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.

49 comments

  1. I have only been a parent for four years. One conclusion I have is that parenting is a sport. Everyone is out to compete, to judge, to compare themselves to others.

    We all do the best we can. Working parents, stay-at-home parents … Everyone!

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Every person is unique and therefore how we approach parenting will also be unique. I don’t think it’s up to anyone to judge. I’ve tried lots of different approaches (some due to circumstance I couldn’t control): full time working / full time studying / stay at home / part time working. As a result I’ve experienced the full gamut of responses from pity that I ‘had’ to work full time (I also chose to work), to envy that I could stay at home etc. Love me/judge me/hate me – I don’t care, I know what works best for my family. I am a better parent when I’m also engaged in something that is for me, paid or otherwise, that spins my brain and doesn’t include my family responsibilities (which I take seriously). I love your passion and applaud your willingness to stand up and do what’s right for you 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh dear, I find myself in the same shoes, working full time and not being able to contribute as much as I would for my children, not by choice though but by circumstance. Having said that though, I realize that it helps to draw a line between those things we won’t sacrifice for our children and those things we won’t sacrifice our children for. I tell myself that if I lose my job, I can get another one but if I ‘lose’ my children, how easy will it be to regain them?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you wrote about this. This is something that really gets put more towards women than men. However, I never get the old mentalities who believe that because you are a mother you should not work full-time. Whether it is out of necessity or free choice, you do what you want. That doesn’t define you as a mother. Will your child need time with you? Yes. But the same is for both parents.

    I’m a hands on dad, so I truly understand the strength of quality time between a father and child. But I’m always working and only really get time with her on the weekends. Even that doesn’t make our bond any weaker.

    You know what you should be ashamed of? Bad parenting. There are tons of stay at home slops who don’t do a damn thing yet have the first position in line to criticize. Keep doing what you do. Don’t ever let people and their opinions dig into you.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Fair play to you Angie for being honest , I myself have 5 children all grown up now and I always had to work not only for financial reasons but for me reasons , I also completed a degree and a masters when my youngest was about 13 and he will tell you himself it was the best thing ever in so far as he learned to be responsible for various things in his life that if I had been at home more I would probably have done for him— his washing , making simple meals etc.Just wanted to let you know my children all loved that I had a life outside the home and often remarked how happy they were when I was happy and yes I was happy doing some work , studying and travelling on my own some of the time. So when I was at home with the children; I feel because I felt fulfilled doing what I needed to do I was a happier brighter person to be around than if I was at home constantly. I tried on a few occasions to do the perfect stay at home mammy but it didn’t work for me and the kids used to say hey mom get a life your much more fun when you have a life , they still do say this to me when they see me at home too much and not as they would put it ‘ realizing and trying to reach my full potential’ so be happy in your choices there are millions of us moms that are great moms and we did not need to eat drink and sleep motherhood 24 seven..we were so marvelous at being amazing moms it would just have been too much for our children to handle if they had to have us around the clock lets face it one can only handle a very happy fulfilled mom for so long. .Children need time to themselves also in order to grow and form friendships and if mothers are constantly overseeing their development it will in my mind be hindered . On a more serious note I feel that because my life sometimes took me away from the children there health safety and play etc was always well organised and thought out , we always had regular family meetings and these were great times for airing each child’s views on everything that was happening in their lives.
    . As I write now about it I actually have no regrets; loved every minute of it and as I now become more accepting of myself I realize being who I am I couldn’t have done it any different . I am also grateful that my work was always freelance so therefore I could do the perfect mummy for a few weeks but always knew when it was time to get more work for myself in order to remain sane sort of; .anyhow the children and my husband would remind me nicely’time you got a life again mom’ ha ha . Your post was so honest and this is such a lovely characteristic to have as we all know that there is no such thing as the perfect universal way to live our lives but we also know that honesty and love is the making of a truly lovely person . Kind Regards Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathy, I am really touched by your response to my post, thanks so much for this! It is reassuring to see I am not that odd and hear it from a mum of five. I did stay at home for 11 months with my second baby and thoroughly enjoyed that, but I think it was because, as you say, I knew I was going back to work afterwards. I always thought I’d be happier to work until about 3 pm, so I could balance it out better, but that’s life, my job is full-time and I like it. Thanks again and take care! Warm regards

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  6. I think it’s less of a question of working mom v stay at home mom. I think the question is one of priority. If we put our spouses and children first and are able to balance that I believe we will see our world will be more balanced and we won’t feel so bad or guilty. I am a working mom who has been praying to the Lord to move me into being a stay at home mom, but in the interim, God has had me give up all that “extra” stuff in order for me to get my priorities straight. I can see how much happier my kids are that they have mommy home every night after work and they see I put them first.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For many parents it is necessary that both father and mother has to work to meet their expenses. Sometimes they may not get much time to spend with children, but still they find time and take care of them well. Some parents are unable to enjoy and prove their hidden talents because they have to spend full time for children. Doing a job doesn’t mean that you are not loving the children. This is also our duty to God to use our talents for the benefit of children and for the world. This is life, we have to follow according to the will of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. who cares what people think or say. Are you happy? are your kids happy and you spend quality time with them when you can? great. People who are stay-at-home parents don’t always give everything to they children, engage them in conversation, paint and read with them. they see them every single minute and sometimes have got enough of them. It’s the same when people don’t have children, they are being judged and pitying even though they are accomplished and happy people. Remember, people never say something because of you, their comments say more about them. Maybe friends on facebook are jealous of you having a career? or maybe they are just narrow minded folks who should mind their own business? don’t worry, in 10 years no one will remember who said what, but time will show who had better parenting skills and it doesn’t depend on how much time you spend with your kids but how your spend that time with them. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think there is nothing wrong with what you are doing or whatever other people are doing too, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone else then it’s all gravy.

    I think a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to justify to other people why they do or do not do something. It is none of their business and I care not about their feelings on it, and nor should you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is no one way to be a parent, no right and wrong to the question of staying at home or working full time, part time, out of town or in town. You’re brave to even ask the question here, because internet people can be horrible, and you open yourself up to the judgements of those who have to question your choices in order to feel better about their own.

    I don’t have kids, but when we were thinking about it, our plan was that I would stay home with them until they were in school, and then I’d be working again. I have a friend who just left a teaching career to be a SAHM to her four kids (three of whom are under age six). I have another friend whose husband is the at-home parent, because her job involves so much international travel. I have friends who have full-time, live-in nannies for their kids. And I have friends who have no choice but to work full time and put their kids in day care.

    Having the choice is a wonderful thing. But not having the choice isn’t a flaw of personality or character.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I don’t have kids, but I know this much: There’s no one right way to be a parent. If we could all stop condemning other people (and, yes, ourselves) for not doing it the way we think they should, we might all be better people.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve done work and stay home. Worked part-time while the kids were little, full-time for a while for various contracts, been the breadwinner (while Mr Home Cook was the house husband), used childcare (mainly to let the kids get some craft experience!). The only thing I never really did was the volunteer angle in a big way. As long as there’s love, care and attention, the kids do well with whatever you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’ve been a working mom for all of my grown daughter’s life. Never. Ever. Feel. Guilty. I was able to give her a far better life than I had. Taking her to work with me from time to time taught her how things work in the world outside our home. Growing up in a middle-class environment taught her not to settle for less. Her other parent isn’t big on earning a living so I set the good example. She is a hard working, smart, educated young woman who knows her mother loves her and taught her well. I’m proud and you should be too. And those people who judge? How nice that they don’t have to work but what are they teaching their kids???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your passionate comment, much appreciated! What triggered this post was actually comments from school which set me off, but this was just the final straw. It can be frustrating to hear people commenting and judging, but reading all bloggers’ comments hear makes me feel better. Thank you for contributing to that!

      Like

  14. I’ve only been a parent for three months so I’m not quite there yet… But I have worked as a teacher and I would never have expected a parent to stay at home all day waiting for their child to return home from school. We have many jobs and parenting is just one of them.

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  15. No! It’s wrong to create a culture that pretends it doesn’t have enough resources so that people “have” to work when they could be home tending to the minds and well being of their children…

    It’s also wrong to judge men and women who are doing the best they can. Maybe some of your critics can offer to babysit…:)

    Of course criticism that offers solutions means compromise.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Some believe it is a sin for a woman to work outside the home, but I find plenty of examples in Scripture where good women worked outside the home. Proverbs 31 is all about a woman who may have had a real estate business and several other business too–enough so that her husband was a judge in the “gates” and likely depended on her income. The famous account of Ruth shows clearly that she labored daily in the fields. Some will say, “Oh, that is Old Testament and we are under the New. Well what about Phoebe? She traveled from place to place with some kind of work.

    I think the bottom line is whether a woman is a keeper (guard) of her home and whether she actually spends quality time with the kids. When our kids were old enough to go to school, I taught school and they went with me wherever I taught. Of course that meant I had to have special permission because we often lived in different school districts.

    Nobody can judge the outcome until the kids and the grandchildren have made life’s choices. Right now we are awaiting the final tally with five children, eighteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Due to your job busy schedule, your children would be independent and they won’t rely on you and that’s good! 🙂 As far as the studies are concerned, you can simply have a quick glance on their homework after coming back from job.

    Liked by 1 person

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