get! 😊. Thanks for your comment xx

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  20. There’s so much to think about isn’t there? I was supposed to go back to work after 4 months (we get 12 weeks paid in NZ), because it was a financial necessity. My husband got a transfer with his company to a more affordable city and we downsized our mortgage so that I could stay home longer. It was a big step to make but I don’t regret it at all. I love being home with my boy and now I’ve got time to think about what I really want to do career-wise. Unlike you I didn’t love my old job which made it easier to choose!

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    1. Oh wow 12 weeks I don’t think we should moan about our 9 months! Reduced pay admittedly but still pay. Must be tough going back to work then, my little one still didn’t sleep more than 2 hours in any one stretch by that point! That certainly does sound like a big step but it’s so good to hear your happy with it and it was the right decision, good on you for taking that step! X

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