A few months ago I came across a post on Facebook. A local nursery was closing down due to financial reasons leaving devastated parents without childcare. Despite the initial shock, those effected were clearly upset. The thread was full of comments from disappointed parents, who’s children loved the nursery and more so the staff. Sitting amongst their heartfelt comments, like a Bounty in an otherwise perfect box of Celebrations, was Barbara’s* comment…
“I find it absolutely disgusting how so many parents pay other people to look after their own children. Back in my day you didn’t have children unless you could look after them yourself. My husband and I both worked. I would stay home with the children during the day and when he came home in the evening I would go out to work. These days it’s all about lavish holidays and over spending. Back then we did what we needed to pay the bills but we just made do!”
I’m sure you’ve already guessed but Barbara’s comment touched a nerve for me. As a mother who works full time I have to rely on childcare professionals, not to mention the generosity of my mother-in-law. Without them returning to my current job wouldn’t have been possible. Sure I could have found another job which offered flexible part-time hours, but why should I be forced to leave a secure role which I enjoy just because I’ve chosen to become a mother?
I don’t need someone like Barbara to make me aware of the impact working full time has on my life. I spend most weekends trying to cram a week’s worth of housework into just two days – I’d hire a cleaner if we could afford it but imagine what Barbara would have to say about that! With astronomical childcare fees, the time which Rory isn’t at nursery we rely on his Nanna to bridge the gap. There are days, more often than not, when I leave feeling jealous of my own mother-in-law. I’m missing out on so much but like all parents who freeload their kids while they slink away to the office, I do what I do becausein my eyes, I have to.
I leave for work everyday to provide for my family. To keep a roof over our heads and put food on our table. Staying at home was never an option for me. Even working part-time would have significantly impacted our lives but as Barbara would point out, we could have just made do. The only problem is I don’t want to just make do. I don’t want to scrimp and scrape to make ends meet. I want to be able to offer my son a world of opportunities. For him to have hobbies, play in sports teams and to travel the world. I want to share the pressures of working life with my partner but for us to still have time to enjoy each other. I want to be able to treat myself and know that I’m financially independent.
I’m pretty sure that Barbara would think I’m a selfish cow, she’d probably start spouting some rubbish about how times have changed and that things were better back in her day but you know what, I couldn’t give a shit about Barbara or her outdated opinions. If making do is what constitutes a good parent then I’m proud to say I’m failing.
*To protect Barbara’s identity I’ve changed her name, I’d also like to mention that Barbara’s ‘comment’ is me paraphrasing – you know just, in case the real Barbara happens to read this!
If you’ve got a sec, please leave us a comment because we’d love to know what you thought!