Can Mums Have It All?
This is the big question loads of people spend hours, days and months talking about. Why on earth are they talking about something so ridiculous and wasting so much time on it I don’t know, but I’m now going to add my twopennyworth.
NO Mums can’t have it all.
Because NO ONE can ‘HAVE IT ALL’
There is a price/cost for everything we deem ‘good’.
There is always a trade-off.
Anyone who encourages Mums to work full time without explaining the downsides so that they can prepare for them is irresponsible.
The same goes for anyone who doesn’t explain to stay at home or work from home Mums that it’s not going to be the perfect picture of heaven that you imagined.
None of the options are ‘better’ than the others.
If you work full-time, you won’t see your kids as much as you would if you were staying at home and the guilt is tough, along with juggling holidays and sickness and it can affect some parts of your relationship with them (e.g. sharing them with the nanny can be hard).
If you are a stay at home mum, you won’t have the same amount of money as you would have done working full time (unless child-care costs more than you would earn!), and it can be harder on your self-esteem and sense of independence.
If you decide to work from home on your own business, you will likely pay for the freedom to do school pick ups by never getting a lunch break or go to the gym and look back on reliable wage packets with wistfulness.
You can’t work full-time, do all the housework and chores, and not end up knackered if you don’t get some help.
If you ask the grand-parents to help, they will likely expect a say in your life and become too involved; but it’s cheaper than paying for it.
Even being married to a footballer won’t give you it all; they will either have big ears, a funny voice, or be sh*gging everyone else.
Try being married to a high powered banker instead; bet they have a downside too, probably that they are over-controlling and you can’t tell friends what your husband does.
Be high powered yourself, but you’ll need to be really good at interviewing and managing cleaners and nannies; not as easy as it sounds.
Eat everything you want, and you’ll become huge and be really unhealthy.
Drink alcohol constantly and wreck your liver and likely get a very red nose.
You won’t earn as much money stacking shelves as being an accountant or doctor.
But, ironically, the better paid you are, the longer hours you will probably work.
Not even the kids can actually be perfect (even if you love them unconditionally); No one has perfectly behaved, beautiful, clever, athletic, artistic, musical kids who excel at everything.
We leave our home towns for the best jobs, but then have no family support.
So we turn to twitter for an online community and get addicted!
The big question is;
Which prices are you willing and happy to pay?
The good news is:
You CAN Have what is most important to you.
So decide what your top 3 priorities are so that:
1) You can make sure that you can at least get them
2) You can be contented with what you have.
I love the freedom of being able to work from home and need to work for my sanity. But I’m constantly having to improve my time mgmt to deal with the demands from so many different directions, and I could have earn’t loads more if I’d stayed as a computer programmer, rather than going all tree hugging. We’ve got a great house we can afford, but the price for the affordability is a postage stamp garden. I have the lovely Nanny Bets helping me out with childcare, but she is 74, so she is often unreliable, so I’m now going to split it between her and a more expensive nursery. Then I’ll have reliable childcare, but also the worry about paying for it. I don’t have parents sticking their nose in my life and causing havoc, but I also don’t have someone to call on the best/worst days. There are lots of compromises in my life, as in everyones.
And ignore all that rubbish about ‘Mums having it all’. They don’t.
They either have worked out what is most important to them and focussed on that, whilst ignoring the rest. Or they are struggling to ‘have it all’ and hiding all the emotional/mental fall out behind a mask of valium/wine.
oooh grump over; that feels better!
What is most important to you, what did you give up for it? Are you happy with the balance right now, or is it not working for you?
p.s. reading these posts from the Bearded Iris (very funny) and Claire Macnaughton, both on In the powder room were some of the inspiration to get writing about this at last!