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Opinion: Mum About Town – Staying Home

Published on: 8 Feb, 2013
Updated on: 8 Feb, 2013

Mum about TownThe latest of our Mum About Town opinion articles written by “Towny Mummy”. This time she writes about staying at home . . .

It is 9.45pm and the evening has passed in a blur. After getting the children to sleep, I have walked downstairs, washed up and checked my emails. I am now considering going to bed. I wonder if it will ever be possible again to do anything productive in the evenings.

Not for me, not yet anyway. It is the fatal act of sitting down that does it.  Once there, it seems impossible to move and I think, well, I deserve a break, I have been working all day. But have I worked or have I been off all day?
“You’re lucky to be at home all day,” people say, (mostly my husband) and I think am I? Is it even a choice?  It seemed like the choice was taken out of my hands when I first saw Sam, my firstborn son.

I remember realising that he’d always be there, breathing and crying, even if he was away from me, he’d still be somewhere else breathing and crying.

It wasn’t until I’d had him that I realised the physicality of being a mum; in the early days you just can’t imagine being apart from them. I just didn’t want to.

My two are very close, just seventeen months apart, and both under three, but I still feel like I have to justify why I am not at work, I somehow feel lazy for not having a job when others manage to weave one in on top of the housework and everything else.

Part of me still believes that is isn’t enough just to be a mum. But is it really normal to have a baby and then go back to work?  What is normal anyway

Opinion Logo 2Why isn’t the government encouraging mothers to stay at home and give us a living wage for what is the most beautiful and underrated job in the world?

In Germany, a parent can expect to receive 67% of their prior wage, and also their post is held open for them for three years which is much more generous than our current system in the UK.

I know mums who have gone back to work to break even or even at a loss, and I know that there are many reasons for wanting to return to work: a sense of achievement, adult company, to keep a foot in the door, to take home a bit more pay, to feel independent.

But I just wonder if we honoured mothers a bit more for the wonderful and exhausting job that they already did, and the one that they are more capable than anyone else of doing, would they be happier in themselves and feel less pressure to return to work?

Stop striving to maintain ill-fitting jobs, where exhaustion is the norm, where there is never an end in sight, where life is a constant treadmill. What I’m trying to say is, women, give yourselves a break, you do a good enough job already!

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