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This week is not going well in my household. My husband is overseas for work and both of my young daughters have come down with a horrible cold and coughing virus.

There has not been much sleeping happening at night time and emotions have been a bit raw as a result during the day.

For the last two days I have stayed home and looked after my youngest who was at home. This morning my eldest has got worse and is staying home from school too.

I however, was returning to work, and our nanny is with the girls.

On waking this morning, my very tired, snotty and grumpy 5 year old told me that she needed me to stay home. When I explained that I was going back to work and our nanny would be looking after her she was not happy.

“But mummy, how can you go to work and leave us at home when we are not feeling well? We need you to be here to look after us.”

I admit it is a tough one. Despite having been a full time working mum for over 2 years now, and having had many business trips of up to 2 weeks away from the family, when I see a sad face or hear a plea not to leave them, I find it very difficult to walk away.



This morning, I got down on the floor with my distraught first born and explained that if I really thought they needed me to stay home then I would. I told her that I had already spent two days at home this week and had moved all my meetings and appointments to later in the week, so now I had to go and see all these people.

I told her that we almost always feel worse when we first wake up and that after breakfast and a shower she would almost definitely feel better. I made her a promise that if she did not and she still wanted me to stay home then I would.

As predicted, by the time our nanny arrived and I was ready to leave, all was calm again. Both girls had done a little yoga session and were fed and feeling a bit better.

There was no more mention of me staying home, so my departure was as easy as on a normal morning.

It did get me thinking about the many conversations I have had with my children about why I work. I have always thought it was important that they had an understanding at their own level of why I am a working mum. We have had these conversations casually and formally since the day I went back to full time work.

About 12 months ago, our nanny overheard a conversation between my then four year old and her best friend in our house. At the time I was away on a work trip. It went something like this:

“Why is your mummy away so much? Why do you have to have someone else looking after you instead of your mummy?”

“My mummy is just like my daddy. They both went to University together and worked hard to make sure that they had good jobs that they liked. They both enjoy working and make sure that they spend plenty of time working and plenty of time with us as a family. She also works so that she has enough money to buy me lots of presents and all the toys in the world.”

“Mmmmm- maybe my mummy should work more too!”

Despite the fact that on the odd occasion one or both of my children will now have a wobble and ask me to stay home, I like to think that because we have had these honest and open discussions about having two working parents, that actually it is just the norm to our children.

In our household, we all know who goes where on which days and that there will always be at least one parent there for breakfast and bedtime.

Whether my children decide to follow the path that I have chosen later in their lives, or whether they decide to do something completely different I know that I have shown them that it is possible to be a working mum and also be a very present and loving mummy too.

Can you relate with this? How do you balance your family and work lives? Please SHARE with us below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Every family is different. You just need to do what is right for your family’s current situation.

    Reply

  • Great article. Looking at going back to work full time and not looking forward to this part of it!

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  • I don’t explain my decisions to anyone. It’s my choice and no one else’s business so they can just go away

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  • such a pleasure going through this…

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  • Hubby and I understand why I work, there’s no need to explain it to anyone else as its none of their business

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  • Great article, I worked fulltime as a single mum with 3 preschoolers (3 under 2 with twins) so I had my hands full, working allowed me to have a career, earn good money, I travelled with work and had good care support with my family for my children, it allowed me the independence to buy our own home so my children did not have to frequently move from rental to rental, I always explained to them once they were old enough what i worked for and what bills we had (not in incredible detail but enough so they could understand) I think that they appreciated the honesty from a very young age and my children have never wanted for anything, My youngest has recently graduated from university after doing her final year of uni fulltime whilst working in her chosen industry fulltime as well, I think having a strong independent mother has been a great rolemodel for her that she can do anything she wants and she does,

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  • the decisions

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  • explain decisions

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  • explaining your decision to work

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  • i dont work but it s intrsting for the workers

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  • I work three days a week. That is enough. Any less and I would be working for nothing, and any more and I would be spending more days a week at work than with my children. I believe I am a better mother as I have two lives.

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  • I feel I have the best of both worlds, working from home 3 days a week. Initially I worked during Primary School hours, but now my son is older, I pick him up from school and continue working. He understands why I work and what it means for him in terms of presents, family holidays, spending money, etc.

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  • very nice

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  • The question has never come up, kids thrive as long as long as they have good role models regardless of gender or job.

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  • a great article and I think that the open & honest communication is the key. Up until my daughter was born I worked full time and then after went back part time but when she was 2 my husband got a new job interstate and we all moved and I was unable to find a part time job in my field and with the suitable hours I had had before so I then became a stay at home mum. I then picked up things like paper & leaflet rounds and became a rep for a home selling company but we have always referred to these things as my work so that should I be lucky enough to find a part time job then our 5 year old will not have too much of an adjustment hopefully.

    Reply

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