Oliver is seven weeks old now and I will be back at work in two weeks. I’m lucky that his dad works midweek days and I work mostly evenings and weekends. I also have close family to help out.
I’ve always been frustrated by women that refer to themselves as “full time mother”. It is even more annoying when they list it on a Facebook profile or even worse, a CV! (Yes that happens!) First of all, why the full time? Is there such thing as a part time mother? Self employed mother? Christmas temp mother? It doesn’t make sense to align occupational jargon with motherhood. It’s not a job. If we insist on using occupational jargon the only word I’d be tempted to use is vocation. It is a calling for most women and most women adapt very well and are therefore ‘made’ for motherhood. (Evolutionarily speaking, aren’t we all? That’s a rant for another day.)
I do not consider myself to be a full time mother. If I were hiring full time staff I’d be looking at offering 40 hours per week. Staff also need 11 hours break in between shifts and shouldn’t work more than 12 consecutive hours and are entitled to a break every 4 hours. Who do I sue? My mothering hours do not match the full time working regulations. I do not clock in and out. I am constantly a mother.
I believe there are two categories of women who refer to themselves as full time mom. You will fit into one of them…
1. This is a genuine belief. Some women seriously liken motherhood to a career. They find it hard and stressful at times. They feel entitled to a break. They feel hard done by if they don’t have a holiday. They like to share the workload. They compare their ‘career’ to other mother ‘colleagues’. They believe that being a mom means you don’t have to go to work.
2. It is a justification. Unfortunately, in our modern society, if you didn’t have a salaried career pre-pregnancy then it doesn’t make financial sense to return to work while you are mothering a baby or even toddlers. If you have an entry level/ minimum wage job you’ll be earning approx £250 per week before tax. That isn’t even a set figure because hourly paid staff are subject to having hours cut or shifts swapped. The statutory maternity pay is currently £136 per week, guaranteed. So you can return to work for a poxy £100 extra and miss valuable bonding time. Oh wait, if you’re at work, who is looking after your baby? If you’re lucky enough to have reliable grandparents or partner that works opposite hours then great, £400 a month is worth it. What is the other option? Daycare! Which will cost around £150 per week. So it really isn’t worth going back to work. (Obviously this is a rough calculation. This is not taking into account any benefits that the mother receives or the fathers employment status.) The point is for a lot of women it isn’t worth going back to work. I feel like many mothers feel they need to justify their lack of employment by listing their ‘job’ as mother because the fact of the matter is, they are unemployed. Once again I will say, value has nothing to do with money! Why should anyone be embarrassed that they’ve chosen to raise their own child? Concentrate on your own life and ignore negative opinions. Ok, if you’ve never had a job in your life and keep having kids to get benefits then maybe be embarrassed about your scrounging state. Normal working class mothers, you don’t have to justify anything. Stop likening motherhood to employment and get on with enjoying it!
I was lucky enough to have a salaried career at 21 and waited until I was 28 to have a child. Personally, I feel your employment status is quite important when you choose to have a baby. There are obvious financial implications, it’s not cheap having a baby. I spent all of my savings in a matter of weeks on baby essentials. You need a stable home and need to be able to pay your bills. Babies aren’t like shoes, you can’t just have one because your friend had one. It is a long term thing and you need to be ready. However, the main reason I will go back to work is I want to be a role model to my children. I want them to learn that we go to Disneyland because mommy and daddy work hard. I want them to learn the value of money. I want them to think about the kind of job they would like when they grow up. I can teach them all of these things alongside my full time job as a bar manager.