Working Parent? Shame On You!

Yes, I am a parent of two young kids who works full-time. And am not ashamed of it. Or should I be??

So far on my blog I’ve managed to stay away from my ‘real’ life and not write about it. This time I’ve decided to speak up. Simply because I feel it is important, and because the blogging community is supportive and honest.

This time I invite you to a discussion: is it wrong to be a parent with a full-time job?

I don’t think it is. Although I don’t really work through choice, had I had a choice, I would not have been a stay-at-home mum. Different people are meant for different things. We are not the same. I work and stand by my choice.

At times, though, I question myself: is my choice that odd? It must be – in an area where a huge percentage of the residents life off social benefits. I can do that, too: quit my job and look after my kids. Just because I’ve decided not to, I have to put up with comments and remarks, even signs of pity. Or to always explain why I can’t do parent meetings before 5.30 pm and feel I’m being awkward. Or read comments of ‘friends’ on Facebook explaining how they admire mums who have to work, and how wonderful it is to stay with your kids at home. Rub it in.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my kids. I truly do. I do what I have to for them, and sometimes perhaps a bit more. But that doesn’t mean that their world has got to be my world. I don’t want to be ‘his/her mum’. Excuse me, I have a name! And my own world – which, yes, heavily overlaps with my childrens’, but still there is an island of adult stuff which they have no access to. And I’d rather keep it this way.

If I sound like I feel strongly about it – I actually do, and am not ashamed to admit it. I am ever so used to letters and phone calls from school, and I do pull my weight off in doing my best to work together with them. Somehow, though, a letter asking me to reinforce behaviour at school seems pathetic to me. Or receiving a phone call to say my child refuses to do their work. Right. What am I supposed to do about it: leave my job and come help you do yours? I am sorry for being cynical, but we all do what we have been trained to do.

There are things that only parents can do, no doubt about that. Kids are ill, incidents happen, I am genuinely needed. Yes, my kids come first, and then work comes second. Other times, though, I’d like teachers to do their work and leave us parents do ours.

Does feeling like this make me a bad parent? I don’t think so. But maybe the society will say that I am. Simply because I am an adult with work committments and don’t agree to completely sacrifice them for my kids.

Shame on me.

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