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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!

EnglishRose13 Mon 22-Apr-19 12:35:55

I went back to work when my son was 11 weeks old and my husband then took over, and remains a SAHD. While I massively regret that decision as I felt like I didn't get time to enjoy the baby days, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our bond. He is now, and has always been, a "mummy's boy".

As an aside, the dog prefers me too.

Cbatothinkofaname Mon 22-Apr-19 12:26:19

And while I agree that priorities and views can change after having a child, I think it’s vitally important to have these conversations beforehand about ‘ideals.’ More couples should IMO.

Time and again you see on MN posts from mums who realise only after the birth that their dh isn’t the hands on Dad they assumed he’d be. Or the women who bemoan that they can’t work because their dh does oh such a high flying important job. These situations don’t arise from nowhere. Discussion about ideals and values would be helpful earlier.

One of the most important discussions I had with dh before trying for a baby was that I didn’t want to have to do all the childcare drop off and pick ups because this would be too restrictive. This meant that he had to forego some of the work opportunities which might have meant lots of travel and being away overnight. For us, both having ‘middling’ careers and having time for the children, was more important than one of us having a jet setting career and the other having no career. Other couples choose differently but surely the important thing is the kind of open discussion the OP is having now.

And yes things do change... it was only when my dc was a month old and I realised I really didn’t want to be leaving her 5 days a week in two months time, that I negotiated with my work to return 3 days a week. That was about me rather than her though... I’m sure she’d have been fine if I’d worked full time or not at all.

So while you may want to tweak your plans further down the line, it totally makes sense to discuss your expectations with your partner. If more couples did, there would be fewer miserable people posting on MN that parenting isn’t how they thought it would be

Cbatothinkofaname Mon 22-Apr-19 11:57:12

Being drunk isn’t the best time to have a conversation I agree. But this isn’t about ‘hating’ parents and in-laws, it’s about respecting other people’s views. It’s really unpleasant for a parent to be denigrating their adult child’s views like that, and to actually suggest the child they plan on having won’t know their mother if she works full time is plain malicious.

2BoysandaCairn Mon 22-Apr-19 11:51:29

Not rtft, only 1st 2 pages. Where op is wrong is they had the consveration whilst drunk and with a nonconceiced child.
When, if they ever become pregnant, and the baby is born, we had a miscarriage and know 5 others too. They can then decide.
Until then pointless, we know no family who have followed their non child ideals.
Most of us share the task.
Many of us, dad here, even changed jobs to facitate child care.
Why the f*ck fall out with a parent over a ideal. Life is too short.
I lost my dad before I was 21, mum had psp before kids born
I would love my parents to have a view on my kids.
Wife dad also died before she was 21.

We have the best advice from MIL and great aunties. Listen and dont judge, they have a lifetime of experience.
Only on here does everyone hate their parents and inlaws and ignore their ideas.

outpinked Mon 22-Apr-19 11:40:32

Just outdated antiquated views, ignore and move on.

Ihatehashtags Mon 22-Apr-19 11:35:29

It’s a very outdated attitude and just shows her age. Is she also mortified your child won’t know their father either? Since he’ll be working full time ? 😂 Or is it a guilt tripping the woman/mum thing?

Contraceptionismyfriend Mon 22-Apr-19 11:26:11

Unfortunately regardless of both me and DH working full time (Him working nights and weekends) our children are very much aware of who we are.

If anyone has any hints on how to make them forget us I'd be very appreciative. It's not even mid day and I'm sick of hearing mum.

randomchap Mon 22-Apr-19 11:10:01

Of course your children will know who you are. You will be their mum who's also a doctor.

My DC absolutely loved daycare, they got to play with their friends, socialisation is important.

Your mum is wrong, do what's right for you and your family.

reetgood Mon 22-Apr-19 10:54:23

I think practicing variations of the ‘I’ll bear that in mind’, and proceeding exactly as you intend to would pay off here.

Also realising that some people just say things that represent how they feel at that very moment, and bear no relation to reality. It’s good you’ve realised this now, so you can get practice in of not taking any of it too seriously.

In the space of a day, my MIL told me that I was an anxious mother who would raise an anxious child (no evidence of that); having him in childcare and other people caring for him was too confusing and too many people; but (and I admit, I totally led her into this one) when she raised her kids and used childcare it was totally fine as it all helped with socialisation. hmmgrin

In the nicest possible way, your ma is similarly full of nonsense. She can think what she likes, it doesn’t change your plans. Equally, you’re allowed to have your plans change and what she thinks still doesn’t matter!

nokidshere Mon 22-Apr-19 10:44:23

As a childcare professional of over 40 years I can honestly say that I have never once looked after a child who preferred me over their parents.

I love looking after children, so when I had my own 20 years ago I gave up work and started childminding from home. I have had children from 1hour a week to 30 hours a week over the years and there is absolutely no difference in terms of how much they adore their parents regardless of how much they do or don't work. As a pp said upthread, we could do the most wonderful things during the day and they would still be chomping at the bit when the parents are due to arrive. Many of "my" children are now driving, going to uni, starting to explore the world. They are lively, independent young adults who have not "suffered" one iota because they were in childcare. Lots are still friends with my boys and they visit us regularly.

My own two have never "suffered" from having me at home all the time and are also strong, curious, independent young adults now.

In my experience any settling in problems have mainly come from parents who are apologetic to their children "for leaving them" and beginning the journey on a negative note.

Heyha Mon 22-Apr-19 10:40:41

Didn't want to read and run without saying thank you @nancydrawn for your post as it made me feel a lot better about my DC going to nursery 8-4 for 3 days at week at 7 months old (that's the plan anyway). I know I will be crap at going to the usual groups so I'm hoping nursery will be good for those sorts of things and I think I'll be better at being a mummy if I also get a bit of time at being 'me'. Doesn't stop me being wracked with guilt and considering other options but I just keep coming back to this being the way for us at the moment. Could all change when baby arrives of course!
Haven't had the same objections as you OP luckily, but I don't think YABu at all

CMOTDibbler Mon 22-Apr-19 10:34:09

I went back to work FT when ds was 4.5 months old, back to travelling for work when he was 6 months, and we used FT nursery. DS is 12 and incredibly well attached to both of us.
I have found everyone has an opinion on working and using childcare, and the only important thing is that both parents are confident in their own choices and work together to make their family life work. Everyone else can bog off.

MyMumDimensionJumps Mon 22-Apr-19 10:33:37

I bet she's one of those people who is constantly saying 'why are you renting and throwing your money away, why don't you just buy' as if you can just walk in to a bank and get a mortgage like a pint of milk.

I also get the 'why are you bringing up a family in a flat, surely you need a house with a garden' like it's in everyone's financial reach (on mat leave currently!)


MyMumDimensionJumps Mon 22-Apr-19 10:27:07

You need to write down your outgoings including childcare in paper so she can actually see it doesn't work and that working is a necessity, not a choice.

A lot of people our parents age don't get how difficult it is these days for families, thankfully my family understand and offer to help with childcare (they are broke themselves and struggled, which is why they understand). To be honest, if they didn't volunteer, it would be very hard for them to see the baby, as we are usually out and about weekends and have other commitments. Your mum will soon realise this.

Her comments are really insensitive and stupid. Most mother's on here who work will vouch that their children know exactly who they are!

CupOhTea Mon 22-Apr-19 10:17:05

Also agree I’d hate having her near by “refusing” to help with childcare and giving her horrible opinions. I bet she’ll be expecting you to quit work to care for her in her old age too!

CupOhTea Mon 22-Apr-19 10:16:10


Spot on. A mother’s (parent’s) place seems to be in the wrong!

Sahps are frequently slagged off on here. It’s horrible to see it happening to WoH mums too. Honestly, what are we expected to do?

I think the answer to that is, you can’t please everyone and someone will always have a negative opinion, no matter what you do. So just do what works best for your family and ignore. BUT, what stinks about this situation, is that the ‘someone’ with a negative opinion is the op’s own mum, who should be proud of her achievements and supporting her angry.

IWannaSeeHowItEnds Mon 22-Apr-19 10:09:10

When you have kids every bugger has an opinion and they all feel quite free to share it, whether you asked or not! Someone somewhere will always think you are doing it wrong, so my advice is to do what you think is best.
The truth is that kids mostly grow up fine, whether they have a sahp or are in childcare.

The one other thing I'll add is be wary of your mum moving close by if she's going to criticise every choice you make and refuse to help you. You'll be getting worst of both worlds there!

PoppyFleur Mon 22-Apr-19 10:04:24

I returned to work when DC was 7 months old on 4 days a week (in hindsight I should have returned FT as only the salary was 80%). My child certainly knows who I and DH are!

DH and I found the early years in nursery far easier than school to be honest. Yes, the first 6 months of nursery is tough as they come home with so many bugs. But you know you have committed childcare in place for 51 weeks of the year.

For us personally, juggling school and careers has proved challenging. We wanted to be there for sports days, assembly, etc but with both of us traveling for work that was challenging. Additionally I have a life limiting illness and require regular hospital treatment which is a further complication and another constraint on time.

Due to this and DC needing a bit more parental support as he became older, I have gone freelance. However this would not have been possible if I were not already established in my field so I’m glad I went back after maternity leave.

As an aside, both my parents worked full time, mainly due to financial necessity. I am exceptionally proud of my parents especially my mum. I was a very unwell child and my life expectancy was not good (thanks to fantastic Drs and medical advancement my 60s is now a very real possibility). My parents were pro education and never let on that adulthood might not be a reality for me. It is only due to their encouragement and the example my parents set of true partnership that I have succeeded in attaining qualifications and succeeding in my career. My mum faced constant criticism of her choices, especially with an unwell child, this was in the 1970’s and 80’s, it’s so sad that society still hasn’t moved on and women continue to be criticised today.

wibbleee Mon 22-Apr-19 10:00:52

well my mum was a SAHM. 2 out of 3 of us haven`t spoke to her for years!!

Do whatever feels right for you. Theres no right or wrong way!

HopefulAgain10 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:51:34

Tell your mother to get a grip. Does she realise that in many other countries ML is only a few weeks and millions have no option than to put their kids in childcare. They all know who their parents are.
Sounds like she knows she didn't really make much of a go of her own life and is trying to bring you down.
How ignorant is she to even think this. And the cheek of her to clearly state shes not going to help out yet give her two cents.

CupOhTea Mon 22-Apr-19 09:44:48

When someone is so intent on arguing what was right for them, being the right thing for others I often wonder if they are trying to convince themselves they did the ‘right’ thing. Wonder if your mother is secretly envious of your ability to manage a career you love and have a family.


She is being a total dick. Do NOT listen to her.

Yours sincerely, CupOhTea, a happy SAHM.

PS: I love being a sahm, but there is no way I would be doing it if I had spent years training as a doctor and wanted to get promoted some time in the near future. No fucking way. My jobs have all been fairly low paid and not terribly interesting which is why it doesn’t make sense for me to go back to work. After childcare for our two dcs we would be losing money overall as a family.

EL8888 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:39:10

Always helpful when people who had it easier criticise your choices. To me it feels like she wants the benefits of having family near her so they can help her but she won't help them. I coped fine with childcare while my Mum worked, so did my partner and all of my friends work with their children being unaffected. One friends little boy loves his nursery so much he's sad when he's off ill and can't go. Great if you DH goes part time, if my partner liked his job less than l liked mine then l would suggest that. It would be yourself and your husbands choices. Quite possibly there is some projection there from your mother -l know my Mum does that to me a lot

Aozora13 Mon 22-Apr-19 09:31:01

There was a whole thread yesterday from a mother who was despairing at her adult daughter planning to give up work and become a SAHM. We can’t win! FWIW I went back to work FT when my DD was 1 (she’s now 2.5). She’s really thrived at nursery and somehow still manages to recognise me.

Cbatothinkofaname Mon 22-Apr-19 09:27:52

‘I think 'revenge' (mostly at quite a mild/subtle level) by mothers on daughters who are reluctant to repeat their perceived sacrifices is quite a common phenomenon.’

The above is so true.

I also think that because previous generations of women didn’t have as many options available to them, there may be some level of resentment. Not all the sacrifices were made willingly. My own mum is a very bright, able woman but never had the options available when me and my siblings were small (she’s now late eighties and I’m in my fifties, for context.)

I know when I returned to work, just 3 days a week, but my dd was only 3 months old because that was what Maternity leave was back then, my mum didn’t actually pass comment but I did detect a negative vibe... I’m sure she felt it wasn’t ‘right’ to be leaving a baby with a childminder. But then she didn’t really have a choice as very little proper regulated childcare existed back in the 1960s, so she was a long term SAHM and then got a little bit of part time work later but never achieved what she was truly capable of. Ability wise, she could have had as successful a career as my dad did, but of course for her generation it wasn’t the norm.

BestIsWest Mon 22-Apr-19 09:26:35

Does she think your DC won’t know their dad either or is it ok for him to go back to work full time?

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