I've also recently been out for a meal with the mums from my daughter's class who are mixture of SAHMs, full-time working mums and part-time working mums. I'm really interested in why they've chosen the path they've chosen, but don't feel I know them well enough yet to ask. Why has the GP and the Account Manager given up work to be a full-time mum? Why have the Teacher and the Planner gone part-time? Why has the Solicitor continued to work full-time? And what did the rest of them do before they had children? Are they happy with their choices? Would they like to go back to work at a later dater, or are they glad to be out of the rat race? The choices facing women in the 21t century are multifold; why have we chosen to do what we do?
And why am I a working mum?
Scary's post made me realise that there is one aspect of my working that I hadn't really appreciated before - independence. I like to think that if the worse came to the worse and I was left alone with daughter, I would be able to provide for us. Working gives me a certain sense of independence. Not in the sense of being separate from my husband, no, I love being married and financially all our money goes in the one pot, we're not a 'my money/your money' type of partnership. No, just a sense of not being dependent on someone else to provide everything. That seems to be important to me.
I've already mentioned before that I'm part of that generation of women who were brought up to believe that they could, nay should, have a career as well as a family. So I work because that's what I expect to do as a result of my upbringing. When I was pregnant it never occurred to me to leave work. I just expected to carry on. I thought about working part-time, but financially that was worse. I would have been in school almost full-time (because of the timetabling) and so paying for full-time childcare on part-time wages, so I thought I would continue to work full-time and see how it went. It was very hard at first and I had to be mega organised and accept that there would be no time for me, but now it is a lot easier. It also helps that daughter attends my school now and that I have all the same school holidays as her so I don't have the hassle finding someone to look after her in the holidays, or the working mum guilt about that.
Then there is also my sense of self; that I value myself by my working worth. When I was on maternity leave, I hated it. I felt like a 'non person'. I felt I had no place in society, that I was of no use and not contributing in any way to society. At this point I realised that I don't even mind paying taxes! I couldn't wait to get back to work. I felt invisible when out pushing the pram, like I didn't really exist. The relief I felt when I walked back into my classroom was tangible. I thought "This is who I am. This is what I do". I feel useful when I'm working.
So, it's been going round and round in my head - independence, expectation, sense of self .........
In the hive of life, I am one of the worker bees!