Working away from home

It’s Okay To Love Your Kids And Your Job

Author: Becky Sappor

Being a parent is hard. There are endless decisions to make. And I’d say 99% of decisions you make aren’t made without consideration of your offspring. Even down to buying a new coat… ‘But can I wipe the muddy boot prints off the bottom of this coat after they’ve inevitably fallen into a puddle and I have to carry them, their bags and their scooter back from the park?’

Last year I made a decision about a shift in my working life which was made more difficult with having my boys. I’d not considered anyone else in the thought process so found it very interesting when people decided to pass comment on my choices both directly and passively. Sorry what? Will we ever reach a stage where people just do them and find themselves unconcerned with everyone else’s business?

I spent a large portion of Leo’s school life being able to do every drop off and every pick up, whilst being able to maintain a steady career and for that I feel very very lucky. But I am aware that I have been in a real position of privilege for the couple of years he’s been at school. I’ve seen children walk in to the classroom from ‘breakfast club’ and at the end of the day they’re never there because they’re already on their way to the after school club. That’s because their parents work full time and have very little flexibility. I imagine many of you may find yourselves in a similar position to those parents.

It’s a tough job knowing you’re at work all day and they’re at school from 8 until 6. It feels like a long day for them and you worry about being judged. But here’s my take on it, for what it’s worth. You are doing an absolutely stellar job. You’re child is safe and happy. You are working your arse off, sometimes maybe to keep your head above water or because you don’t have a choice or sometimes it’s because you love your job. And just because you love your job doesn’t mean you don’t love your children. Sometimes as women I feel like we’re not ‘allowed’ to make sacrifices to further our careers without risk of being judged.

Just because you can’t do every drop off and pick up doesn’t make you less of a parent compared to one who can do it all, to one who never misses an assembly or a Mothers day breakfast at nursery (hard swallow). Making the decision to carry on in a job you enjoy and want to dedicate time to doesn’t make you a bad parent. Enjoying time to yourself away and being challenged by your peers instead of your children for a change doesn’t make you any less present. There’s room to love both your kids and your job.

I have exclusively worked from home for the last 6 years. Can you imagine that? How very lucky I have been to be in a position to make that choice. But at the back end of last year I chose to work differently. Working from home takes a massive toll on your wellbeing. It can be very isolating and lonely. It can be hard to find motivation when you only have your dog or Alexa to talk to. Some days I would find myself unable to form a sentence on the school run without bursting into a coughing fit because I simply hadn’t spoken all day.

When Rock My was sold last year I had the opportunity to join the team at their new head office and I was absolutely thrilled at the thought. People. In actual real life. To bounce ideas off, to chat to, to further my skills. The only crux… the office was two hours away from home. That’s not an easy commute for anyone.

What would that mean for the boys? Probably a night without me. Longer days at school for Leo (Tayo already did 8-6 at nursery three days a week). The chance to get dropped off and picked up from school by Daddy. A night playing Mario Kart with Daddy. Bed time with Daddy where he makes up the most amazing stories. A more chilled morning because Daddy is much less frantic than Mommy is about the school run.

What would it mean for me? A long drive. A night without the boys. Alone in a hotel. Hang on… Some time to myself? A whole night away from them, every week? A chance to rest up, recoup? Every week? What sort of selfish parent would allow themselves that ‘luxury’?

But the list kept on growing…

A chance to get myself out of a work rut. To have colleagues who I saw in real life. To be able to say ‘Hey can you look at this – Im not sure it’s quite right but I can’t put my finger on it’ instead of having to email that through to someone and wait days for a response if working days didn’t line up. A chance to watch others work. See what they do, how they manage their days, their time, absorb incredible work ethics and take those best practices into my own career and inevitably come out a stronger business owner at the end of each day. Maybe I’d gain some confidence back and expand my knowledge too.

The list of benefits for me (Selfish Sally) seemed to outweigh the list of negatives for the boys. So I went for it. I now work away one night every week. I don’t settle particularly well at night but that’s just how I am but I feel quite… liberated. I’m getting so much more stuck into my work. Productivity levels have gone through the roof and it’s so fascinating watching everyone thrive and feeling like I’m thriving too. And the boys? They barely notice I’m not there and love a quick FaceTime with me to tell me how late Daddy was to pick them up.

If you love working from home that’s great. If you enjoy being in your office from 9-5 every day then I’m so pleased you’re happy in your position. And that’s my point. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do as long as you’re making the right decision for you and your family. At the end of the day we’re all doing what we think is best and we’re the only ones that matter. I don’t need to be at a desk hundreds of miles away to work hard and do my job well. But I choose to be. For myself, to further my career, to help fulfil my 5 year plan, for my future.

Ultimately, I choose to do it for them.

We’re big believers in Mother Pukka’s Flex appeal campaign and a few weeks back she said
‘Every bit of me wants to be with you but equally doesn’t want to lose me in the process. I just want you to know that it was for something. I don’t want ‘it all’ but this is my something while you are my everything.’

They are and will forever be my everything. But I have plans. If I’m to be a successful business owner I need to challenge myself and take the steps that I think are necessary in order to grow my business. I want to give the boys all the things they deserve and to set myself up to be in a strong successful position when they eventually fly the nest and have their own lives. I very much live in ‘the now’ and make a priority of being that way but the future is never far from my thoughts. And by allowing myself that time away, that head space, they’re ultimately getting so much more of me in the process because I come back refreshed, invigorated and appreciate my self worth much more. I’ve spent years feeling like no one has seen the best of me and I can slowly start feeling my best creeping back in.

I want this post to remind you that if you’re in a position where you work long hours or are away from your children, through circumstance or choice, that you’re doing a great job. We’re all different, at different stages of parenting, living different circumstances and you should never feel judged by anyone for the choices you make. The enjoyment you take from your work, or simply finding your own space should never come into question. No one is better than you or should make you feel less than them. We should all be able to do what is right and what works for our families without fear of judgement.

Author: Becky Sappor
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42 thoughts on “It’s Okay To Love Your Kids And Your Job

  1. Totally agree. Also I think it’s important to point out that just because we make different choices to our friends/peers/colleagues doesn’t mean that we think their choices are wrong or that we are judging them for doing it differently.

  2. I literally had a conversation with another mum at a birthday party on Saturday and I got the raised eyebrow and the pitying “oh how do you find that” when I said I worked four days a week meaning my 5 and 2 year olds are in school/childcare for full days on those four days. My response was that I needed something in my life that was mine and I am not built to be a stay at home mum and role play and do crafts all day every day. But then I felt like I had to defend myself and insist that I do love my children. I mean what is that?!! Why do I feel I have to defend my decisions to a near stranger? But there is such stigma about our choices.

    And in all honesty I’ve probably been on the other side before, raising an eyebrow when I’ve heard other choices, which I don’t feel great about. Probably some of that is jealousy due to my situation limiting my choices compared to some others (not cool, but I want to be honest on here)…but as a society we all need to be a lot more open and supportive of different ways of managing the balance of family, career, and having something for ourselves.

    1. Nat thanks so much for your honesty, I ran a business where I was providing a working environment where my team had maximum flexibility yet I ironically didn’t, and it got to a point where it became unfair for me and my family and I started to feel very conflicted/unhappy about it. I didn’t quite get to the stage of feeling bitter, but I would have done, had I not changed my mindset and ultimately my situation. I’m sorry you felt you had to defend your choices, sounds to me like you have a really good balance. None of us are responsible for the way others act/judge, we’re only responsible for our own, and our closest loved one’s, health and happiness.

    2. Nat I’m really pleased to hear that you feel you can be open here. That feeling of needing to defend yourself is such a strange one isn’t it? And I guess the urge is stronger to justify to near strangers because those who know us well wouldn’t pass judgement because they’d have a better understanding of us as people and our circumstances. I’m glad you’ve found something for you along the way x

  3. Beautifully written Becky. Why do we feel the need to justify our life choices once we have children. I’ve just returned to work after my second and I feel a lot calmer and positive about work than I did after my 1st. I don’t feel the need or pressure to justify my 3day week to colleagues or to do 5days work in 3! My youngest is usually one of the last in his room to be picked up from nursery if I’m doing pick up but I refuse to feel bad as he is so happy there. Yes it’s tiring for them but that does make for quick bedtimes during the week 😂. My eldest is at school nursery and loves breakfast and afterschool club (actually cheered yesterday that he was going!), he mixes with older children and gets to run around the school hall with his nursery buddies.
    I should add my husband still works full time and no one asks him how he ‘copes’ with the juggle.

    I do miss you chocolate digestive chats on Instagram stories. But glad you’ve found a balance x x

    1. Haha Vicky – the chocolate digestives are still there in the background 😉 Thanks so much for your contribution to the discussion. And I love that your little one does a little cheer heading in to breakfast club! x

  4. This post is so well timed as I have just agreed my days and hours for returning to work after mat leave. It’s the hot topic in my NCT WhatsApp group too. Before my baby, even when pregnant with her, I was convinced that despite looking forward to spending precious time with my little one, I would also look forward to returning to work. I was never a maternal person and I thought I would really struggle with my life focused around a baby. How wrong could I have been. I feel incredibly torn over the whole situation. I have to go back to work as we can’t afford for me not to go and I know that nursery will be really good for her, but it doesn’t make it any easier to think about the long hours she will spend there. It also doesn’t help that this weekend has been spent in hospital, with her spending time away from us in scary situations which has made her incredibly clingy to me (her dad can’t even hold her without her screaming and reaching for me). I am hoping by the time my return date rolls around, I will be more at peace with the situation and ultimately if it doesn’t work, we will look at alternatives to try and make the balance better.

    1. Hi Jo, I was nodding along to your comment and just wanted to offer a bit of reassurance. Firstly you are not alone, every parent battles with the thought of their children not being with them, whatever the circumstances and I can tell that you are obviously trying to find the right option for you/your family. Secondly every child I know has loved nursery/playing with other kids (they all have their off days when they would rather stay at home – that’s life). Iris is at the stage where she just gives me a quick wave and runs towards the rice crispies 🤷🏼‍♀️….and thirdly, if it doesn’t work out you can always look to change it/find out what does work for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your hospital visits, I hope your daughter is on the mend now x

    2. Oh Jo I’m sorry to hear about your hospital visits over the weekend. I hope your little girl is on the mend.

      I think you have qualified my point perfectly. This is exactly what I was trying to say. You never know what someone is going through or why they make the choices they do, choice or circumstance… We’re all just trying to do our level best and we don’t need to be belittling each other in the process. Wishing you all the luck with work x

    3. Jo,

      Sorry to hear your little one has been poorly, hope she’s ok now.

      I’ve just returned back to work since having my little girl. I was exactly like you assuming I’d be ok with it beforehand but leading up to it was horrible! For the first two weeks I was pretty heartbroken I’ll be honest. Genuinely didn’t think I could do it.

      BUT 3 more weeks later it’s totally fine! We have both got used to it. She has a lovely time at her childminders going on trips out, being around other children, and doing all the messy craft activities my new grey carpets and white walls wouldn’t thank me for!!

      As for me I have regained a sense of balance and confidence I’m not sure I even knew I was missing. I know I’m good at my job, I’m proud of my achievements so far and am I’m looking forward to my future achievements. I am ultimately working for my little girl and our life together and I know she’ll be proud of me for that. Just wanted to say, you’ll be fine 🙂 xxx

  5. Such a great post Becky and so true what Katie said above that just because we all make different choices it doesn’t mean we’re judging anyone else’s. Everyone is different, has different situations and has to do what works best for them at that point in time and stage of life. I am really lucky in that I love my job and have an amazing support network but I still feel the pressure to juggle everything perfectly and feel guilty for not spending 24/7 with my boys. I also love that Mother Pukka quote and her whole campaign 🙂

  6. Excellent post. I have always battled with the time spent away from my children, ironically to provide a place of work where for many years, the team benefitted from completely flexible working – ie part time, any time, from wherever. It got to a point where I simply wanted some of that freedom for me and my girls too and the sale of the business has enabled me to find a much better balance. As well as the non judgement you mention above – everyone is responsible for making their own choices, putting their own and their family’s health and happiness first and find what works for them. I find any deliberately spiteful not-so-subtle digs on social media against parents choosing to progress their career distasteful and cowardly, and it says a lot more about the person making them, and those supporting it, than it does about whoever it is aimed at. I am so glad you are happy with the new set up, the office has become such a hub of positivity and creativity….and biscuits 😂 We’re all just doing our best, long may it continue x

  7. Great post Becky and sounds like you have reached a wonderful balance for now, long may it continue. We are incredibly lucky that our parents split the 3 days a week I work between them to look after our son – it means he is creating an amazing relationship with his grandparents and I feel a bit less guilt about being at work. But still when I have been working on a Tues and Weds, by Thurs he just wants Mama. I enjoy my job, in fact have changed since in the year I went back post mat-leave and it’s definitely for the better, having a child has spurred me to make sure that if I am away from him, it has to be at least for something I enjoy!! And I’ve been in the fortunate position to make that change xx

  8. Great post Becky. I have been back at work full time since my little girl was 9 months old (she’s now 5 and in year 1). She loved nursery and absolutely loves the wrap around care at school – we are really fortunate that it is really flexible, and they also facilitate children attending after school clubs run on site by external groups – so she can be dropped at Rainbows and Cheer by Clubhouse, which is amazing! My office is super flexible so I finish early a couple of days a week, and she is sometimes annoyed to see me because she is too happy playing with her friends and she sometimes requests to stay for tea at Clubhouse!!
    I have never really felt any guilt at being back at work full time, I needed to financially, and for my own well-being. What I have found though, is that this makes my weekends at home very precious, and I do struggle with feeling guilty if I do something for just me that takes away from my time with my girl!

  9. Amy Clubhouse sounds immense! I love that they have the facility to be able to take the children to their associated clubs as well.

    I know what you mean about weekends. They are super precious aren’t they. I also find that time with my husband is often limited so when I do things at the weekend with girlfriends I feel the pressure of needing to see him as well as the kids. Such a fine balance getting everything right isn’t it but what I have learnt to do is say no a lot more. And that gets easier the more you say it. You can’t always pack everything in can you and if some weekends I feel like I really need to just slob on the sofa with him then that also takes priority. Really nice to hear that you’re finding a good balance x

  10. This post really resonated with me too Becky, thanks for sharing. I often feel guilty and like I’m failing at work and failing at home trying to juggle all the different responsibilities that seem to fall to me as ‘mum’. I’ve bitten the bullet the last few months a bit like you and put my youngest into childcare so that I can progress my business and take something back for me.

    I don’t think you’re ever prepared for how lost you can feel after you become a mother, it can be so easy to lose yourself and the things that make you happy in the process of putting your all into caring for the little ones and none of us should ever feel guilty for needing still to have something that’s just for us.

    I’ve found a really good podcast recently which is all about inspiring women who combine careers and having a family. It’s called Leaders With Babies and the episode with Mother Pukka is particularly good, lots of tips on how to juggle things and reframe thinking.

    1. Lynne thanks so much for contributing and I will definitely check the podcast out. I hope everything is going well with your business. Good luck! x

  11. Yes to all of this! I find it hard as I had a tough time going back to work after mat leave due to a complicated redundancy, and a child who seemed to get every illness going! The mum guilt was real, going to a job I disliked and leaving my boy who really did need me as he bounced from one illness to the next with teething in between. The 1-2 year in nursery is just hard I think. I still find it tough being apart from him but we have found our groove somewhat a year and a half in to me being back at work. It just takes time and adjustment I think, and some honest chats with yourself as what you thought you would want doesn’t always end up being right, as with everything child-related! I now work 70% over 3 days and yes that means the days are long for him at nursery BUT I’ve recently stopped feeling the guilt when he is the last child there as it means excellent value for money, he is getting 1-2-1 care from a childcare professional and he loves that quiet time painting or crafting with his keyworker at the end of the day. My new employer is also flexible so I don’t have to travel to the London office on days it doesn’t work for me, I can work from home any day (and often do on Fridays to use my lunch hour for chores to get a head start on the weekend), and I just feel SO much better. I know I am a better mum with structure and an identity outside the home, but if I have another baby we have spoken about me potentially taking a sabbatical so I escape that 1-2 year of trying to juggle teething, nursery illnesses etc. But we will see! Xx ps- apologies for the mammoth comment! Xx

    1. India it’s so interesting what you say about that last sort of hour at nursery and them getting some real 1-2-1 time. Tayo recently moved to a pre school at the school he will hopefully attend in September and majority of the children 1, do term time only and 2, do school hours so most days for him he’s there with only a handful of children until 6 and some days, it’s just him from 5 o’clock and I think he really enjoys that quiet 1-2-1 time with the carers.

      I feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head when you’ve mentioned structure too. We are so intent on getting our children into routines to help regulate them when they are small but we don’t do the same for ourselves and we absolutely should. Majority of us thrive in routines and I’m really pleased to hear that you’re finding your feet and a balance that works for you.

      We love a mammoth comment. It’s good to get it all out of your head and on to ‘paper’ xx

  12. Yes yes yes!!! I have taken it upon myself to talk openly and frankly to any and every working parent I come across, mainly at nursery or playgroups, but I feel passionately that no parent should EVER feel guilty for the choices they make about work and home balance. Everyone’s needs will be different, there is no one size fits all approach. But it makes me so sad when I hear mums say to me “I went back to work today and I feel a bit guilty but I quite enjoyed it”. Don’t feel guilty!! You are your own person, it doesn’t make you any less of a person to go to work while you leave your children in someone else’s capable hands. Nor does it make you any less of a person to decide to stay at home and focus on your children. What you do will be the result of a whole load of different choices, probably with some financial reasons thrown in because that’s life. But there is absolutely no need to feel guilty about those choices. Personally, I am not great at the whole arts and crafts and playdoh for hours on end, I feel my children develop much better with people who are trained to educate little ones, and can genuinely meet their educational needs better than I can before I resort to Duggee for 7 minutes of peace! That doesn’t mean I don’t love my children immensely, and I try to make sure my time with them is “quality time”, laughing, playing games, reading books, singing along to Disney in the kitchen, teaching them to cook or whatever it may be. Sure there’s a dose of reality in there, the tiredness, the constant challenges that parenting brings to test us a little bit more. That’s life. But work gives me the space to be me, and by giving me that space it feels like it enables me to be a better mother. Plus it is teaching my children that the world is their oyster and it doesn’t matter whether they are a boy or a girl, they can do anything. My husband and I each leave work early (well, early for us!) to be back for bedtime a couple of times a week, we both cook and split the household chores. We are about as equal as I genuinely think you can be. And to me it can only be a good thing to show our children this is possible!! I also appreciate we don’t all necessarily get the balance we want in life, perhaps we want to work part time but can’t find the right opportunity, or perhaps financially it doesn’t make sense to pay for childcare when working. But we really should not feel guilty or feel like we have to explain those choices. As you say we are all doing the best we can. Great post Becky!!! Sorry for the epic comment, I just feel a bit strongly about this topic 🙂

    1. Don’t apologise Annie! Your comment is really empowering and will definitely be a reminder to readers that the guilt isn’t necessary.

      I find that I’m so absorbed in my work 95% of the time. I’d say 3% of the time I’m procrastinating and eating chocolate digestives and the remaining 2% of the time I think about my children. Imagine having not thought about your children for a couple of hours?! I couldn’t really get my head around that for a long time and felt incredibly guilty but then it dawned on me… The reason I’d not thought about them was because I was so confident in the child care they were receiving. I knew they were happy. I knew they were getting more from an educator than I could give them at home. And then suddenly the guilt stopped. I still think about them obviously but when I do now I think, Aw I bet he’s having his lunch now. Or, I wonder what books he’s read today. Or, I wonder if I’ll have a painting to pick up at the end of pre school. When our children start school we don’t feel the guilt because we know this is something that is ‘mandatory’. It’s expected. Everyone is doing it. That shouldn’t make it any more acceptable than you making the decision for your child to be in child care.

      Thanks so much for your contribution. This line really resonated with me…’But work gives me the space to be me, and by giving me that space it feels like it enables me to be a better mother.’

      Thank you x

  13. Exactly this. I am currently 38 weeks pregnant with my first child and really struggle to express my need to go back to work next year. Financially I need to go back to work after maternity leave, but I also WANT to. I know my feelings may change once she’s here, but I am still me, not just mum. Currently looking into childcare and it is hard to think of my 10 month old being looked after by someone else 4 days a week, and they will be long days, I know that’s also what I need to be the best mum to her and be able to give her what I want to. I have already had a few comments of judgement and the assumption that once she is here I will just never have any interest in my career again, no one assumes that will happen for my husband?? We all do what we think is best for our family, sometime that changes. Thank you for a perfectly articulated post as always. Your doing an awesome job! X

    1. Emma I just can’t get over the assumptions that people make about us and how WE feel and what WE want. There’s just no need to comment at all is there? Like you say, you’re aware your feelings might change but you can’t plan for ‘possible’ feelings. You want to/need to start planning based on today and how you feel in this moment. Yes it might change but then if that time comes you re-evaluate. Either way, you shouldn’t feel like you’re being judged or need to justify yourself. Interesting how people think they can see better into our futures than we can ourselves. Thank you for commenting and good luck with everything x

  14. Becky, I cannot begin to tell you how much this post has meant to me. Over the last year, or to be honest, since I had my daughter over two years ago, I feel like I have slowly been crushed with the constant and ever growing guilt between wanting to do my job well and being the best mother I can be. I had to leave my role due to health issues over a year ago but in the time I was there, I was working every evening until midnight as I ran home as early as I could to spend time with my daughter. But even with this, I never felt I was being the best I could at both. I constantly felt torn by wanting to be the best I could at my job which being the profession it is (teacher) can result in you putting stupid amount of hours in and wanting to be there for my daughter growing up. A year on, I started my own business as an independent teacher and tutor, and it’s grown well, but as I’ve needed more time to devote to it, the more the guilt has come back and hit hard. I run back and forth between lessons to spend time with my daughter and make sure I am there at pre school pick ups and drop offs. I’ve considered putting her with a childminder for one day a week so I have one day I can dedicate to resting (for my health) and working so I don’t have to work every evening once she’s gone to bed. But the guilt has stopped me from following through. There is a constant voice in my head telling me I’m not a real mother because my daughter is always being looked after by grandparents or pre school so I can work with other people’s children or resting; you’re so weak because you can’t look after herself, you rely on everyone else to pick up the slack; look at how exhausted your husband is that’s because you can’t juggle it all. The constant self doubt and guilt is there and I’m constantly trying to jump between everything to be that ‘best at both’ again. And it kills me that I sometimes end up resenting being the part time stay at home mum knowing I’ll have to spend my evenings doing my school work and planning whilst my husband has been at an office all day listening to his music and then gets to play on his game all evening (my husband is a superhero who literally cannot do enough so feel awful I resent his freedom with work). It’s just non stop.
    Now I have a new opportunity that will be full time work but will be from home for a while at least; it might mean travelling for meetings and it means at least a week away in the States. I know it’s going to be a huge boost to our income and although it’s not my passion of teaching, it’s for a CEO I really admire and love working alongside and will be something I can be really good at. But it’ll require a real dedication of my time and will mean requiring more childcare for our daughter and me stepping back more. I haven’t even signed the contract yet and I can feel the tears welling up in my eyes and the guilt at how disappointed she will be that I’m not always there; the shame that I’m not raising my daughter but someone else is. But can’t I just have something for me? I love working – I love my time as a tutor as I get to be who I was prior to being a mother – I come in so energised and hyped up from my work; rather than exhausted from a day of watching the clock. Even writing that publicly makes me feel ashamed that I’m not loving every moment. I know my husband has never once felt this way – it isn’t even something he’s ever considered – I know because we have talked about it. So why do I feel all of this? Why can’t I just want to go to the office and come home in the evenings for stories and bed and think that’s enough face to face time with our daughter? Why can’t I feel not guilty about wanting to have a little bit of me back after losing so much of myself to having a child (my life altering health issues stemmed from the birth of my daughter – not that I regret it for a second, but it has resulted in stepping away from my career due to it).
    Sorry I’ve rambled on – this post just meant a lot to me and I hope I can get to where you are, as I’m so pleased you’ve got the best of both worlds!
    Also I am ashamed to say I have definitely made the judgmental comments in my head (never aloud) but I think it stems from the guilt and I feel awful for thinking it. Xx

    1. I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I mentioned in my write up that, like you, I’ve felt like no one has seen the best of me for years. I’ve not been the best wife I could be. I’ve not reached my potential in motherhood. I’ve made mistakes at work. I am forgetful. I am clumsy. Most of the time I feel like a zombie. So I understand. I understand that you feel like you’re not nailing career and/or parenting. I don’t think any of us are. What we see upfront isn’t always a reflection of what is happening behind closed doors. You must remember that you’re trying your best. And your best is ALWAYS good enough. Always.

      I think, and don’t quote me – I’m not a professional and I can only comment from my own experience – that with parenting there can come a massive loss of self esteem. A real lack of self confidence. It’s this lack of self esteem that leads to the guilt and leads us to asking – but why can’t I shake this guilt? Why aren’t I allowed to be ok with this? Why aren’t I allowed to make the decisions that I think are the right ones? Until we rebuild self esteem and self belief we will struggle to combat all the mixed emotions we feel. I don’t know if you would agree with that or not.

      I too have felt resentment towards my husband for getting to simply leave the house before anyone is awake and come home after they’ve eaten dinner. Whilst in between that I have walked the dog, done 3 loads of washing, cleaned the toilets that they all wee in. Oh and kept my own business afloat where I play designer, account manager, accountant… You name it. What has he been doing in that time? A few meetings and an actual lunch break? I realised that I was being very unfair to him. He works extremely hard and it’s because of him I’m able to do what I do. But please don’t feel bad for thinking those thoughts. I hope me sharing that with you will help you realise you’re not the only one who feels this massive broad spectrum of emotions… ALL the time.

      And the last thing I want to say really (as not sure if any of this waffle is even remotely helpful) is that don’t forget there is help out there to be had. When we feel overwhelmed or guilt ridden or like we can’t get clarity on anything, there are people that can help us process all of these emotions. Never be afraid to reach out to professionals who can help. Life coaches, therapists, a loved one. Whoever it is. The more we talk the better (in the end) we feel, the more we can tackle, head on, the issues that we struggle with on a daily basis.

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I really hope that everything works out with the new job should you choose to take it and you go forward knowing you’re a great mother. If you weren’t you wouldn’t even be worried about any of these things in the first place. xxx

  15. As a new(ish) grandma can I urge young working mums not to worry? This isn’t a new issue – my own mum worked full time because financially she had to. I worked p-t for a few years but full time from then until recently because I wanted to, and had a long and mostly happy career. Now I’m happy to travel to look after my grandchildren one day a week whilst my daughter works 4 days. There’s a lovely nursery for the other days. The reasons I support working parents are many. I firmly believe it does even small children a lot of good to be with others, and don’t worry, parents are still their biggest influencers! Once children are at school most parents want a career for themselves, and whilst money isn’t everything, families can suffer when parents are stressed by money worries and do benefit from extra income if it’s available. As they grow up, children are positively influenced by seeing their parents working hard, contributing to society and hopefully being successful. Parents who are fulfilled by working outside the home are likely to be happier. Oh, and finally – in most cases there are two parents; it shouldn’t always or only be the mums who fret and step in when necessary. Take turns to have days off for illnesses etc. You’re doing the best for your family as a whole. Don’t feel guilty about that, be proud of it.

    1. Jackie, thank you so much for your contribution to the discussion. Everything you have said is bang on the mark and I know it will have made readers feel really positive about work life balance choices. It’s all down to doing the best for our families. We are a team in my house. No one is singular. We make choices that work for our team. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. xx

  16. I don’t have children yet, but I find it so refreshing and reassuring that this is the Rock My viewpoint. People do not have identical circumstances, so why should there be one ‘right’ way?!

  17. Interestingly I got attacks from the other way round – I gave up my city job with clear career trajectory and people couldn’t understand why I would want to. They also said my daughter wouldn’t cope or progress as well when she did go to nursery.
    I was lucky enough to find a part time flexible job so I could stay at home with her for most of the week and then work in the evenings, and then she started going to nursery a couple of days a week at 2 and loved it.
    Basically it doesn’t matter what you do, someone will criticise you!

    1. Same here! I gave up my London career to look after my son and got nothing but criticism. It was the right thing for us but the judgement was overwhelming. We are all just trying to do the right thing at the right time!

      1. Baffling isn’t it Kelly. All you can ever do is go with your gut and make the right decisions for your family right? Thanks for commenting x

    2. Jeez Em. Sorry you got such negative opinions thrust at you. You sound like you have a really good system going. Thank you for sharing your story x

  18. ‘I want to give the boys all the things they deserve and to set myself up to be in a strong successful position when they eventually fly the nest and have their own lives. I very much live in ‘the now’ and make a priority of being that way but the future is never far from my thoughts. And by allowing myself that time away, that head space, they’re ultimately getting so much more of me in the process because I come back refreshed, invigorated and appreciate my self worth much more.’
    Becky – these lines you wrote, I want to print them and wear them on a t-shirt and then just show people when they ask me. You managed to put down exactly what I want to say when I get asked – great post 🙂

    1. Ah Nicola I’m really glad to hear that the post resinated with you. It’s so hard to articulate how you feel at times isn’t it x

  19. Like so many others who have commented, this post is perfectly timed for me as I am about to go back to work full time after having my second baby. Not only that I’m applying for a promotion which will mean I’m busier and more in demand at work than ever before.

    I find two things really dissapointing in others responses to me going back to work and looking for a promotion. Firstly the ‘how sad for you’ response where the assumption is made that I don’t want to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I have super anxiety about it, my baby girl is tiny, she’s only 5 months, I love being with her and the thought of leaving her makes me want to cry …but I also feel challenged, alive, like I’m making a significant contribution to society when I am at work. Why should I be made to feel bad about wanting to be at work.
    The second thing I find disappointing is with regard to the promotion, I’ve been asked several times how I feel about the increase in responsibility when I have a young family. This is a valid question and the people asking genuinely care about my wellbeing, but I have wondered … would this question be asked of my husband if it were the other way around?

    The post was brilliant Becky and made me feel some comfort that this is not just me feeling the mental turmoil of loving both home and work.

    R x

    1. Rachael, a promotion! How exciting. Wishing you the best of luck with everything and really glad you found some comfort in the post and the other comments x

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