Modern working mothers; is it worth having it all?

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As a working Mum of two.  My ideal would be to have a job that I love, with the hours that I choose, for a salary that I decide, with a house that is always clean, with a Husband who is a handsome sex god and as many holidays as year wherever I like, for as long as I like.  Yeah right and my name is not Angelina Jolie or Victoria Beckham!

I started my work life in the 80’s and must confess that there were still very few full time Mums in my work environment.  I became a Mum myself in the 1990’s and returned to work part time.  One divorce later, I was still working part time.  Then I met my second Husband three years ago and we quickly realised that we couldn’t afford to live together if I was working part time.  I had to make the difficult decision whether to return to the work force full time, or put a hold on my relationship until such time as we both earned enough to run one household.  Bizarre as this may sound, in England if you are a single parent either working part time or on a low income, you get tax credits, which tops your earnings up to a reasonable level.  Oh yes and more importantly you get money towards your childcare.  I lost all this when my second husband moved in.  I now work in excess of 40 hours a week and sometimes have to attend evening meetings, as well as run the house, look after the kids and walk the dog.  I sometimes feel like my head is going to explode with the pressure and have to be so organised that my Husband, lovingly calls me a ‘facist’.  I do not like having to live this way and would happily go back to working part time tomorrow if finances allowed.  Having said that my career prospects have improved and I recently gained a promotion.  However, I do keep asking myself is it worth it?  I no longer get time to do anything for myself.  I used to go the gym and find time to relax and have a chat with friends.  I now have to multi-task by ironing/cleaning the bathroom, whilst talking to my friends.  I’ve been trying to finish reading a book for the last six months without success.  Financially it’s not been worth it.  My Husband is hopeless with money and I don’t have enough time in the day to sort things out.  He says he does ‘more than most men’ with regard to housework; what on earth does that mean!?  What do most men do?  If you speak to my friends, they’ll tell you ‘not a lot’ and if they do manage to make the effort, it’s never done properly, (or to our high standard, which is unachievable according to my Husband).  I look back now at my mother, who didn’t work at all and stayed at home to look after me.  She was the matriach of our family.  We did what she said, when she said and she was never wrong.

When I was a teenager and practically off her hands, my older sister suggested she get a part time job.  You would have thought she had suggested chopping her arm off with a rusty knife.  My mum saw it as her role to look after the home and there was no time for anything else.  So why was she sat down in front of the TV from 4pm every day until she went to bed???  My Mum used to tell me that I didn’t know what hard work was and she was right, I didn’t, but neither did she.  I would have hated her life, it was sooo boring.  My dad was a wonderful father, but he wasn’t exactly dynamic and they never went out and socialised with friends.  My sister has gone down much the same path as me and even though her children are now grown up she is still working far too hard and her health is suffering as a result.  I don’t want to end up like either of them, but I would like something in between.  How do you achieve a happy balance between quality of life and quality of work?  I don’t want to win the lottery and I didn’t marry for money.  So, I’m just hoping that one day a job comes along which will either make me an internationally renowed movie star with millions of pounds at my disposal and on the off chance that this doesn’t happen that I get another promotion at work.  In the meantime I shall continue juggling my life as manically as I am now and keep my fingers crossed.

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