As a working mum I suffered for a long time with 'Mum Guilt' and if I'm honest I still do occasionally. My 'Mum Guilt' was particularly bad, as I was suffering from postnatal depression. I already felt like I was failing my baby. I thought everyone was watching and judging my every move as a Mother. A role I had convinced myself I couldn't handle and wasn't cut out for, a role I thought I didn't deserve. The pressure on mum to have it all and be perfect is huge and totally unnecessary.
Throughout my 9 months maternity leave I was constantly asked 'Are you going back to work?' Every time I would reply yes and get the same response 'Oh you'll change your mind when the time comes' 'when it comes around you won't be able to leave your baby' 'can't you just survive on one wage' I'm sure you've all had the same if not similar. The truth was I knew I wouldn't change my mind - I enjoyed my work and plus I needed the money! It's so difficult to survive on a single wage these days. It really bothered me that people thought I should be a stay-at-home mum, but I wanted to be a working-mum, I thought that there must be something wrong with me.
When the time came to return to my job it hit me hard especially as at the time I was suffering with then - undiagnosed postnatal depression. I work Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm. My little man is in nursery Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5.15pm. I knew people disapproved of me leaving my son in childcare. You'd get the usual back-hand comment thrown in every now and then ' I couldn't leave my baby all day ' 'Can't you just go part-time?' Like I haven't thought about this and weighed up all my options! Also they would throw in the big one ' I couldn't leave my children with strangers - who knows what might happen to them, you hear so much bad stuff in the news these days' Thanks a lot that's really blinking re-assuring and helpful to a first time new mum - idiots, I swear some people open their mouths and think after - or most likely don't think at all.
The comments and opinions really didn't help, going back to work after maternity is tough enough without being made to feel like the world's worst mother. I returned to work it was too much to handle and I quickly took a turn for the worst. I began to question myself - I'd left my little man all day and returned to work. Did this mean I was a bad mum? Did this mean I wanted to leave him? Am I doing what's best for him or me? Did this mean I didn't love him? Of course not. I love him to bits and adore my time with him - however I am me as well as mummy and I enjoy having something that's just for me and that's not a bad thing. There's nothing wrong with showing him that mummy and daddy work to provide for him and the family - both together. We are a team.
To those of you who worry about taking your little ones to nursery and being a full time working mummy my advice is :
1. You do what's best for YOUR family
2. Don't be swayed by other people's opinions
3. Don't let other people's opinions make you feel like you're a bad mum
4. Having your childcare in nursery does not mean you don't love them
5. Being a Working Mum is tough - don't be so hard on yourself
You are a fantastic mum! We are all fantastic mums! Whatever decisions we make we all do so with our families best interests at heart and no-one else has the right to make you feel bad for that! Whichever path you take, stay-at-home mum, part-time work, full-time work - I know you do the best you can.
Of course I need not worry about the little man he totally loves nursery and his friends. He's learnt so much so quickly - he's an only child so I love that he's good at playing with others and sharing. He's super confidant and always the star of the show (he makes sure he is!). I have even had people tell me that they originally though me sending him to nursery full time was a mistake, but now they've seen how much he is thriving they think it's the place for him and that they were wrong. Mummy does know best after all.
Mummyitsok blogs about motherhood & mental health at Mummyitsok