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Help! I feel like the only working mother in the village.....

(37 Posts)
WellTravelledPrawn Mon 03-Dec-12 11:05:16

Sorry in advance for the whingey tone.....

I live in rural Essex with 2 DCs (15 months and 3.5), most 'husbands' commute to the city. On the whole, it's a wealthy place and a bit of a bubble. I went to (yet another) dinner party this weekend where I was the only working mother. Literally none of my 'mummy friends' work. I know of a couple (literally, 2) other mums who work, but rarely see them (as they are at work!)

It took me seven years to train in my profession. I run I thriving practice and I love my job. I know that I need to keep working as I go a bit nuts when I'm not. And it will pay the school fees. My children are (on the whole) bright and well balanced. Me and my husband are often knackered but like our lives as they are.... But I'm finding it a bit hard as the one who always has to turn down invitations and (I suspect) the other mums feel a bit sorry for me. It also sometimes makes me doubt my choices, like I'm not a 'proper' mum and my children are losing out.

Am I just an insecure individual, inhabiting a totally anomolous community of people or has anyone else experienced this?

Nevercan Tue 04-Dec-12 07:40:19

You have to do what's right for you. I like working so I work things so I can do this. You never know they might secretly wish they were working too and would like to be too busy to attend a dinner party or two lol grin

Katisha Tue 04-Dec-12 08:06:10

Just brazen it out. I was amazed when I had children to find how many other mothers didn't work. And even more amazed to find how much the schools assume there is someone at home all day and available for events, appointments and changes to timings at the drop of a hat...

WellTravelledPrawn Tue 04-Dec-12 08:36:35

Thanks, I'm glad it's not just me who has found this. I know that the schools thing is going to be a bit of a nightmare- especially when we are both working in London (not very often, but I like it when I do!).

Katisha Tue 04-Dec-12 08:46:16

I work in London. DSs are older now (although am still at home iwth one ill today...) but when they were young I found the way to make it work was to engage a childminder and pay her extra for flexible working as I didn't always need to be in on the same day. Also she was available to have them if they were off school. And if the train home was late she didnt have to get them out on the dot of closing time - she would tell me to get a coffee and not worry, would feed DSs some more and just keep them happy till I got there.

orangeberries Tue 04-Dec-12 17:33:42

We certainly have a very large contingent of SAHMs in our village too but now that the children are at school many of them have gone onto minimum wage jobs or unpaid work.

Whilst I used to begrudge my working and got many comments (how do you manage it, you must be mad, so glad I don't have to/want to, etc), and was consumed by self doubt, now I am really glad I have held onto my work and I am in a flexible, well paid profession.

Also whilst even in the first couple of years of school it is lovely to have your mum helping out at school, etc this becomes less palatable as the children become older.

I think when children are young is very tough, but when you come the other side you really do see the benefits of holding on - I would just grit my teeth and carry on - at least you got invited to dinner parties - I have never been invited to anything since we moved here nearly 4 years ago!!!! Maybe it's 'cause I work AND I'm foreign - arf!!!

DeafLeopard Tue 04-Dec-12 17:40:51

Totally agree with orangeberries - I have just come through the staying at home phase (DS has SN so slightly different, but his caring requirements have changed so back to work I went)

I had a good-ish job with a decent salary; career path; benefits etc....7 years at home have left me in a minimum wage job as I am totally de-skilled

WellTravelledPrawn Tue 04-Dec-12 19:49:38

Sorry to hear that DeafLeopard, hope that you are in a position to re-skill and find something more suitable soon.

Orangeberries- you think it's bad being foreign- I'm Jewish and a Liberal Democrat. Sometimes I think we should have stayed in Hackney!

You are right that coming out the other side makes it all worthwhile, it just feels a bit of a slog at times!

fufulina Tue 04-Dec-12 19:56:32

Ha! I was talking to my mum about this the other day. I'd always assumed that most women work when they have kids, and looking at my closest girlfriends and family, I am the ONLY one who works anything more than 2 days a week (I work four days). I was, and still am, astounded.

Whatever works for you. My major concern is if my marriage falls apart, dh dies (sorry, but I am a worrier!), I need to maintain the ability to earn enough money to look after me and the girls.

lizardqueenie Tue 04-Dec-12 20:16:05

Quote refreshing to read something like this so thanks for your OP!
I've just returned to work (today's my first day actually so perhaps it's a bit rose tinted still) after have 2 years at home with my dd. I've gone back pt 3 days a week but feel that it will give me, and our family, more financial security. My DH was quite unwell recently & is still undergoing some tests. I felt I wanted to return to work for me but also what if my DH was suddenly too ill to work, I feel that at least now things are a bit more financially secure for us.

WellTravelledPrawn Tue 04-Dec-12 21:04:54

Exciting times Lizardqueenie- hope it carries on going well for you smile

Fufulina- I know that feeling! I like knowing that I provide for my family and am contributing to our financial security. And when I waiver I remember the voice of my first supervisor- an unreconstructed third wave feminist who, when I announced my pregnancy, took me to lunch, waved her finger across the table and warned 'just remember, emanicpation is economic'....

lollystix Wed 05-Dec-12 09:53:14

I live in Stepford and an a working mum of 4 very small kids. Im viewed as a bit of freak but I have to work to afford to live in Stepford and I also want to. School attitudes etc don't help (i sense they don't approve) but I do have some SAHM friends who have always been really respectful if my choice (need) to work and actually help me and my nanny out here and there.

I do it for money, sanity and most importantly a foot on the rung in my career - I didn't want to slip back as I know myself I just wouldn't be good at dealing with that (selfish perhaps). My salary pays for the nanny, the stepford rent and then I'm left with £5 a month for me. DH money pays for food and swimming lessons etc. Kids are happy and well adjusted and I reckon once they can all wipe their own bums and dress themselves it'll be worth it.

lizardqueenie Wed 05-Dec-12 20:34:58

Thanks Prawn - I love your name by the way!
Another day done here- today I sat and had my lunch in Pret & got chatting t another lady by herself who works for the council, it was very nice, very easy and I didnt have to share my soup with anyone!

One thing I did notice, going back to your OP, was that when I told some of my SAHM mum friends they acted as though they felt really sorry for me, whereas I felt that it was the right decision not just for my family but for me as an individual. They have been very sweet in their well wishes & asking me how I am getting on but have also said only one day to go now, like I am doing time or something. I dont feel that at all (although early days still). Then I think, should I feel like that? Should I feel guilty? Is that how I should "justify" it? As if it needs justifying. Sorry getting a bit deep & meaningful here! confused

coolmango Thu 06-Dec-12 15:08:12

Keep working. I think it sets a positive role model for children plus I would go stir crazy being a SAHM. My DPs ex has never worked and when DP told DSD8 he had 2 weeks off at xmas and would be making dinner for me when I got in, (I am working over xmas), she said, ' but that's coolmangos job, men don't do jobs around the house'. I did explain to her that I worked also, but she was rather upset that her dad would be having to do 'women's work'??????

QueenofWhatever Thu 06-Dec-12 16:23:34

OP, you could be me three years ago. Even the Mums who worked were part-time to fit around the kids and DH's Much More Important Career. I left my ex, moved to my local city and have never looked back.

But I massively sympathise - the school, childcare options, the playground all seem designed to make you doubt yourself. I felt I was trapped in the Daily Mail.

Entreprenizzle Fri 07-Dec-12 13:45:02

I'm in the opposite position where I gave up work (we relocated when I gave birth and had all our children quite quickly) and feel like the only non-working mother in the village. I would actually like to be working and I am sure some of those mums also secretly wish they still had careers.

In my experience, children grow up so quickly - our 11 year old needs his friends almost as much as us now - you have done the hard bit, so I would stick at it for a bit longer until your children are a bit older and reap the benefits of your hard work.

If you go potty at home, what would be the point in not working? Your frustration at not working would rub off on your children. Could you get a bit of balance from working from home a bit more/delegate a bit more?

bubblepop Sun 09-Dec-12 07:39:36

welltravelledprawn- your just feeling insecure because in your particular group you feel like the 'odd one out'. It sounds as if you have made the right decision for you and your family. try not to doubt yourself, if your kids are happy and so are you and your husband, then there's nothing wrong.

I am a sahm myself, given up my career 10 years ago. Im knackered ( like you,) and often turn down invitations due to lack of money, lack of babysitter or dh's work committments. I have been looking for work recently, and can echo what other posters have said, I am looking for a minimum wage job as I am now out of date with my skills etc. This is the other side of the coin. If you have a decent career then it is worth holding on to (I didn't but if I did I might have done things differently).
Also, just wanted to say that there is nothing worse than a group of women together on the yard poking their noses into your life and making comments! Don't let them do your head in ! x

rotavirusrita Sun 09-Dec-12 07:58:49

You perhaps need some new friends. I live in a village perhaps a little north from you. Until recently i worked full time (have gone part time/"freelance" lance as i enjoy it more). When we first moved here from a town EVERYone else was a SAHM. However now the children are getting older a lot come to me for advice with angst about getting back in the workplace. Things generally improve as children get a bit older aand people start to work/volunteer etc. Now when i get together we have more to talk about than school/ children stuff. If they are snotty with you for the choices you make you probly need some new friends

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 09-Dec-12 08:04:56

There are definitely more SAHM than working mums with children in DS's class. Initially I thought that was because lots of them have younger children, but even though some of them have now started school, their mums are still not working. I am still pretty astounded that in 2012 we still have a model of "man goes to work; woman stays home" in so many homes

Pendulum Sun 09-Dec-12 20:47:07

I feel like this too: the DC go to a school in a small town where the majority of the mothers are SAHMs, and I commute into central London to work full-time. In my experience the only way for us to rub along together is for me to offer some justification, usually economic, for 'having' to work. I don't like doing this but find it's the politic answer.

I did have one friend at the school gates who commented on how well-adjusted my DC are.... considering.

bunnybing Sun 09-Dec-12 21:25:26

"even though some of them have now started school, their mums are still not working"

er...has it occurred to you that they may have looked for jobs and not found them?

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 10-Dec-12 06:51:39

It has, bunny, but that's not the case in the half dozen cases I know about. Unless they are really good liars, and use the line about needing to be around for the children a bit longer and looking after the house while their husbands work long hours to cover up for not securing a job

orangeberries Mon 10-Dec-12 09:29:45

It can become a double edged sword in most cases I know.

It's the case of looking around for work, none of it looks suitable, much of it too low paid or long hours, so CVs are not sent as the mountain to climb is too high. Or when a rejection comes back then confidence is knocked further.

It is easy to get into that situation tbh. I too left my job when my DD1 was born as it was a very long commute and we have no family around, so instinctively it was the right thing to do. By sheer luck I found something else closer to home a year later, but I often reflect that if that hadn't happened I wouldn't be working now as I would be totally unskilled and with 4 children I wouldn't be able to justify a minimum wage or low paid job as it wouldn't pay for childcare.

I think women in general often lack the support (practical and emotional) and for those who don't have families around to help (like us) it is a huge uphill struggle when the children are little...

lljkk Mon 10-Dec-12 09:54:31

I think you are lucky. I am trying hard to get a job but no luck.

Beamur Mon 10-Dec-12 10:06:32

There is a mix where I live - a small village in West Yorkshire. I haven't noticed any SAHM vs WM rivalry, if anything the SAHM's are a godsend as I know a couple who have volunteered to be emergency pickups for my DD in the event of all my other safety nets falling through.
I would like the time that SAHM's (and SAHD's) must have to keep their houses tidy (compared to me) and collect their kids from school and maybe even have some time to themselves, but I like working, even though some weeks it feels like a treadmill simply to keep on top of everything that needs doing. (I don't work Mondays though and really should be doing some housework now..)
I'm glad I've kept my career going although being a SAHM was never a financial option for us.

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