Tuesday 21 June 2011

The old working mum's dilemma...

An old dilemma I mean, not an old mum! Although my grey hairs have increased recently! It's the dilemma of childcare - do I or don't I?

Ben went to a childminder after the May halfterm holiday from the age of five and a half months when I went back to teaching back in 2006. He went fulltime, five days a week, which I absolutely hated. The only reasons that I could cope with it was because he really enjoyed it as he was such a sociable baby, and I knew it would only be fulltime for the last seven weeks of the school year. The knowledge that it was the only way I could get the rest of my maternity pay helped too! After I finished school he went one day a week so that I could work on my new business, building up to two afternoons a week after school or two full days a week during the holidays now. He still goes to the same childminder, as do the children of a couple of friends when they saw how happy he was there, and he still enjoys it. It's been good for him to spend more time other children of all different ages too, and I'm sure that it's helped him to settle into school better this year.

Jamie is now nearly six months old and I'm feeling well enough to go back to work properly - in fact I really really want to spend more time working - I have told you before that jewellery making is something of an obsession, haven't I?! Jamie is most likely going to be our last baby, though, and I love spending time with him. He is such a gorgeous little boy, so sociable like his brother and an absolute joy, especially considering how long we waited for him and how hard some of this year so far has been. I don't want to miss a single thing, but I know from experience that I need to work as well. I love what I do, and there's only so much I can fit around having a baby at home all the time, and if I try to do everything with Jamie at home I know I'll only get stressed about it. I haven't liked not blogging as much, and I've really missed teaching both at home and at college.

So, Jamie is going to go to the same childminder as Ben from September, just for one day a week. There's no point him going before then as T has the school holidays off and we've agreed that I can have some work time during the holidays while he looks after the boys - we'll have lots of family days out too though! All I need to do now is to stop feeling guilty about asking someone else to look after my baby!

So, how do the rest of you balance family, childcare and working, especially if you run your own business?


  1. Someone once told me "If you won't take care of yourself, Take care of your child's mother". I realized that taking care of me, and things I needed, wasn't being selfish or neglecting my kids; it was allowing myself to be 100% with my kids. So take time for your business and time for yourself especially, and then your time with your children will be that much better!

  2. ah well i balance work/children in a very easy way - i am a childminder! My hours fluctuate sometimes a couple days a week sometimes every day but as my kids have grown daughter now 16 and son is 6 - i decided to only work one day a week with little ones so i get the joy of toddlers one day and kids from 4 - 8 yrs the others :)
    with my daughter i went back to work one day a week and i was lucky enough to have my Mum mind her.
    i think it's really good to get out of the house a day or two a week and mix with big people :D most Mum's i mind for only do a couple days a week. sorry i waffled on a bit there!

  3. Krys, that's a great way of putting it, and something that's taken me a long time to learn! I still feel guilty though - maybe I would so much if I didn't love my job as much as I do?!

    vV - I don't know how you do it! I can teach teenagers and adults, but give me a room full of younger children for the day and I'd go crazy!

  4. I work part time at an after school club. I work with children aged 4 to 11.
    It means I get to take my daughter to school and spend the holidays with her.

    After school she is looked after either by her daddy or either sets of grandparetns. So she gets to spend quality time with them.

    I do feel guilty and there are times when I cannot make school events if they are in the afternoon. But it is a balance.

    When she was a toddler I put her in nursery for a few hours each day even though I didn't need to. She was (and is) an outgoing child who loves other children so it gave her the time to play with others and away from our pokey little flat.

    This is a mega reply!

  5. I think you shouldn't feel guilty at all: *your child is 6 months already, so it means he still needs you but he is starting to discover the world himself, *it is only one day a week - one day is really not a lot *and you love your work... happy mum is perfect mum - trust me :)

    good luck!

  6. My husband and I moved when I was seven months pregnant to a house that cost less than the one we had so I could stay home. We were fortunate we could do that -- it's definitely a magic trick. I do spend a lot of nights staring at the ceiling wondering how to make more money, but for now, we get by. I don't think there are every any right answers to this question, you know? You just go with your gut and motor on.

  7. I want to go back to work, but looking for childcare that I can trust, you have already done the hard part. You will love the time and enjoy Jamie even more. Love you lots Jo xxx Hellie Anyway - how I'm I going to satisfy my obsession for looking at your jewellery if you stop making it! You have to think of your public :)

  8. I completely see where you are coming from! I also have a (nearly) 6 month old and have a nearly three year old and I am currently struggling with the work thing. I have completely taken the last 6 months off (I also sell on NOTHS and my shop is shut!). I just can't figure out how to run the business properly whilst the little ones are around so I am on extended maternity leave as I know I'll never have this time again. Having said all of that I feel as though I need to be doing work of some sorts..... I've got ants in my pants! My older one is at nursery for two mornings a week, so I think, like you, come September the little one may start to go one morning a week so I can get some work done and take advantage of the Christmas rush :-) Have recently bought a leaf bangle from you for my Mum's Birthday. It was really lovely, thank you!

  9. Thank you so much all of you! I've always known that I'm far from the only one with this dilemma, but it's so good to read other people's views and get confirmation that I'm not alone! I think that part of it really is that I love my work so much. Maybe if I didn't like it so much I wouldn't feel so guilty at spending time away from teh boys doing it! I never said that my brain made sense!

    Lori,we're lucky that we bought a "project" house that had been on the market for quite some time before we put an offer in, so the price and therefore our mortgage was much lower than average for this area. If it wasn't for that I'd probably have to go back to secondary school teaching, no choice about it. I am really lucky that I have the best of both worlds.

    LBDB - hello! I've just realised who you are!! Your little one is gorgeous, and I'm so glad you liked the leaf cuff! By the way, ants in pants is a very good way of describing it.

    Hellie - good luck with the job hunting love - I still think that a job in a quilt material shop would be great!

    Blimey - this is the longest comment I have ever left on my own blog!


Thank you for leaving a comment. I read every one and will do my best to get back to you!


Related Posts with Thumbnails