Working Mum - Opinions please

(36 Posts)
karenlovesgloves Mon 12-Sep-16 23:20:00

I don't know if this is the right place to post or what my post is even about, other than a semi rant/moan.

I am a lone parent and have been at home with my children full time, knowing that I'd eventually start my law conversion/masters and then my career. My parents support me fully with child care, kids will be at nursery etc and I am supposed to start next week.

The issue I am having is that so many women I meet are gently putting down my choices to be a working mum. Someone I met today that has always championed feminism said something like "we're mothers now, its time to go part time/you should consider it..." I've had people flat out tell me it's a bad idea to become a lawyer because I'd never be around and who would raise the kids. Some friends really don't get why I would want to work, full stop. They sort of tilt their heads and look at me with this dough eyed expression like I'm insane.

I feel really selfish because I really want this, I really love my course. I really enjoy the volunteer work I'm doing and think a career would make me a better (and less poor!) mummy. I want my kids to be proud of my achievements and I want to be an example to them.

How do working mums and lone parents cope? Am I nuts?

JeanSeberg Mon 12-Sep-16 23:22:16

Funny how you never hear the term working dads isn't it?

karenlovesgloves Mon 12-Sep-16 23:31:47

Yes! I think that's one if the issues I have with it.

I never thought I was doing anything out of the ordinary. Ya know, parent works to support children. Apparently this is revolutionary for the liberals I know. grin

ivegotdreadfulpmttoday Mon 12-Sep-16 23:36:39

How will you cope if you don't do it? You'll probably end up working more to earn less. Some people don't like others moving on or seeking to improve their lot. I work and I'm a mum and I have a supportive husband - I am knackered a lot of the time but I bet I'm 20 years older than youwink

Hopefully this thread'll turn into a long list of women saying 'ignore them. It's fine to want to study and work and care about that and kids too'. So you can see that it's quite normal to do that.

I did my MA and PhD with little kids. I now work as a researcher in a university about 90 mins away on the train. I'm not single, but we needed (and still need) support from wider family.

You have people supporting you, your kids will be loved and cared for. My kids have very close relationships with grandparents, and can see that I'm engaged and competent outside the home.

It will be hard at times, but if it's what you want (and it's obvious it is) you won't regret it. Go for it! Shrug off the disapproval, it says more about those people and their attitudes than it says about you. I expect some secretly wish they could do something like it, but can't for whatever reason.

<waves pom poms>

Felascloak Tue 13-Sep-16 07:27:33

Ah just ignore them. It's amazing how much society likes women to be martyrs to motherhood.

PacificOcean Tue 13-Sep-16 07:40:45

I was a SAHM when my DC were little. Now I'm back at work and I feel so happy and fulfilled. I feel like I've rediscovered part of me that I didn't even know was missing.

Where I live, it's quite common to be a SAHM with pre school DC, but much rarer when your DC are at school. So hopefully you'll find the eye raising stops when your DC are at school.

Good luck with your new career!

Miffer Tue 13-Sep-16 07:43:26

I went back to education when my youngest was 15 months. I have been in education or work ever since (he is 11 now). Honestly I have never met this attitude, most people would go on about how amazing I was raising kids and going to Uni... although maybe this was a veiled dig that went under my radar. Either way I always found this attitude odd, I wasn't single my husband always pulled his weight despite working full time. Nobody acted like he was some sort of super man.

Of course you should ignore them, it sounds like they have issues with their own choices (which is incredibly sad) than yours. You literally can't do right for doing wrong as a mother. If you stay at home you are a mindless, busybody or else a lazy scrounger if you work you are selfish. It's a brilliant way to keep women isolated and second guessing themselves.

MsMermaid Tue 13-Sep-16 07:43:26

Definitely ignore the people telling you not to do it. If you want to do your law conversion course then do it, it sounds good for you as a family.

I did my degree and pgce when I was a single parent. Dd1 was 12 months when I started, and my parents did a lot of childcare for me. Now I'm married and have dd2 and it never even occurred to me that i should go part time, I enjoy my job and it's what pays the bills.

Some people are stuck with outdated views about how mothers are supposed to act (remember, even as recently as my mother's generation women were made to give up their jobs once they had children) Don't let them force their views on you.

YellowShockedFace Tue 13-Sep-16 07:50:13

The could be envious that you are doing well, that you are not a sahm (I am not criticising being one at all) or that you have childcare from grandparents?

AddToBasket Tue 13-Sep-16 07:56:33

I got this from people when I retrained in law after being a SAHM. Gradually it emerged that at least some of it was motivated by envy.

Being able to study law is expensive and time consuming and carries cachet. It's a big decision and people can feel a bit threatened by it. Be empathetic, but ignore them, obviously. grin

Suzietwo Tue 13-Sep-16 07:56:45

Change friends.

katemess12 Tue 13-Sep-16 07:57:54

My mum got this from other mothers when I was in primary school. She was a single parent, and had no choice but to work.

You know what, she's my best friend and I love her to death. I appreciate every thing she's done, because I know that I was at the forefront of her mind, her first priority and she did what she did so that I could have a better life.

Her working full time meant that we got a chance to miss each other and valued the time we had together (weekends, afternoons etc). It meant that I got a bit more independence than my friends who had a stay at home parent, because there were times when I was home by myself (not as a young child, obviously). I was extremely well socialised by the time I started at primary school, having been in daycare from a young age. I always looked forward to seeing her at the end of the day because I wasn't WITH her all day.

I am on maternity leave at the moment, but will return to work when DD is 12 months old. I like the idea of her having a mother who studied hard at university and worked hard from day one to get a job she wanted. My job was there before my daughter was; my ambitions were there before she was etc. Having her did not make everything I'd worked for and wanted in the past fly out the window. Hopefully she will feel about me the way I feel about my mother. smile

Marmalade85 Tue 13-Sep-16 08:02:54

I'm a single mother with a 9m old and work full time. It's tough and tiring but I also enjoy it and need to provide for my son.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 13-Sep-16 12:18:51

I'm with everyone else. Ignore them.

It's one of the downsides to being a mum that others, especially other women, feel they have the right to comment on your parenting decisions.

Every time you hear any of this bollocks think "Would they say this if I were a bloke?" And I think you'll find they wouldn't.

Go for it, sister! smile

Cisoff Tue 13-Sep-16 14:56:49

3 of my friends are lawyers, and mothers. One has a senior role in government, the other heads up Legal in a MNC, the 3rd works for herself.

I'm not sure partnership in a law firm is great for motherhood, or fatherhood, but that's far from your only option.

MephistoMarley Tue 13-Sep-16 14:59:32

You have the wrong friends. Nobody has ever said that to me because all my friends also work. You'll meet lots of working mums when uo go back to work.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Tue 13-Sep-16 15:06:14

Mephisto is right.

Your friends are way out of line criticizing your life decisions. Your family, your rules!

tarheelbaby Tue 13-Sep-16 15:28:56

Ignore the negative messages. Continue your studies. In a few years, as your DC become more and more independent, you will be glad that you are ready too. It's great that you have family to support you: make the most of it. When I was 10 my parents split up. We moved in with my mother's uncle. She finished her undergrad degree in a single year (she had dropped out of uni to marry my dad), worked for a year, and then put herself through law school. That was 30+ years ago and she's just retired from a successful, fulfilling career in the NC attorney general's office.

WindPowerRanger Tue 13-Sep-16 15:47:30

Oh heavens, that's bollocks.

If you have seen your children through the early years at home, then I think you will have given them a pretty solid start in life. As they get older, seeing you work and run the home will give them a great example to follow. I know that for me, seeing and hearing my parents deal with work issues and balance work and family was very valuable to me.

Most of the comments are probably about people feeling defensive and promoting their own choices in the face of your different choice, which they may (possibly unconsciously) have taken as an implicit criticism or evidence of you being braver and more independent than they are. Ignore if you can, or gently let them know the judgments are unwelcome.

The thing that always strikes me about this kind of thing is how pointless all the hand-wringing is (not criticising you when I say that, OP, but your critics). of the many children I know, all the children who have good, empathic parenting are doing well, irrespective of what kind of care they receive-at home with parent, at home with other family, nursery, nanny, after-school club, you name it.

SueTrinder Tue 13-Sep-16 15:57:15

Head tilt back at them and say 'As a lone parent would you prefer I live off benefits for the rest of my life?' Can't believe anyone is criticising you for wanting to provide your family with a better standard of living. Find some better friends.

Working makes me a better parent, being at home on maternity leave made me go a little bit crazy. DD2's topic at school is 'Heros' and she told her teacher I was her hero because I made drugs that made people better grin (I work in Pharms). Your kids will be fine, they'll be with people who love them and you'll be happier filling your potential (and providing for your family).

cadnowyllt Tue 13-Sep-16 15:59:55

debuk.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/the-amazing-disappearing-women/

When 'women' become 'people' - good examples above. Food for thought. Thanks Buffy.

melibu84 Tue 13-Sep-16 16:01:33

It really saddens me that this is still an issue in this day and age. Lots of mums work, either because they want to or because they have to. Cut the negative people out of your life and focus on your dreams, you deserve it, and I think you will be a great example to your kids!

KateInKorea Tue 13-Sep-16 19:22:52

I have recently gone back to work full time. I am loving it so so much, my life has improved in leaps and bounds.

People may be justifying their own decision, which at one level is understandable but also, well their lives aren't applicable to you.

KateInKorea Tue 13-Sep-16 19:33:02

Great article cadnow

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