To Work Or Not to work? Go on I dare you……..


Yes it is that time of year again. Unless you are one of the odd people who have placed a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on your letterbox (odd because- I personally love a good thick wad of Junk Mail) you could not have missed the mountains of back to school sales dominating the catalogues.




The first day back at school is fast approaching and for some parents it couldn’t come quick enough. Many have run out of interesting ideas to keep bored children entertained, the play dough is mouldy, the textas are all stubby at the tip and the blow up paddling pools have gone a little green and funky. Parents everywhere are shouting ‘What about the two hundred toys you got for Christmas?’ For others it is a sad time of the year when they lose their babies and hand them over to be cared for by strangers for perhaps the first time in their short little lives. For some it also means that they are left wondering what to do with their spare time, and whether or not it signals time to return to the workforce after the ‘childrearing’ has become more of  a part time job.




It is also back to work for many teachers and educators, and for myself a return to work after spending the year with my family. There are certainly mixed emotions about this. You see I am probably in a small minority of people who adore their children but also actually love what they do. For many years my job was my identity and it was what made me tick. I arrived early and left late, and enjoyed the challenges and rewards of each day. I still believe there is no greater place to work than in a room full of fresh and innocent little people. Even if I could afford to have twenty years off, I would still choose to work.




Then there are the financial incentives. For many, working is essential. There is no magical bank account that continues to top itself up. I have worked from 15 years of age and cannot handle the feeling of ‘not contributing’. Yes sure, I realize my contribution is raising the children, his money is your money blah bah, but at the end of the day I have always earned my own money and contributed in some way. I also love the feeling of independence that comes with earning your own income.




It is also time for my eldest son to spend some time with someone other than me. He is ready, and I am ready too. He doesn’t see many people besides myself and is craving that play time with his peers. He tells me he is so excited to go to Kindy. We are the best of friends but can also have the best of battles. It is like arguing with a 3 and a half year old version of my husband and a couple of days at Kindy will do him the world of good. There are lessons that can’t be taught at home and those that can only be taught and understood in the context of a room full of children. I am so excited to get back, but only for a couple of days a week this time around. I just want to dip my toes into the adult world for a bit, whilst still enjoying vegemite on toast in my undies and the musical perfection that is ‘Playschool’ for the rest of the week.






Then there is the obvious down side. As a worrier, I panic that someone else will be caring for my children. Strangers. Are they really qualified? There is no one who loves my children more than I do, will they hold them if they cry? My ‘little’ one is still so little, what will he think when I leave him?




I was never destined to be a full time stay at home mum, it was never something that I wished or longed for. I still believe it is the hardest unpaid job around. No one knows how hard you work to make it look like nothing has happened all day and the days just roll into one. Whilst I love the clothes and lipstick….I was never going to make a great 50’s housewife. As controversial as this topic is, and always will be, I would love to hear the reasons and circumstances by which mums decide upon their pathways.




Is job satisfaction prior to having children a deciding factor as to whether people even want to return to their jobs?




Is it pressure from our families? Do we follow in the footsteps of our own mothers?




Do we feel less ‘valuable’ to society when we tick the ‘home duties’ box?




Is it just a financial decision?




Is it generational? Most judgement I have received is from ladies nearing retirement.






I think it is all about the great balancing act. Some families want to live like kings and therefore must work full time to afford the lifestyle. Some want to just ‘live’ and so they work their bums off to pay the bills. Some would rather live a humble low income existence and watch their children grow, whilst the lucky ones stay at home and can still afford to live big. Whichever category we fall into, it is not our role to judge the situation of others, we choose what is right for ‘us’ and for our families.  We do not need the opinions of people who are wearing their ‘Mr Judgy Judgy Hats’.




Go on I dare you, What are your thoughts, should women stay at home, or return to the workforce?









9 thoughts on “To Work Or Not to work? Go on I dare you……..

  1. Like you, I wanted to go back to work after having both my kids. Just part time. And horrible as it sounds, I was totally absorbed in work for those few days and almost forgot about the kids. But then I had a few days at home to totally forget about work too. This yr, however, we are swapping roles-I’ll be full time, he’ll be part time. Full time in the classroom for the first time in 6 yrs! I’ll enjoy the money but will really miss the ‘mum-time’

    • Good on you guys! It’s more and more common these days for mum to work and for dad to stay home, the dads certainly gain a better appreciation of your role after this happens. You are so right about ‘being consumed’ for those days. Teaching is not a job you cAn do half heartedly, it’s all or nothing and something always has to suffer, usually it is ‘you time’. I really found this when I returned to a classroom role with a 2 yr old. It was my best year professionally but by the end of the year I fell in a heap wondering how the hell we all did it.. Good luck for the year ahead.. I’m certain you will handle it, albeit with maybe a few tears along the way ( yours not the kids! Haha) )

  2. I feel that I am a lucky one in that after struggling with the issue for a few years I have found a balance between work and home that I am satisfied with. It is not that I do not like being home, I actually rather enjoy it, when I know I also have something going on outside of the home. I do product development and I mainly work from the home and at times I have a hired a sitter at home for a few months to help out and allow me to focus on my work. I know that now all jobs allow for this kind of flexibility and that is why I feel like I am a lucky one. 🙂 I guess there is no right answer!

    • I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head when you say that you enjoy staying home ‘when you have something going in outside the home’ This is exactly how I feel. When you have nothing else you feel as though you are missing out and the world is passing you by, but if you have that ‘something else’ you tend to appreciate the home days much more. Thanks for your insight and for stopping by 🙂

  3. I was once the judgemental person sitting back wondering why these woman were going back to work, especially knowing those that didn’t need to for money. Now, I am a mum. Before having my beautiful baby boy, I worked straight out of university and I believe I was a hard worker. I have now not worked for over 12 months and have been offered part time work. I am feeling the need to return to work. I love my little boy more than anything in the world and miss him when he is asleep but still feel the need to go back to work. I apologise to all of the mum’s I judged. I get it.

    • It’s funny just how many things we ‘change’ our view on when on the other side:) there are many things I thought I would never do as a mum but have, and also many things as an employee that have changed now I’m a mum. I think for me it was about gaining an identity’ other than ‘mum’. I see nothing wrong with some part time mum v part time work:) good luck and thanks for reading 🙂

  4. I can see both sides of the argument…I have friends who gave up work to stay at home and raise their children and they feel so guilty whenever they miss working and having a life outside of the home. Then there’s other Mums who wish they could give up work in order to spend more time at home. It’s always going to be a juggle and a big decision…I think you just have to do what is right for your family and YOU. While I don’t necessarily condone someone working an 80 hour week and packing the kids off to day care every day just so they can climb the corporate ladder, it’s also none of my business! I think being a Mum is the hardest job in the Universe and I am in no position to judge anyone (well, not out loud anyway…)… 🙂

    • I completely agree with your point:) If you do work with little ones, you need to put any big aspirations on the backseat for a while, for me work has had to become more of a paycheck, rather than me trying to keep up with the lads- I guess I’m just lucky I love it too. And I love that ‘ not out loud anyway’ …. Everyone makes a judgement… If only for atleast a fleeting second..they’re Lying if they say otherwise, but it’s the sharing that counts!! 🙂

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