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Would I be a bad mother if I increased my working hours?

Discussion in 'Parenting' started by mrsfabmoretti, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. Hiya,
    LO is nearly 2 and I've been working 0.6 (three days) since going back after maternity leave. When I originally went to 0.6, I was a mainscale teacher. Since then, I've had two promotions and now have more responsibility at school, which I'm really enjoying. However, I am finding it difficult to fit it all in to three days, and would like to increase my working hours to 0.8 (across four days). I'd also prefer to have fewer split classes, and to be more 'in the loop' at work. Financially, it's not a necessity that I work four days.
    LO currently goes to my mum for two days and MIL for one day. OH and I have been considering starting him at a nursery anyway, for the social skills, wider range of activities, etc. We've noticed that he's not very good at playing independently, so this could help too. If I went 0.8, then LO would start nursery for a half day (as OH finishes early on the day he'd be in nursery).
    On the days off I have with my LO, I spend a lot of time keeping on top of the housework, as well as spending time with him. Hopefully, if I went 0.8, then we'd get a cleaner for a few hours, so I could focus more of my time off with LO.
    It all seemed to make sense to me and OH, until I mentioned it to my parents. They are currently not speaking to me, after calling me selfish and saying that I'm choosing my career over my son. They don't seem to understand, as my mum has never had to work.
    I'm now torn and wondering if I should be spending the extra time with LO, rather than being at work. Also, should I be waiting until LO is at school before trying to pursue my career- which is my parent's argument. We do want another child, but not for a few years yet.
    I do realise that I am fortunate to be in a position where I can work part time, and whereby my family can help with childcare.
    Please help- I'd love to hear your opinions on this.
  2. My opinion is that if you were a man you would be congratulated for being 'hard working' but because you are a woman you are accused of being 'selfish'. If you were a SAHM someone would criticise you for that too. Women just cannot win I think. My mother never worked again after having me but I just could not live like that and thankfully by the time I had my daughter she properly understood. Stay at home mums dont all want to not work anyway, its circumstance very often. You have to do what is right for you and your family and take no notice of other people.
  3. all_heart

    all_heart New commenter

    Our Mums are from a different generation where wives stayed at home and 'played house'. It's unfair the word selfish was used but don't listen to that, their generation know no better. I have to go back full time for financial reasons and my in-law is always having a go at me about it (I have to bite my tongue to not say 'if you encouraged your own children more he might have stayed at school, got a better job and earned more money!') My LO is going to a nursery for 1 day a week for the same reasons, social skills they are so important.
    Only you, as Mum, knows best, follow your instincts and remember nothing is every set in stone for life, if it doesn't work, look into decreasing your hours again.
  4. My mum thinks I'm odd for continuing to take LO to nursery during the holidays - 'why don't you have her home with you?' is what she's always saying. She doesn't quite understand that to disrupt her routine would be more detrimental, I can have some much-needed time to myself (LO only goes 2.5 days a week so not full time).
    As someone said, our parents are of a different generation - my mum didn't have to go back to work whereas I'm the main worker in our house.
    Go for it - if you're stressed out at school because you're trying to cram in so much into 3 days, ease the pressure a little by doing another day and the time you have with LO will be quality, rather than the mounting 'I've got so much to do at school' mentality.
    Hope that helps!
  5. Thanks for the replies- it's made me feel better to hear from other working mums. It's not a decision I've taken lightly, but my parents have really made me doubt myself. The frustrating thing is that my dad has always pushed me through school and further education, but now doesn't seem to see my career as being important. They're also forgetting that teaching is quite a family-friendly profession, in terms of holidays, etc.
    Would be so much easier to be a man- sigh!!
  6. I feel for you having to put up with this criticism from your parents; I always think that stings like no other form of put down! I went from 4-5 days when my first was 1 (she's same age as yours now), in very similar circumstances to you - promotion and a squeeze to do it all. I missed my day off with her, but found work easier so was less stressed.
    I remember my dad saying about going back in the first place it was a choice I had to make - well no, it's not really nowadays! You need to be fairly well off to survive on one wage - my husband earns about £40k and we still use most of my wage. Most of OHs family don't work and survive on benefits, so I'd never take any notice of any criticism there!
    I've just had number 2 and will go back f/t. They'll only go to nursery a couple of days a week, but I believe it does kids a lot of good actually, in a social sense.
  7. Oh Mrs Fab you're a lovely mum and your parents should be proud of you - they hopefully will be once things have resettled and your family is all ticking along in a new groove.
    I think what you are saying makes PERFECT sense.
    I am not working because of circumstance (had to choose no job or applying for new full time job further from home) and I will miss it very much whilst I am a sahm. That's why I'm having baby 2 a couple of years earlier than I had originally wished to - so that I have some maternity allowance and that I am not out of the workplace for 4/5 or more years.
    Nursery will do your boy good - although don't expect it to be a walk in the park. He may settle brilliantly or it may take some time. Even if it takes time and causes some distress to you and him at first that doesn't mean it is harmful - but the age he is at means it will be a big change for him. My only 'advice' here is that one half day is not enough. This comes from someone who tried half a day a week this term and it was a disaster. I couldn't afford more (it was a squeeze on one salary anyway) but from next term she is going 2 afternoons a week to a new nursery (paid for with my maternity allowance). The nurseries and the staff and friends with older kids AND a friend who is a grandma, a surestart play worker, former nursery manager sat me down when I was upset this term and said.... "I don't want to overstep the mark but I can see you and she are struggling... one session is just not enough for a little one - they forget they have fun so every time is a big wrench. If you'd come to my nursery and asked for one session I'd have had to turn you away - it just doesn't work"
    But no, I absolutely don't think you are selfish or a bad mum. Also, you ARE A PERSON IN YOUR OWN RIGHT and our wants, needs and futures need to be balanced into every equation. I love my daughter and my bump and would go to the ends of the earth but I need to be me, I won't be non-working for years (it's just not how I want my life to be) and I also am putting her in nursery to get some 'me time' (and to be one on one with number 2 once it arrives) despite not having to because I'm not working.
  8. This may sound odd, but are you sure your parents reaction isn't to do with the fact that they are having LO at the moment while you 'choose' to work? I only ask because I am in a similar position, you may have seen my thread about my hours being reduced but I'll still need to be in school for part of 3 days.
    We were really relying on my Mum to provide childcare and stupidly assumed that once she started she'd be ok to carry on. After telling us she wouldn't be able to have LO for a certain amount of time following an op, the situation has now changed. Her op has been postponed but much to our surprise we have found that she doesn't want to resume her babysitting! It is absolutely her right to do whatever she chooses with her free time and her and LO have a great time and a great relationship, however it would seem she is struggling physically to look after a very heavy and not very cooperative toddler!
    My LO is lucky to have been able to spend so much time with her granny and we are lucky to have had so much free childcare. If it wasn't for her op forcing the issue, we may never have discovered that it was all too much. We are now a bit stuck but will work something out. Maybe worth checking with your parents that they are still happy with your arrangement and not simmering with resentment?
  9. [​IMG] Aw, thank you.
    I have been very suprised by their reaction, and feel a bit betrayed. It's one thing to express disapproval, but another to attack someone's parenting. I just wish they'd be more supportive of my decision, but I suppose in their minds, they are doing what (they think) is best for LO.
    Spoke to MIL about it yesterday and she is very supportive, and has offered to pick LO up from nursery to help out, as we are considering a full day now. To be honest, I think we might start him in January. If he settles, then I'll start four days. Didn't actually consider that he might not love it, at first! I'm lucky in that work have said that if I increase my days, I can do it when I feel ready to.
    I didn't actually consider that my parents might not be okay with the current situation, no. About four months ago, when I mentioned putting LO in to nursery for a day (meaning my mum would have him one day less), she seemed quite put out, as didn't want to cut the time she spent with LO. But things change. Think I need to speak to them again- perhaps with OH there for moral support- as it's been brushed under the carpet for now.
    Thank you for all your helpful replies. xx
  10. Mossop, glad that your LO is loving nursery! I should've said that many children find one session not enough and that many people have said this to me. So not that it is inevitable that one session a week isn't enough but that perhaps it can't be assumed to be. I had thought mine would love nursery and it surprised me that it wasn't working out - especially as she'd never once ever cried being left at the childminders 3 days per week for a year. Maybe it'd have been different if she'd been going from a bit younger, who knows?!
    Connected to that, I think it would have been worse for her to be there all day for one day - 2 sessions on different days is what people have suggested to me.
    I am about to embark on all this in january, though - not sure how it'll go! Maybe she'll still be upset with 2 sessions... will have to wait and see!

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