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MumsnetGuestPosts (MNHQ) Fri 24-Jul-15 11:40:45

Guest post: "Being a working mother is tough – but the benefits have been enormous"

Martina Perry describes the positive impact that working has had on her and her family

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Martina Perry

The Working Mother

Posted on: Fri 24-Jul-15 11:40:45


Lead photo

"Should we lean in or lean out, work full-time, or part-time?"

Being a working mother is not easy. The media portrays us as sleep deprived, stressed out, and guilt ridden. Often, the dynamics are a struggle – should we lean in or lean out, work full-time, or part-time? Most pervading of all is that constant niggling worry: "are my children going to be okay?"

My resounding answer would be "yes". If you're able to work, and you want to, your decision should be celebrated. Of course, it won't always be easy, but here are some of the many benefits I've experienced, for both me and my children:

Working improves your patience and the quality of time with your kids
Motherhood is overwhelming and stressful. It will leave you frazzled and exhausted. Heading out the door to work gives you the freedom to feel like an independent, capable woman in your own right. When you return home to the kids, you tend to be more refreshed, energetic and present. All the research indicates that the amount of time a mother spends with her child is less important than the quality she gives during that time. The key is to make the seconds count.

Working gives you purpose and independence
We all have our own passions and talents that extend beyond motherhood. If your career is what excites you, don't ignore it. Otherwise resentment and dissatisfaction will creep in, which isn't good for anybody. Working gives many mothers a sense of self-sufficiency and independence that they can't achieve at home.

I am proud of my work, and I am proud of myself and the children my husband and I are raising. I struggle, like many other working mothers, to transition effortlessly between motherhood and work; some days I feel on top of everything, and other days I fall short.

You have more financial control
Having to rely on someone else for money is hard, especially when you've been financially independent for many years. As well as the personal satisfaction that contributing to the pot brings, having your own income also gives you more financial freedom.

You never get lonely
Even when you've got a constant companion or three, motherhood can be unbelievably lonely and isolated. At the end of a long, tiring day, being proactive about staying connected to friends is not a priority, and all you want to do is veg on the couch and put the phone on silent so you don't feel guilty when your best friend calls and you don't have the energy to answer. Working guarantees that you'll maintain social contact with other adults, and get something more out of them than 'so because' (which is how my three-year-old responds to every question I ask at the moment).

Equality in the workplace = equality at home
In a dual-income family, both need to contribute to the running of the home. Your other half will have to become comfortable in the nuances of child rearing, and this is a great thing for your kids to witness. Our sons will grow up thinking this is the norm and take it forward into their adult relationships. And our daughters will learn to expect this from their future partners.

You're a role model for your kids
Working mothers are doing a very important job (in conjunction to their actual job) - they are teaching their children the value of hard work, decision-making and compromise.

I am proud of my work, and I am proud of myself and the children my husband and I are raising. I don't feel guilty about my girls going to crèche – they are well-adjusted and happy, and they have learnt so much and have a wonderful circle of friends. I struggle, like many other working mothers, to transition effortlessly between motherhood and work; some days I feel on top of everything, and other days I fall short. I'm not always going to be super mother or an exemplary employee, but my kids will love me just the same, and the work will get done.

By Martina Perry

Twitter: @WorkingMotherIE

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 12:09:05

I could rip that entire article apart. But I'd rather pull my own toenails out with rusty pliers whilst spending time with the other financially dependant, impatient, lonely, non contributing SAHMs that I know that are setting a shit example to the kids by not working, staying at home and having the incredible misfortune of actually having that choice. FFS.

swallowed Fri 24-Jul-15 12:36:25

You'll get ripped to shreds here by the SAHMs. I'm not sure what you were hoping to achieve by your post, simply because we have this every week on MN and it always ends badly. It has all been said hundreds of times.

I'm a lone parent who works full time and I love it and wouldn't swap it for the world.

I don't feel guilty, stressed or unhappy at all. I love being a mum and I love working and I'm lucky to be able to do both.

I have no opinion whatsoever on what anyone else does.

Flingmoo Fri 24-Jul-15 12:37:02

BeautifulBatman... Why? The article doesn't say anything bad about SAHMs...In fact it doesn't say anything at all about SAHMs. Its just a list of benefits of being a working mum. What's wrong with us working mums getting a boost and hearing some positive things, are we supposed to mope around feeling like we've made a bad choice? I'm sure there are plenty of articles out there about the benefits of being a SAHM too.

tethersend Fri 24-Jul-15 12:40:00

I don't think it scratches the surface really- I agree with a lot of the points in my own personal life (WOH works for me) but until we recognise staying at home to care for children as a worthwhile, valuable role important for society, the disadvantages of doing so will be borne overwhelmingly by women. You shouldn't need to WOH to have financial independence, for example. That should be a given.

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 12:40:32

This particular gem got me - '
You're a role model for your kids
Working mothers are doing a very important job (in conjunction to their actual job) - they are teaching their children the value of hard work, decision-making and compromise.'

Am I not then by staying at home?

swallowed Fri 24-Jul-15 12:41:53

Here we go....

Miggsie Fri 24-Jul-15 12:42:04

A man would not write this, he wouldn't be given societal guilt. He'd just go to work whether he had a child or not.

Any chance of an article by a man saying they wish they could have a better emotional tie to their kids and they are sick of society assuming only the mum can bond with young kids and provide the support a young child needs?????

Miggsie Fri 24-Jul-15 12:42:52

This isn't a WOHM vv SAHM, it's a question of why society assumes men can't or won't get close to their young kids.

voluptuagoodshag Fri 24-Jul-15 12:43:03

Same old, same old. So glad that life is so delightful for you that you have to justify it.
The thing that gets me is the 'role model'. That does every SAHM a disservice by implying that they are not role models, that actually being a SAHM is a bad example. Can we not just all love our choices without shoving them down folks throats so smugly.

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 12:44:06

volup exactly!!!

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 12:45:33

Tbh I don't know why I even read that article. I knew before opening or I was going to hate it. Can't stand mummy bloggers.

Methe Fri 24-Jul-15 12:46:58

Working mums are always so quick to justify themselves on MN.

Surely most of us have the intelligence to realise that different things work for different people. I didn't work at all until my children were a year old, the worked part time and have increased the hours I work until now then they are 6 and 10 and I work 30 hrs. I do not think young children should do best nursery and I didn't want to miss out on a huge proportion of their lives so mine were never in childcare - that was what was right for me and my family. I don't give two hoots what everyone else does.

Why do you need to shout it from the rooftops? Just because you think it's right for you and your children doesn't mean it's right for everyone.

swallowed Fri 24-Jul-15 12:53:09

I work and I don't feel the need to justify that to anyone. Either on MN or irl.

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 12:57:47

Neither should you swallowed.

AndNowItsSeven Fri 24-Jul-15 12:57:54

And today's guest post is sponsored by the Conservative Party.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 24-Jul-15 12:58:17

"Working mums are always so quick to justify themselves on MN." Are they? I hadn't noticed that myself..

Methe Fri 24-Jul-15 13:01:38

Are we reading the same thread? Would a blog from a happy sahm be published like this?

thedevilsavocado Fri 24-Jul-15 13:01:51

Why is this a guest post? It doesn't say anything that hasn't been said over and over again and it does nothing to help mothers whether they are out at work or at home. This stuff makes me so cross. I work full time because I choose to and I can. So does my DH. The difference is that he does not have to put up with other fathers trying to justify their personal choices. I am really disappointed to read this and if I was a SAHM I would be livid.

Flingmoo Fri 24-Jul-15 13:03:38

Okay then, for all folks who have been offended by this uplifting blog post, here is a new MN/blogosphere rule!

No more blog or forum posts which celebrate aspects of parenting which only apply to a finite group of parents. Only generic statements can be made. Struggling with your decision and not sure if you made the right choice? Sorry, under the new rules we can't tell you any benefits of the choice you've made, otherwise the people who made a different choice will cry because they think we're implying their choice was wrong.

Yes, its obviously black and white like that. Cycling is good exercise you say? No, you can't say that under this new rule, because the people who walk instead of cycle might be offended as it's clearly implied that no other transport methods are good exercise. Not just implied but shoved down their throats! No wait, smugly shoved down their throats! Gasp!

Here's my latest blog post:

All parenting choices equal and have no benefits or disadvantages to speak of by Mamushka

Feeling unsure about being a working mum or a stay at home dad? Worried breastfeeding isn't working out? Society telling you that whatever choice you make, it's wrong? Well, have no fear because every choice you make is equal. There aren't any disadvantages to any of the choices you've made. There aren't any beneifts either - everything is grey and neutral and no-one has any opinions on the matter! What, you think you've actually made a good choice for your family? Jeez, don't shove it down our throats - we don't want to hear it. Remember, everyone is equal and there are no benefits to doing anything. No-one is offended and everyone has a completely neutral opinion on everything.

The end. Hope this clears things up and I heartily look forward to my new rule being implemented here on MN... Now excuse me while I go and watch some paint dry.

BeautifulBatman Fri 24-Jul-15 13:06:47


StealthPolarBear Fri 24-Jul-15 13:09:53

Well tbh as a working parent I found it a bit cringey. Tbh I found it fed into the whole issue if why do mothers work, it's one huge attempt to justify it. I work because ... well I do. Why does dh? And agree with a pp that if I was a sahm I'd be furious at some of the implications.
As I usually say on these threads. Sahm are lazy and workshy. Wohm are neglectful and lazy. The reality is somewhere in between.

LadyFuckrington Fri 24-Jul-15 13:16:00

I tried working full time with three kids and had a nervous breakdown. So now I'm a SAHM. And that article has made me feel supremely shit. Thanks.

CultureSucksDownWords Fri 24-Jul-15 13:38:07

When you return home to the kids, you tend to be more refreshed, energetic and present - I disagree with this, it surely depends heavily on your job. In my old job I came home stressed, knackered and somewhat vacant, with more work to do at home. I've changed jobs and this is completely different, and I am much more relaxed and energetic when not at work. Lots of SAHPs will be entirely happy to be at home, and not frazzled by it. They would also be independent and capable, why on earth wouldn't they be?

You never get lonely - again this depends on your job, and also on what type of person you are as to whether it bothers you.

they are teaching their children the value of hard work, decision-making and compromise. It is naive to make a statement like this, where there is a underlying assertion (whether accidental or deliberate) that a SAHM is not doing this or cannot do this. I also don't think that working by definition means that you will be teaching the value of hard work, decision-making and compromise.

Donatellalymanmoss Fri 24-Jul-15 14:14:29

Who has time to write this kind of blog? I just get on with living my life and doing whatever I feel is best in my life circumstances whatever, the only time I ever get into long rambling justifications about things is when I feel judged. I found the effort I made for these, even though they were just in my head, a little tiresome, so I decided to stop giving a fuck about other people's opinions.

Oh and in case your wondering, I would normally just ignore these threads but I clicked on it by accident and am a bit bored.

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