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By going back to work, my children “won’t know who I am” - so says my mum!

(89 Posts)
Holywaterrr Mon 22-Apr-19 03:36:10

Obviously it’s been a late Easter Sunday night with a few drinks. But still..

My DH and I have tried to explain to my mum how it is that she was able to buy her own small house on one salary in the 70s, but how these days it’s mostly takes two salaries to buy a house.

She also knows how I’ve been striving for about eight years now to get qualified at the top of my field (doctor).

So the conversation goes, that I will take 9 months’ leave (for this imaginary baby!) and DH will take 3 months. Then we will both go back to work.

Mum was disgusted!! She took five years off with me and will not hear of anyone doing any less! “How could you do that to a child,” she said, when I said I was going to go back to work, “they won’t know who you are!”

She also maintained I would be going back part time. To be honest, (once we’ve had this imaginary child), if anyone is going to go part time it will be DH as I will be out-earning him almost 2:1. This apparently is just shocking.

She also said she wanted to move 70 miles to be in a small flat near us but that she would NOT be doing any childcare. Fine by us as we have planned our (future) budget to include £1k/mo childcare; I just though it curious that you would love so close yet still be so far.

Ah well!

collectingcpd Mon 22-Apr-19 07:15:36

I think some of it’s a generational thing. I’m a doctor(Cons). I do 3 days a week. Every time I see my mum she tells me she thinks I work too much and should spend more time with the children. I have asked her why she sent me to a highly academic school and placed huge emphasis on my education if she thinks I should give it all up now. The only answer I get is ‘ they are only little once’. You are very wise to delay motherhood until you get your CCT.

sighrollseyes Mon 22-Apr-19 07:22:39

Tell her to sod off! Congratulations on your excellent career. I've done the same!
My son went to nursery at 8 months and absolutely loves it. We have the best relationship - he gets to do all the things I wouldn't ever think to do with him at nursery and then we have 3 days a week together.
I too earn more than DH and when MIL said I shouldn't be working so much I suggested DH go part time as I earn more than double. She didn't like that idea but did finally shut the f**k up about it. We are now expecting second child and I've already had some comments about why I'm not having full year off - blah blah blah. Ignore them you're doing great!

BeanBag7 Mon 22-Apr-19 07:25:58

Presumably your dad worked full time in order for your mum to take 5 years off? And you still knew who he was...

seeingdots Mon 22-Apr-19 07:26:14

How could you contemplate this OP, and you a woman and all?! Working full time is for fathers, not mothers. In fact you should pack in your hard built career altogether and become financially dependent on your lower earning DH for the rest of your life otherwise YABVVU.

Mumberjack Mon 22-Apr-19 07:36:00

Tell your mum it’s none of her bloody business, and don’t open up the particular conversation again. The judgements and unsolicited advice will only continue and worsen once D.C. are here.

user1486915549 Mon 22-Apr-19 07:38:45

Stop giving your mother such full details of your life plans !

Carpetburns Mon 22-Apr-19 07:38:44

I think it's easy to make these future plans. When baby is here, you might not want him/her to go to nursery full time. Priorities change.

LTFTsurgeon Mon 22-Apr-19 07:40:41

Name changed for this post as very outing.

I totally agree with the majority of posters on this thread that your children absolutely will know who you are, assuming you take the time when not at work to build a positive relationship with them. Fantastic post from @Nancydrawn

I have a fantastic relationship with my 2 sons aged 11 and 13, as does dh. He worked full time until they were 8 and 10, while I worked LTFT as a surgical registrar. Now I'm a consultant (working full time) he has his own business working from home, and was a SAHD for the first year I was a consultant.

Listen to @Sashkin though. She speaks a lot of sense. You may not be the same, and love working full-time, but the balance is fucking tough to get right with full-time working, small children who are very dependent on you and the need to do all the portfolio extras to progress. It's not like being full-time in most jobs. As a 60% LTFT trainee I was working similar hours to most non-medical full-timers, and that's without the extras. If you choose to stay full-time be prepared for sacrifices in other aspects of your life (which are temporary, while the kids are small, but can make for a shit work life balance). For me taking longer to train has been hugely beneficial as I started my consultant career, as the extra maturity and time taken gave me a confidence in myself and my abilities that has made the transition much more seamless.

I have to say this sentence of yours, which you didn't include in the initial OP, is utter horse shit (with respect to medicine, not speaking about other careers): Also I quite fancy hitting the promotion trail, which doesn’t take too kindly to part timers

It might have taken me 12 years to get my consultant post rather than 6, but I am a surgical consultant and the LTFT lead for the school of surgery in the region where I work. Being part-time has absolutely NOT held me back. It's not for everyone, and I'm not trying to push you into this if it's not right for you, but it absolutely can be done without detriment to your career if you want to. For me it gave me fantastic work life balance while training and I hugely valued the time I had with my sons while they were small.

You also have to ask yourself if you'd want to work with colleagues who think it's ok to belittle and disadvantage you for making this choice. They do exist, but in my experience they are very few and far between. Frankly, I think their outdated and ridiculous attitudes do a lot of harm to the profession in terms of talented women sharing your views on part time working, which causes many not to choose careers like surgery because they don't believe it is possible to work part time or to have work life balance.

In the interests of balance since I became full-time in my last year of training and since (for necessity in reaching CCT without changing curriculum) I have found my career much more rewarding. But the hours I now work would have been (for me) impossible when the boys were small. So I go back to my earlier comment that LTFT training isn't for everyone, and it might not be for you for financial or personal reasons, but please believe it IS possible.

Feel free to pm me if you want more info on LTFT training, especially if you're a surgeon.

glenthebattleostrich Mon 22-Apr-19 07:46:54

As a childcare professional I can assure you that children always know and adore their parents. I love my charges as though they are adored nieces and nephews and they are very much part of my family and treated as such (one of the main reasons families choose me and I have 3 babies waiting to start with me)

The children have a lovely time with me, playing in the woods, walking country trails, trips to softplay and toddler group, libraries and activities. But their excitement at 5:30 because mummy is coming soon is wonderful and seeing the adoration between parents and their children is lovely.

You honestly have nothing to worry about, and to be honest, more and more dad's are going part time or parents are both doing condensed weeks to be with their kids, it's becoming more 'the norm'.

The polite way of putting your mum is talking out of her bottom is that parents often feel the need to justify the choices they made and for you to do things differently to them is perceived as you rejecting their parenting.

TestingTestingWonTooFree Mon 22-Apr-19 07:49:31

Planning finances to allow for full time child care is a good idea. Mine started from 6m. Both know who I am. You also should plan for the baby to be off nursery a fair bit with bugs in the first 6m. DH and I had to negotiate on who could best take leave if my mum couldn’t help out.

I am lucky that I got my dream job while I was pregnant. Having babies (and getting to where I wanted) has killed my ambition. I choose to work at 80% and prefer an extra weekday at home over whatever career advantages there are at working full time.

Cbatothinkofaname Mon 22-Apr-19 07:57:46

She sounds threatened and possibly envious by the fact you have a great career. Of course your child will know who you are. Would anyone even suggest that about a man working full time?

sounds to me like she’s desperately trying to convince herself (as well as you) that there will be something ‘wrong’ with you pursuing your career rather than giving up. I would imagine that’s because on some level (perhaps even subconsciously) she feels she’s missed out on something

woollyheart Mon 22-Apr-19 07:59:51

She made her own choices on childcare and career, and wants to believe that she made perfect choices. She probably is hoping to move closer so she could relive her happy first five years with baby with you and your baby all together.

If this is the reason that she is moving, she should consider more carefully. She will be moving away from friends, in the hope of spending loads of time with you and baby. If you are at work and baby is in the nursery, you will all be busy and not available most of the time. She will have plenty of time to resent that it isn't going according to her cherished plans and to complain that you are doing it all wrong (in her opinion).

hellotoyellow Mon 22-Apr-19 08:11:42

I am a doctor, as is DH, and both my parents. My mum returned to work FT in hospital jobs and as a GP at 6, 12 and 16 weeks PN in the late 80s. Both parents worked FT plus (OOH shifts/ academic) and we had nannies FT. I always knew who my parents were and am close to my mum now. I would not hesitate to do that from a baby perspective.

However, I'm now in the late stages of pregnancy. I'm going to take 6- 9 months off and then return to academic work FT; DH will drop to 80% at next rotation as will I when I go back in. This is more for us than the baby, I think. We both want a tiny bit more flexibility while the baby is small and we can't afford a nanny for one child. While we both had FT childcare as small children, we both also had grandparents who were very involved and could pick up random slack, and we aren't really expecting that for us.

IceCreamAndCandyfloss Mon 22-Apr-19 08:11:59

Given the majority of people have no memories when older of the pre school age, then childcare or a parent it really doesn't matter as long as the child's needs are met. Presumably she tells men the same thing or are they different because that's who funds the household (or the state).

Keep to your plan. Use your education and show your children they can have it all. You'll be an amazing role model for them.

NancyJoan Mon 22-Apr-19 08:14:17

By her reckoning, you had no idea who your Dad was. Ask her if that’s the case.

NewAccount270219 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:14:33

Sadly, she's right. That's why most children have no idea who their father is. 'Who is this man, who is only here morning, evening and every weekend?', they ask. 'Is he some sort of friend of mummy? She is the only adult who I know, as I do not know any adults who are not here all day every day, so I guess he must be?'

Longtalljosie Mon 22-Apr-19 08:14:54

They get used to it. My MIL was very upsetting about me returning to work during my mat leave (while she thought it was all to play for presumably) but once i’d gone through with it things settled down

Loopytiles Mon 22-Apr-19 08:17:42

If your DM expresses these views again, ask her to keep them to herself!

Working PT was stressful and IMO derailed my career (not medicine/science!) , but FT has its challenges too.

Loopytiles Mon 22-Apr-19 08:18:15

“Most children have no idea who their father is” gringrin

NewAccount270219 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:18:24

Incidentally someone asked me the other day if I was 'worried that DS would think the childminder is his mum' hmm

Their solution wasn't actually that I give up work, it was that he goes to a nursery. A nursery is an equally valid option, of course, but to choose it specifically to make your child's attachment to their carers less secure seems selfish to me.

JohnnyMcGrathSaysFuckOff Mon 22-Apr-19 08:23:36

My children have no idea who I am..... oh no wait, that would explain the constant ma ma ma ma MA MA MA and Mummeeeeeee which follows me to the toilet every time hmm

I am not a dr but an academic (head of dept). I will say that life has got easier since DH went PT. I do not know how much control you have over your hours but I do "long days" of c 15 hours on the 2 days DH is at home with the DC and then "short" 9-5 days the other 3 days when I am doing nursery runs. I will also frankly say I have lowered my standards at work in the sense that I don't get all stressy and perfectionistic over it in the same way. I am never fully on top of work tbh but I do a "good enough" job and the sky hasn't fallen in yet.

HBStowe Mon 22-Apr-19 08:26:03

You could be me OP! My mum is forever banging on about how once I have the baby I will understand and choose to go part time. She also cannot comprehend that if anyone went part time it would be my husband since I earn more than him.

She’s also adamant that she wants to do three days of childcare per week - but that we have to get the baby to her and pick it up at the end of the day. So that’s 2 hours of driving per day to drop off and pick up the baby, on top of the 3 hours a day we already spend commuting. That’ll work, mum...

This is all also for a baby which has not yet been conceived btw!

I just shut her down now by very obviously changing the subject. She clearly finds that a bit rude but there’s not much she can do about it if I just start talking about something else every time she mentions babies.

NewAccount270219 Mon 22-Apr-19 08:26:33

I do think it was probably unwise to get into all this for a hypothetical baby, though! Your DM was probably a lot blunter than she would have been if it was 'really' the choice you were making. Also, she probably thinks you're being naive. When pregnant I got a lot of 'ah but as soon as the baby's here you won't want to go back to work'. They were wrong.

Cbatothinkofaname Mon 22-Apr-19 08:26:42

“She made her own choices on childcare and career, and wants to believe that she made perfect choices.”

Woollyheart is spot on. And that’s the sign of someone who isn’t 100% secure so they have to convince themselves that there is only one possible way of being a mother and any other way would be fraught with all sorts of problems. It would be equally ridiculous to say that all mothers ‘should’
Work full time because otherwise their children are going to be harmed.

Fact is, there are multiple ways of parenting, and whether children grow up happy, well adjusted and with good relationships with their parents has far more to do with other factors than whether their parents work.

I worked 3 days a week and then returned to full time when the youngest was 4. Dh and I also chose careers where we could both progress and earn decent money but without being all-consuming or involving loads of travel etc. It worked brilliantly for us, enabling us both to be pretty hands on with childcare and running the home as well as both having a career. But that’s as far as it goes: it worked brilliantly for us. The moment anyone starts telling others that this is what they should do with their family is a sure sign that they don’t feel secure in their own decision. That’s why I suspect on some level, conscious or not, the OP’s mother is perhaps a tad envious or threatened by the prospect of her daughter being a working mum of a young child.

Also OP on a reassuring note, my kids are all adults now. Looking at the now grown children of my friends who gave birth when I did, some had one parent working full time, some had both, some had a parent working part time... every combination under the sun. You wouldn’t be able to tell who had what! It’s perfectly possible to grow up into a happy successful adult with working parents or SAHP. Indeed I’m sure mine would be just as fine if I’d been a SAHM. The claim I’ll make about being a WOHM is that it’s enabled me to have a great career... nothing to do with my kids being ‘better’

And I would try to dissuade your mother from moving nearer you. She sounds overbearing and opinionated already and things will only get worse if she’s on the doorstep, having left her friends behind, criticising all your parenting decisions.

AmIRightOrAMeringue Mon 22-Apr-19 08:32:10

Fully involved father who does his fair share of childcare and as a result has a really close relationship with his own child - now shocking!

It's easier said than done, but you just have to ignore her, she clearly doesn't live in the real world. I do know two people who gave up work when they had kids - one hated it so much she went back as soon as she could, the other is happily a SAHP. However literally every other single person I know has gone back to work, mainly 3 -5 days a week, and there are increasing numbers of men doing condensed or part time hours. Most kids are in childcare some of the time (some a combination of being with grandparents). Its the norm now.

I'd be worried she is going to be like this for every parenting decision you make so I think I'd ask her now to stop criticising your choices

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