It’s Monday morning and my thoughts are turning to work. I have been musing about you a lot recently being on maternity leave for the second time and trying to work out how/whether we can afford childcare for two children so I can work. If it means us being worse off as a family then can I go back to work?
I absolutely adore my job, it seriously is one of my favourite things about my life alongside my family. I appreciate I am incredibly fortunate to have sorted my niche already and I have gotten pretty high up in my field so I’m really flipping proud of that, and would be desperately sad to lose that.
As soon as my eldest daughter was 12 weeks old I went back to work doing the odd bit of freelance to keep my hand in and now Omble is 9weeks old I start back this week doing the same. I just can’t not work. For a few months last year there was a gap in work as we had moved and I had no childcare and I had to build up contacts again. This was hell. I hated it. Not least I hate not having my own income and being completely beholden to somebody else financially.
Having financial independence is something my parents had instilled in me from a young age. I think they knew too many women ending up being controlled by a man financially or being utterly screwed if a relationship broke down or a partner died. The whole system of child benefits was actually established to give women a degree of financial independence. Women taking time out of the workplace to bring up children can mean that their earning power is reduced not to mention their ultimate career prospects and their pensions etc.
I never realised until I became a mother the impact of motherhood on a woman’s financial independence. I know there are exceptions to every rule but in the majority of cases it’s women who ends up taking the career and financial hit when kids come along. Then there will always be the dilemma of working or staying at home and what is best for your family.
I think what is best for our family is that I work part time at least, I want my girls to see their mum working, providing and contributing to the family unit. They will also see me happier like that. I adore my girls and spending time with them and bringing them up but I also need the adult space and interaction and to keep up with my career, so I can maintain everything I have worked so bloody hard for. But jeepers it’s a balancing act and not sure one you will ever get just right.
At the minute thankfully my freelance work is starting to build up again and for the time being I can do this pretty flexibly around the kids which is absolutely brilliant, but I am also seriously thinking about going properly back to work in September if I can find the right job. The trouble will be childcare- financially it may not be viable for me to work if what I bring home doesn’t cover the childcare and that makes me feel somewhat trapped. I have been very lucky that I have been able to keep in touch/ mostly on track with my career since having the girls but I can’t take too much longer out otherwise I will find it much harder to get back in. LordCurd and I are discussing options where he goes part time so I can work part time which maybe the ideal solution, but again his earnings will always outweigh mine (dam public sector versus private sector) so it’s whether we can afford to take the financial hit.
Lots to think about about.
What do you advise?