Position Vacant: Working Mama (guilt need not apply!)

Position Vacant: Working Mama (guilt need not apply!)

Are you a working Mum? As in, are you a Mum who also has a paid job that you go to regularly? Yep. Me too. And I love it.

I love being a Mum, but I also love working. And if I’m perfectly honest – some days I love working more than I love being a Mum. Some days, when the girls are abso-freaking-lutely doing my head in, I’d much rather be at work. Why wouldn’t I prefer to be in my lovely quiet office, with a hot cup of tea and a caseload full of clients who probably aren’t going to pee, poo or vomit on me, nor call me an “old bogan”, cry incessantly for 6 hours for no apparent reason, slam doors in my face, or try to force-feed me their half chewed piece of cucumber?

Being a Mum is a tough gig, and some days, the payoffs just don’t seem to show up. I was talking to another lovely Mumma on Saturday night about how much we “give” of ourselves as Mums. Every single day – give. give. give. And kids are pretty amazing at take. take. take. It’s a rare day when the give:take ratio ends up in Mum’s favour. So here’s how I see parenting – it’s a long term investment really. The hard work you put into your kids every single day is like compound interest. That $0.05 per day doesn’t seem like much, but in 18 years you’re going to reap the rewards!

Mother with children using laptop in kitchen

But back to working mums. Perhaps the reason I some days prefer work to “mummy duties” is because that give:take ratio is much more in my favour when I’m at work. I work just as hard at work as I do at home, but at work I get great feedback from my clients. I get a verbal confirmation that what I’m doing on that particular day is incredibly valuable and appreciated. I also get a great sense of pride that I’m using my brain and intellect and making the most of those several years of post-high school study. Plus I get paid real money, which is generally society’s way of evening out the give:take ratio.

Now please don’t get cranky, because I’m simply being honest here. Over my almost four years as a Mum one thing I know for certain is that there isn’t nearly enough brutal honesty amongst the general “Mama” community out there. So it’s my mission to #keepitrealmama

I’m writing this post for all of you amazing Mums out there who do go out to work, who love it and who are sick of being told that it makes them somehow less of a Mum, or that they’re doing their kids a disservice.

I think it’s about time we working Mums stopped apologising for everything we think and feel, and started being honest with ourselves about why we work and how we feel about it.

Just because you work, and love to work and are quite happy (ie, not guilty at all) about dropping your kids off to childcare – doesn’t make you a bad Mum. It doesn’t mean you love your child any less than a Mum who doesn’t work, or who does work but chooses not to use childcare, or whatever. It just means that your values are different to those people. It’s not better or worse. It’s just different. Embrace that. Be true to who you are. Be honest with yourself and with others. Because by living your truth, and releasing yourself from the “guilt” society says all working Mums have to face, you’ll be doing the best thing ever for your health and wellbeing.

I’m not a fan of “mummy guilt”. Never have been, never will be. It’s a particularly useless emotion. I understand that guilt, in its purest form, is essential in our society. If you maliciously hurt someone, then hell yeah, I want you to feel guilty. But don’t feel guilty for going back to the job that you love. For continuing in a career you’ve spent years and thousands of dollars studying, for doing work which makes a difference in the world, for earning an income to be able to feed your family, or to be able to buy yourself a new pair of designer sunnies without feeling like you have to ask “permission” from your husband. And most definitely don’t feel guilty for being an amazing female role model for your children (your daughters AND your sons) – for demonstrating the truth that women can do, be and have anything they want to be – including being a Mum who also works – or a worker who’s also a Mum. Don’t feel guilty about that.

Feel proud. Feel alive. Feel like you’re contributing to your family, to society, to your own personal fulfilment.

Feel happy and confident to be you. Because that’s all you need to be.

Cheers, Sarah xx