to want to accept amazing job opportunity without being judged for "deserting" ; my three children.

(558 Posts)
Shreddiez Wed 30-Apr-14 09:32:19

I have three children aged 8, 5 and 1. I have always worked a 3 or 4 day week since having them. DH works full time and travels quite a bit. We have no family help but we do have a live-in nanny.

I have been offered an amazing job. An opportunity like this will never come-up again: fascinating work, good money, chance to make a real difference.

The new job would mean a lot of travel and when home I'd hardly see the kids Mon-Thurs, by hardly I mean maybe 20 mins in the morn. But I'd usually be home all day Fridays and I would get nine whole weeks leave a year that I could take over school holidays.

I intend to accept the job but am shocked by people's reactions. A friend referred to me deserting my kids, my MiL (who NEVER helps with the kids) keeps making veiled references to how sad it all is, even the nanny keeps joking how the one year old will think she is the mother.

Is it normal to suffer such passive aggression for wanting to work? Is it so bad to be out of the house 4 days out of 7 if you know you can be fully present and involved for the other three days? Doesn't nine weeks leave actual mean I will see the kids as much as someone who works three days if averaged over a year? And why do I have to justify this? Why can't people celebrate my efforts to do well at work and at motherhood? I feel so judged and its making me second guess myself and my choices.

As a WOHM I too am eternally grateful to the SAHMs. To give that some context, it is an independent school, so less volunteering involved, but there have been several occasions when I couldn't be there , nor DH, or the GPs, and it was OK for my DC because "X's mum" was watching for me, and told me, in front of the DC, how well they had done. It is a measure of the niceness of DD's best friend's mother that she also told me how her DD wanted me as a Mummy (because I bake and make stuff). That sort of comment makes me feel immeasurably better when DD wishes I could be more like friend's mother who is "always there". The grass is always greener, and all that.

The SAHMs who invite my DC for playdates with full knowledge that we probably can't reciprocate also earn my undying gratitude and any time I can help, with lifts to parties and the like, I will.

Much of this is, however, irrelevant to the OP, given that they have a FT nanny.

TheWordFactory Sat 03-May-14 09:56:17

I'm a working mum and I always volunteer because my work is flexible. I even volunterred for years at a school where my DC didn't attend because none of the parents there would, irrespective of their working lives.

janey68 Sat 03-May-14 10:29:08

Surely the suggestion that no parents should be allowed to volunteer or attend school events is a joke?!!

As a WOHP I have taken time off (as has DH) to attend really special events but you just accept that you're not going to be there for every single occasion. Some primary schools have weekly assemblies to which parents are invited, which is overkill IMO but tbh my children wouldn't have wanted me there all the time.

As for volunteering in the classroom- not my bag, but I can see that it must be hugely helpful to schools and for the children who need extra support. Does make me cross though that the funding isn't there to pay professionals to do it.

I did a long stint on the PTA and dh was a governor while the children were at primary, and of course we supported any fundraising projects... Being supportive comes in all forms and IME as I said unthread, while my children were in a village school, it tended to be WOHP who were the movers and shakers. Slightly off topic but a lot of the villagers who were proactive in the community tended to be incomers who'd moved to the area for work. Obviously there were exceptions, but I do think its a bit of a myth that its only people who have masses of time on their hands who are able to support in the community. I think it's more a mindset thing. If you are a proactive person who wants to get stuck in, you'll find the time and energy to do so, whereas if you're not, you could have all the time in the world but will always expect that famous "someone else" to do it.
Equally, being a supportive and involved parent is a mindset, and to do with personal values; it's certainly not to do with whether you work or not.

JadedAngel Sat 03-May-14 10:50:00

Totally agree it's a mindset thing janey. There's a real mix of parents supporting our village school in different ways. It wouldn't function otherwise. I do what I can around work - PTA, a bit of PR and event organising for fundraising etc. It's the same for most parents here. Some run after-school clubs such as running club or marine-conservation. Others help in the classroom or sit on the board of governors. Some just bake delicious cakes for fundraising and make awesome play costumes. All of value. All much needed. I can't see how you would criticise that.

But I have also once witnessed the 'bored-mum-on-a-power-trip' stereotype alluded to upthread too. Not here in this part of the country, but in a town in the south east (not London) where it was all a bit Stepford-y.

Everyone has different motivations for involvement I guess.

scottishmummy Sat 03-May-14 12:45:46

I do my bit by turning up,paying for superfluous items at fayre,buying cake etc
School need money,fayre raises money
I dont volunteer.as i work ft so its not feasible.don't have the time or inclination

RhondaJean Sat 03-May-14 14:50:00

I was treasurer of the PTA while working full time at my children's previous school. I don't directly volunteer at the school regularly now but I usually man stalls for fetes, send baking and bottles, etc. I'm also on Thr committee of the out of school club which is entirely independent from the school but works very closely with it. I would join the fundraising group but their meetings clash with a previous and long standing commitment of mine.

Does any of that make me a better parent to my daughters though? I don't think so personally.

JadedAngel Sat 03-May-14 16:01:59

I work full-time too (am still bloody working now on an enormous report for the EU!), but I am self-employed so there's an element of flexibility that means I can sometimes attend a PTA meeting at 3.15 on a Wednesday say. A lot of full-time employed parents just wouldn't have that option.

I don't think volunteering or being an active player in the running of the school makes you a better parent, but I can see that having a parent (or two) who are engaged with school life in some way (even if it's just attending sports days, school plays and helping with homework, arranging for your children to have friends round occasionally after school) can be very helpful emotionally and socially for children, giving them a secure home/school relationship and a window for any challenges to be more easily addressed.

Callaird Sun 04-May-14 23:23:57

Captain I was making the point that the two boys I looked after who lost their mum had grown up in to healthy happy young men who have a stable family life of their own.

I was their primary carer, I started work before they woke up and finished after they went to bed most nights (their dad started a new business just before and had to put in long hours to make it work (and possibly to forget that he had lost the love of his life)) I saw them 7 days a week, although I only worked 5, they eldest was just two and for obvious reasons, he couldn't cope with people disappearing for long stretches of time. I left after 4 years because their father met and married again. Growing up they were normal children despite all the shit the poor sods had to deal with in their young life.

In summary, children are adaptable, as long as they are loved and cared for, they really don't care who does it. They know who their parents are and in the end they know that everything their parents did was for their children to have the best that they could offer.

Quality over quantity all the way! If a parent has their children day in, day out, there will be times when they don't have the best day, something breaks down, they need to get the housework done, the children are bored as the parent is busy doing other stuff. Working mothers can sort the break down from work, generally have cleaners who iron and can spend their time off doing fun things with the children. Yes things can break down during the weekend but then there are generally two parents around to spend quality time with the children.

I don't think there is a right way or a wrong way, just a way that works for you as a family.

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