any fulltime working mothers out there?

(37 Posts)
LauraMysak Wed 27-Mar-13 22:41:25

Would like to know if there are any other fulltime working mothers like me out there, especially in the Cambridge area because I don't know of any and I feel that maybe if I did, and I could connect with them and chat about what it's like to be a fulltime working mother, I wouldn't feel so guilty all the time about leaving my 15 month old at a childminders 5 days a week. I would prefer to not have to do this but, the area of work I'm, means that parttime isn't really something that's acceptable. I know I could break away from my specialist area and take a generic parttime job but I don't want to do this because it would most likely not pay as well as my current job and I wouldn't be as happy as I am in my current job (although I want to work parttime I do actually enjoy my everyday work) and I wouldn't want to sacrifice the training I've had to go through to get this job. There are very few jobs in my field and I do feel like I have to hang on to this one. I'll maybe appeal against the decision to not let me go parttime, but I think the only way they'd listen would be if I threatened to leave if they didn't let me go parttime and, without any job lined up to go to, I don't feel I can make this appeal. I'd just like to connect with another fulltime working mother who's maybe had to work fulltime for financial reasons (that's partly why I can't consider parttime, because we need the fulltime salary) or other. Cheers

toosoppyforwords Thu 28-Mar-13 11:32:10

I'm a full time working mum (not in Cambridge though)

My children are now 5 and 6. I returned to work when they were both 6 months old (so had the first, went back to work, then went on maternity again then back to work!)

It's hard. No doubt about it. I remember crying my eyes out the first day back at work as i was distraught about leaving him in a nursery. (even though he loved it and settled in well!)

Its bloody exhausting, and if you're like me you are guilty that you dont spend enough time with your child, and then guilty when you are with them as you aren't giving enough to your job.

The only thing i can say is, go easy on yourself. Do not expect to be perfect at everything. Accept limitations, prioritise everything, and dont beat yourself up.

Also, for me, my sense of guilt re the children eased a little as i can see them growing into very happy, secure, settled, independent people who are doing very well at school.

x

LauraMysak Thu 28-Mar-13 13:06:48

thank you toosoppyforwords. Just to hear that someone else has done it makes me feel better. And your children are happy and well-adjusted so the fulltime care hasn't had an adverse affect on them. My DH actually says he thinks it's having a really positive effect on our son. Did you go back fulltime for financial reasons? Or because you really loved your job?

DeafLeopard Thu 28-Mar-13 13:21:16

I did it when DS was little - was back at work well before he was 6 months old.

It was hard, physically, mentally and the guilt...so much guilt.

I'll give you the flip side too - I got made redundant shortly after returning from mat leave with DD, and we decided that I would be a SAHM.

My DCs are now much older and my career prospects have dwindled to nothing. Our finances have been obliterated by me not working, so everything at the mo is a considered purchase and we often have to say no to stuff the DCs would like. My pension has been at a standstill and DHs is crap, we lost the private healthcare and other benefits and my professional subscriptions have long lapsed. There are so many benefits to working and a lot of downsides that are not immediately obvious.

Nothing more miserable than weeks on end of this horrible weather, stuck at home full time and unable to afford to go anywhere.

tugamommy Thu 28-Mar-13 13:23:48

I work full time and I'm in Cambridge.
I love to work and have my own money and wouldn't have it any other way (well maybe part-time if that was an option). Dd went to nursery full time and Ds is now in nurswry also full time.They're happy and settled and the little guilt I had at the beginning is long gone! smile

tugamommy Thu 28-Mar-13 13:24:21

It's really hard work, and I'm exhausted most of the time, I should add! grin

CMOTDibbler Thu 28-Mar-13 13:35:50

I work FT, and always have. My ds is nearly 7 now, and although it was physically hard when he was under 2 or so, its not nearly so bad now.

Ds seems well adjusted and happy smile

My job isn't the sort that works PT, and I'd have never got it back again if I'd stopped (v specialised). So not much of a choice as I love my job

LauraMysak Thu 28-Mar-13 17:24:27

Thank you for all your responses. I know working fulltime is not ideal for me but it's real life unfortunately and, in order to survive and continue to live in the house we do, I have to continue fulltime. I am trying to do a bit of freelancing on the side with the view that some day I'll be able to make enough from that to work from home so fingers crossed. I do have it good at the mo because at least I have enough money coming in to support the things we need as a family and if anything comes in out of the blue, like car insurance!!! it's not too much of a struggle.

LauraMysak Thu 28-Mar-13 17:27:10

thank you DeafLeopard for sharing with me your situation because you have obviously seen both sides and your insight into how things can turn out has made me realise that jobs can be hard to come by and there are many people struggling to make ends meet because they can't get jobs, so thank you

sauvignonismydrug Thu 28-Mar-13 17:32:24

I work full time, although as a teacher I do get good holidays. The flip side is I usually put in around 50 hours per working week. I've worked since my girls were 5 months, they're now 8 and 3. I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. I have my career and my children, I love picking them up and spending the evening with them but I don't miss them during the day as I am too busy at work.
The benefits for me are that I have maintained my career and that will continue when the girls have left home. I am fulfilled as I do a job I love. The girls love being at their child minders and enjoy the time we spend together. And, of course, with 2 full time wages coming in, we have a good standard of living (which includes being able to provide for my 3 step kids when they come to stay too!)

Mbear Fri 29-Mar-13 19:08:04

I work full time and have 3 yo ds. I'm in the no guilt camp I'm afraid! We need two wages to survive and I felt that x number of years out of work would stand me in no stead for future career prospects.

Also referring back to DeafLeopard's post - another unforeseen aspect is if something were to happen to dh (illness, redundancy, death, affair, leaving etc) I would have nothing, and I don't want that.

Snog Fri 29-Mar-13 19:14:45

I live in Cambridge and work FT, as does my dp. It's a very expensive area to live in.
I have previously worked PT - FT is much much better ime. FT work for me means that I can (finally) start to get ahead financially, but more importantly it allows me to have a fantastic job and to be able to progress my career in a way that just wasn't possible as a part timer.
Embrace your opportunities OP.

nenevomito Fri 29-Mar-13 19:24:16

I'm not in Cambs, but I am a FT working mother. I went back to work when DC1 was 5 months old and when DC2 was 9 months old. We could survive on just my salary, but DH doesn't want to be a SAHD and we couldn't survive on his. I don't feel guilty for working as if either of us should give up, its not me!

Besides, I want my own pension and financial security.

toosoppyforwords Sat 30-Mar-13 22:08:51

I went back in part for financial reasons, in part because i'm professionally educated as and didn't want to feel I had 'wasted' that, in part because I enjoy the independence it provides and also because as much as I love my kids didn't think being a sahm was for me. There are times I wish I was and then times i,'m glad I'm not.
Many children thrive with both parents who work. For me having routine and consistency is key for them, and they dont feel they are missing out as they never known anything different. I genuinely do not feel being in full time nursery has 'harmed' them - quite the reverse actually but of course that only becomes apparent when you are further down the line.
Don't feel as if you are letting them down, more that you are providing for their future.

drjohnsonscat Sat 30-Mar-13 22:20:24

I am a single parent of two young primary age Dcs and I work FT. I love working. Too many reasons to list but I am also at an age where people are facing bereavement, divorce, redundancy. Those of my friends who stopped work are totally stuffed. No one thinks these things will happen to them but they do.

Also guilt. Don't bother with it. I hate hearing "all working mothers feel guilty". Nope. Not at all. My children are loved and cared for and see that work matters. What on earth should I feel guilty about? Not enough time at Tumble Tots?

ratflavouredjelly Sat 30-Mar-13 23:36:04

I work full time - not in Cambs OP. but I identify with all the points you raised. I was 4 days then 3 days when my DS & DD were babes. I took as long as I could mat leave.

I find it really insulting when people question my decision to work full time or insinuate they feel sorry for me. I have no choice - my husband has fucked up majorly on the work front, and is unable to support us. He got into shed loads of debt without telling me & we nearly lost our home due to mortgage arrears.

I took the bull by the horns and thought, "I am going to sort this for the sake of my children's future and my own sanity." I work in education in HE and have pretty good prospects and am turning things around. I think many women are so much more dynamic than people give us credit for. At the moment my OH is doing primary school drop offs/pick ups etc. I wish we could afford a cleaner as he doesn't seem to get the concept of cleaning a house.

He has been out of wrk for nearly a year now and it's been hard but it could b much worse. I consider myself lucky to have a reasonably good job, enjoy challenges it brings. If I stepped off the career ladder I would end up with a gap on my cv and don't ever want to be in a position where I have to work for minimum wage. I feel lucky my children are happy and healthy. I need to be in control of my own money and value my independence. I adore my kids but also need adult conversation and enjoy work challenges. I would prefer to work 4 days but financially that is impossible.

Don't beat yourself up. I think children should see women as role models and bread winners as well. smile

ratflavouredjelly Sat 30-Mar-13 23:38:56

Good shout drjohnsonscat

LauraMysak Sun 31-Mar-13 20:49:05

great replies! I'm soooo glad there are loads of us out there! It gives me great confidence to think that there are plenty of fulltime working mums and it's working for you.
I just read that perhaps children should grow up alongside other children their own age and older and not just in the company of one parent at home because this is how it used to be, ages ago, when children were brought up in the community by other kids and neighbours. So maybe it's not bad my son is going to childminders with lots of other kids. He gets to learn and develop with them and often I think he plays up with me because I'm his mum and he's better with CM.
I feel if I were a SAHM maybe it would be more for my benefit, that I wouldn't miss him so much. I know he needs his mummy but he also needs stimulation from other kids and things outside the home.
I'm working towards getting a balance as I'd love to be able to pick him up from school in the future.

neriberi Tue 02-Apr-13 14:23:15

I'm a full-time working mum to a 2.5 year old boy, I live in Reading and commute to London everyday for work. I applied for flexitime last year and had it refused so I started to look for work locally and even though I had interviews and got offered 2 jobs I declined the offers because the grass is not always greener (as I discovered). Both jobs meant longer hours for less money, even though I would be working nearer home I wouldn't have been home any earlier than I am now. I've considered looking for part time work to fit around motherhood, but because of financial constraints its just not viable so its a case of plodding along and making the most of a naf situation.

I had a hellish year workwise and on a personal level in 2012, after my job hunting experiences I decided that rather than moving from a job I hate to another job I would potentially hate that I should bide my time and really explore my options, so after lots of soul searching, I've decided that ultimately, I want to move out the profession I'm in and re-train but I realise that this is a long term goal so to keep the faith and my sanity I've adopted the mentality that my job is just that, a job, nothing more and nothing less, it pays the bills, its a job that has good points and bad points so I ignore the bad points and focus on the good points. Its a means to an end kinda thing and if I can keep my chin up and grit my teeth a bit longer that I will reap the rewards and be able to re-train!

Being a full-time working mum is exhausting, I'm a terrible sleeper and can never switch my brain off, I'm a natural worrier so I try and plan my life with military precision, I do everything the night before, lunches, clothes out, bag packed etc and make sure my DH does his share. There are jobs I refuse to do like bath my DS (this is DH job) so that I get a magic 5 mins to have a cuppa before I have to read a bedtime story and I always make sure I have a plan B if plan A doesn't work. But if plan A doesn't always work I've learned to accept my limitations and laugh them off, I can't do everything all of the time and will let things like the housework slide, the house won't fall down if I don't bleach the toilet.

But biggest coping mechanism I have is to not think about my DS when I'm at work, which is hard confused I try not to talk about him and instead just focus on doing my job to the best of my abilities otherwise I think I will just crack up! Then 5:30 arrives and I look forward to seeing my excitable toddler and hearing all about his day.

Thurlow Tue 02-Apr-13 21:28:27

Another f/t working mum here to a 15mo. And near you - Cambridgeshire side of Herts. We manage at the moment because DP works shifts - also f/t, but he can do childcare around it so DD is at the CM's about 25 hours a week. Which kind of sucks for DP, really, it's such a long week for him.

Like a lot of mums on here I want to work, I worked hard for my qualifications and I don't want to throw them away. I'm not cut out to be a SAHM. However, I'll be honest and say that working f/t, with a commute in to London, isn't exactly what I want right now. I'd rather do a 4-day week, or be f/t but locally. But my sector has been badly hit by the recession and I'm lucky to still have a job, though they won't even discuss p/t or flexible working. It's also a sector which is based in London, so it was either the commute and a house with a garden in a nice town, or a 2-bed flat with no outside space somewhere miles away from their family. Jobs that I could do with my current qualifications are as rare as hen's teeth around here. So that's it. I know it is the right choice, but I get tired of defending it to some people. Everyone I know around here seems to be a teacher and they've all managed to go p/t grin But it's preferable, financially and for my sanity, to not working, and one day something more convenient will come up.

What I really struggle with, and I'd love to know if other mum's do, is the social aspect of working f/t. It's more complicated by the fact that DP's shifts include weekends, so most weekends he is at work. This is obviously lovely for me and DD (quality time) but I would love to meet up with other mums, have someone to go swimming or to soft play with. We only moved to this area when I was pg so while I have made quite a lot of friends, they all have young DC - and they all have husbands who are off work at the weekend. So they want to do family things. When we do arrange meet-ups, all the DH's come too, which I'll selfishly admit I find a bit tough - the conversation is never as honest as it is when it's just the mums, and I don't have anyone to keep an eye on DD while I gossip. I know that sounds petty but after 6 months back at work I am missing this. It's so difficult to schedule drinks after work with childless friends. It gets a bit lonely, sometimes...

On the plus side, DD absolutely adores her CM and the other mindees, and she has come on leaps and bounds since she started going. And in the long run I know it is right for our family that DP and I both work.

neriberi Wed 03-Apr-13 13:41:17

I moved out of London and back to my home town when I found out I was pregnant, I've been in Reading 2 years now and have really struggled to re-connect with old friends, it doesn't help that I'm so exhausted from my working week that by the time I've caught up with everything house wise (washing / ironing etc) that I haven't got the energy to socialise.

I've tried my hardest to make some new friends and have managed to strike up a couple of friendships with some lovely mums who's DCs get on well with my DS, but I m struggling to find the time to see them because my weekend is spent playing catch-up and they're weekends are the same because they both work too, so everything is scheduled weeks in advance blush but that leaves the time between meet-ups empty so I get lonely, actually I find life as a working mum really lonely.

MortifiedAdams Wed 03-Apr-13 13:47:21

I work FT, in a Hotel so pretty manic shiftwork, but I like to work (although I am ready to look for a new job). DH does office hours so between us she only needs to go a CMs for 3 days or so a week.

It is tiring, but I couldnt be a SAHM. I found that harder. DD is very chatty and sociable (15mo), and I am astounded at what she learns every day, in no small.part due to a fab CM and DH amd I both devoting the hours we can to her. I dont feel guilt at leaving her to go to work - I work to pay the mortgage, give her treats, and to show her that she can have a job and a family if she wants.

We are currently TTC #2 and I will be back at work 8/9months after #2 is born. I may look for a new job once that happens, but wont before then.

tomverlaine Thu 04-Apr-13 15:30:50

Am FT WOHM. Although DP has DS two days a week.
For me it has got easier as DS has got older - he is now nearly three and clearly loves nursery and gets a lot out of it-so now i feel he is benefitting/not suffering.

Xenia Sat 06-Apr-13 16:20:08

Yes, always and with 5 children. Part time can be the worst of all worlds and means you get treated in a sexist way at home, end up a virtual servant and on very little pay. Full time work rules in every sense. Keep at it. You will thank me when you are in your late 50s and still enjoying full time work and on higher pay.

pointythings Sat 06-Apr-13 18:06:02

I've always worked, had to go back when my DDs were just 6 months as mat leave wasn't as long then. And frankly I was grateful, I started getting cabin fever by about 4 months. My DDs are now 10 and 12 and they are sociable, high-achieving, well-behaved girls with no problems whatsoever. If you put them first and put the time in with them at home (bedtime, reading to them, cuddles), your children will do fine and you will have a fulfilling career.

And I think Cherie Blair got a lot of unwarranted flak for saying that it isn't safe to rely on someone else to provide for you - it's a fact. Illness, redundancy and the younger, sexier version of yourself can all happen, you need to be able to fend for yourself.

tribpot Sat 06-Apr-13 18:19:58

Full-time here but fortunately unable to respond to accusations of 'lifestyle choice' - my DH is chronically ill and unable to work, so if I don't work it's not a question of not being able to afford our current house, it's a question of not being able to afford any house.

I'm not criticising anyone who is 'choosing' to work for less black-and-white financial reasons, btw, just never had to deal with the insinuations that I might be making a poor choice for my ds. You know, the same as virtually every working father since the beginning of time!

The social side is very difficult when you've got toddlers. All the social events at weekends (Wacky Warehouse and so on) are set up for older kids, and I remember feeling like the world was set up for school-age children. My ds was not one who played easily around older children either, so he wouldn't enjoy it. So that definitely gets easier, and school gives you access to a circle of working parent peers as well, provided you can either do the school run at one end of the day or the other, or meet people on the pick-up/drop-off.

Snuppeline Sat 06-Apr-13 20:32:57

Another FT mother here. I work because I have to financially and mentally. I'm not cut out for staying at home. But I recognise the guilt... Guilt is part and parcel of life but try to rationalise the feelings with the good you do in providing for your dc.

My dd is now 4,5 and I found the first 2 years the hardest (more illnesses and much more dependent on me). My dd is doing very well also and I don't think she would have been as articulate and well-rounded if I had been at home with her - honest truth! I'm now pregnant with no 2 and am not looking forward to the first year of nursery but know we will get through it.

I also recognise the loneliness. My way around it has been to invite women around to my mine for a meal once in a while. Fingers crossed that too gets better in time!

mummyishere Mon 08-Apr-13 21:39:54

Another f/t mom for a 3 yo and 6 months pregnant. I guess it could be classified as a lifestyle choice since we could live comfortably on DH's salary only but becoming SAHM has never ever been an option. I love my job. I am proud of the effort I have put into my career, and how far I have come. There is no way I'd give that up. Go p/t? Not really possible in my field, at my level, with my salary.

I don't do guilt. No man gets accused of being a bad father for working full time but being home by seven every day and devoting every single weekend to his family. I tell myself what is good enough for dads is good enough for me. I spend three to five hours every day with my son, and every single hour on weekends.

I also agree with Snuppeline that my son would not have developed as fast if he just stayed with me. He spends half a day at an excellent nursery full of interesting programs, playing with kids his age, and the afternoon with a fantastic nanny who is completely devoted to him, and both his parents in the evenings. He'd have much worse company if I stayed home full time (I shudder to imagine him stuck with my cranky self.)

JBrd Tue 09-Apr-13 13:01:16

I'm currently working 80% (in Cambridge), but due to a job and career change, I'm about to go back to full time at the end of the month. DS is 22 months and currently spends 3 full days with a childminder and 2 half days at nursery (which will increase to 2 full days in a few weeks).

I don't feel guilty because he gets so much stimulation from childcare, more than I could ever provide, he is well looked after and very happy. What I feel sad about is that I don't get to spend much time with him! But on the few occasions I did spend more than one day at a time with him at home, I ended up going up the walls, if I'm honest. So I just don't think that I'm cut out to be a SAHM, but at the same time I still regret missing out.

I think you can't win this one. But if you have a job that you like and enjoy, that makes up for it! That is something I have come to realise in the last year - I really have not been enjoying my current job, so much that in spite of all the benefits (flexible hours, part-time work, good salary, lots of holidays, great benefits etc) I have decided to leave and do something I enjoy. It's not been an easy decision, but I don't regret it. Working in a job that you don't enjoy is soul-destroying.

Do you enjoy your current job enough that this could compensate for not going pt? What reasons did your employer give for not letting you? Maybe they would be open for a compromise, i.e. something like not working every other Friday instead of not every Friday? That could also be financially more viable for you. Or work half days? There are many ways to arrange part-time working, but you need to be proactive and get your employer to see the advantages.

bigkidsdidit Tue 09-Apr-13 13:06:05

I am one too and I love my job. LOVE it. Plus, my dad left my mum when she'd been a SAHM for ten years and had no pension or savings; seeing that happen means I will never stop working.

I don't feel guilt. I do shift my hours around so that I pick DS up early every day, and DH works 4 days pw, so he does 28 hours a week, which I like. But really, no guilt. He adores his childminder. I don't see how it is a bad thing; he is cuddled and kissed and played with and chatted to all day long, but by three main caregivers rather than one or two.

AlbertaCampion Tue 09-Apr-13 13:10:00

I had to return at three months, for financial reasons. I cried and cried. I can assure you, it does get easier! My DS is a similar age to yours and tbh, even if I didn't work full-time I would keep him in nursery, at least part-time, as he is as happy there as he is at home.

BeehavingBaby Tue 09-Apr-13 13:29:10

Off with dd3 as she has chicken pox. She cried because she couldn't go to the cm and is staging a buggy sit in, demanding that I take her to the houses of the other mindees. I have no guilt!

Xenia Tue 09-Apr-13 13:30:58

I do think if women could ditch the guilt (which I don't remember particularly feeling although it's always hard prizing a breastfeeding baby off your breast or a toddler clinging to your legs but they do that clinging even if you're at home all day with them and you simply want 2 minutes on the loo without then hanging on) they would find things easier.

In a survey of men and women choosing nurseries for 1 year olds in Scandinavia those men who had been stay at home fathers with the babies were worried about leaving the child and those who had not been were just worried about the quality of the food etc - in other words whatever your gender if you are with someone even an OAP you look after or the carer of one you tend to be more attached whatever your gender.

I don't think if you roll forward 20 years you can with my older children whose mother always worked full time there really is a single difference between them and those of their friends who had a mother at home except those whose mothers worked tend to be able to ensure they graduate debt free or help them buy a property and can have a conversation with work things in common (I just came off the phone to one daughter) - in other words things can be better if you worked full time longer term in all kinds of areas and I see nothing worse. i don't see an absence of love or children going off the rails or anything like that and all these issues are equally ones every father should be asked not just women.

drjohnsonscat Tue 09-Apr-13 14:00:08

Completely agree with Xenia. And lifestyle choice? Hate that. I work FT because I am a single parent so have no choice. But would do anyway because I believe in it, love it, don't want all the risk that goes with being financially dependent. Lifestyle choice my arse. Where I go on holiday is a lifestyle choice, not the fact that I work which is actually just a (happy) fact of life for me.

VeryStressedMum Fri 12-Apr-13 00:36:37

I work FT and hate it!! Not the job or working but being away from the dcs. So much guilt and they would be happier if I was at home especially my youngest who's 6, I would be happier too. But for financial reasons I would not think about giving up my job. I'm lucky to have a relatively secure and we'll paid job when so many people are out of work and trying to make ends meet so I keep telling myself it's better for the dcs that we are financially secure than for me to be at home when they get back from school.

MrsJackAubrey Sat 13-Apr-13 01:28:11

Work Full time mother of 15 yr old twins. Rarely regretted it. Great to not row about money with DH and to know I'm financially independent. My kids are great about it. DD assumes she will work, DS says his choice would be to marry a SAHM not, as he is at pains to explain, because he believes women should stay at home, but because he can see how much simpler life for him would be in that scenario.

I agree about pt work being potentially worst of both worlds. Also you need a DH who doesn't "help you " with the kids and home but takes his bloody fair share without feeling like he is a saint for doing it.

Don't do guilt. Commit to your choice whatever it is or you'll be perpetually dissatisfied

NoWayPedro Tue 16-Apr-13 20:20:56

I'll be going back FT in a couple of months, based in central Cambridge.

I don't need to work and ideally 3-4 days would be good but not an option at my level. I enjoy my job and whilst I know I'll feel guilty and miss DD terribly, I'm thinking long term. It would set me back years career wise to step down or take a break.

I'm lucky in that I live 10-15 mins from work and both my/DPs work are flexible so hope it all works out.

Great to hear from so many super-mums successfully getting on in their careers, either for financial reasons, independence, job enjoyment or just a bit of sanity!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now