To Work Or Not To Work?

This week I have invited an old friend and a new blogger, Emma, to write a guest post for A Mum Track Mind. Emma blogs at The Little Oat Tree  and like myself, has recently returned to work post-maternity leave.

In this guest post, Emma questions the reasons you have returned to work once you’ve had a baby  and encourages us all to be honest about our feelings.

So without further ado I will hand you over to Emma…


Are you unhappy being a working parent? Are you honest about how you feel?

Even with friends are you brutally honest about why you’re working?

I suspect being rather “British” about certain aspects of life, that we aren’t. We skim the surface and don’t ask each other the honest questions we’re probably all desperate to hear the answers to.

So let me start –

  • Are you just going back to work because you can’t afford not to?

For many, finances will play a large role in this decision. For you the only answer may be “yes, I have to go back to work for monetary reasons.” End of story.

If so, you are doing what you have to do to provide for your family.

You still have the right to struggle with going back, choice or not. It’s normal to struggle with leaving your baby but you should be proud that you are providing for your family.

There’s another side to that loaded financial question though…

  • I can’t afford not to go back to work if I want to keep my house and lifestyle.

I imagine I’m not the only one who would edge away from this discussion. If you admit this is why you have gone back to work, what kind of person am you? Are you selfish, a bad mum already? Is it wrong to work hard and get something in return?

I don’t think it is. In fact, I think we should praise you for having the guts to give it a go. Aren’t we all meant to have a fair shot at “having it all”?

  • What if, you just don’t want to be a stay at home parent?

You’re driven, ambitious, career focused.  Or maybe you enjoy engaging your brain in a different way to messy play?

Staying at home full time isn’t an option, regardless of your financial circumstances.

You may be confident you’ve made the right choice but it doesn’t make the process of going back to work any easier.

It doesn’t mean you don’t struggle and you don’t miss your baby. Or that you don’t dream of what you could be doing together and question your choices. Neither does it mean you don’t re-evaluate your financial situation, do the sums, decide to downsize or skip the holidays, then bottle it completely because you actually like working.

People shouldn’t belittle your role as a parent because you want to also have a career. Surely you’re a good role model for the next generation – inspiring passion and ambition?

Last but by no means least –

  • What about a stay at home parent. Aren’t you also a “working” parent after all?

Anyone who’s looked after a child for more than five minutes knows it’s not a walk in the park. I’ve been at home for a year, and although incredible, it’s hard work. There’s still chores to do, food shopping to do, and to look after a human being who is solely reliant on you.

I’m sure that any stay at home parent also has days when they’re not happy with their “job”.

Housebound by our lovely weather, or you have a tantrum throwing toddler – the result is a bad day at the “office”. When you have a bad day, do we say to you “well why don’t you just quit?!”

No, we don’t because you can’t quit. You can’t quit being a parent.

You need an equally non-judgemental shoulder to cry on about your bad day, just as much as anyone else.

So whichever type of parent you are if it’s been a bad day (week, month…year) – let’s be honest with how you are feeling without fear of judgement for your decisions.







  1. January 15, 2017 / 22:10

    I love this brutally honest q&a approach. I’m going back after my second mat leave soon and I’m quite looking forward to it. I find being home with two little ones hard work. I have very little time to get anything done (I can pay a bill in 2 minutes from my office which is more than can be said when I’m with my toddler). I can go to the loo. Put some make up on. Use my brain. Have an uninterrupted (well, sometimes!) conversation. I need to go back financially as we live in a small two bed flat and I want to move to get more space. My choice, wanting more. I know some people will say kids want time rather than things etc, but it’s about the family. That’s all 4 of us. What I DO want though is a bit of balance. I’ll miss them like crazy. I’ll miss the funny and sweet things they’ll do every day. I’d like to go four days a week if I can and ideally do a job from home in a few years time when they are at school so I can do the school runs. I don’t want to miss out on them growing up but I don’t like feeling as frazzled as I do now. Whatever choices we make, I know there is always a lot of soul searching behind every decision. At least we have choices though. I know I’m in a privileged position to have some. Thanks for a thought provoking read!

  2. January 15, 2017 / 23:26

    I love this! I think we need a whole lot more of patting each other on the back rather than tearing into each others’ decisions. I’ve been a stay at home mum for 6yrs and I question myself all the time – do my kids deserve a wealthier lifestyle? Am I putting them at a disadvantage (emotionally and academically) by not sending them to a nursery?

    There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to family and family decisions.
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Why Ignoring Quiet Alana Could Make You A FoolMy Profile

  3. Julia
    January 16, 2017 / 13:10

    Love this honest interview!

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