I worked for many years. In fact, I got my first part time job at 13 and was employed right up until the ripe old age of 31. My last employment was as a Human Resources manager at a large company employing over 40,000 people.
I was made redundant in 2012. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I wanted redundancy, asked for redundancy and finally I got it when my 3rd child was born.
Now, 4 children along, I’ve been able to stay at home with the kids for over 5 years. It has flown by.
With my eldest, I had to return to work when he was 6 months old. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I would drop him at the childminders at around 8am and cry when I got back in the car. Picking him up after work was the single highlight of my day. I had returned to work for 3 days a week, yet it felt like a lifetime away from my baby boy.
Amelie came along 4 years later and having struggled with this pregnancy I left for my maternity leave at the earliest opportunity.
This time, having a very supportive partner willing to work all hours, I was able to take the full 12 months leave.
I fell pregnant with baby number 3 while still on maternity leave with Amelie.
Struggling with stress and anxiety, related to outside issues, when my maternity leave finished the doctor signed me off and before I knew it I was already on maternity leave again.
I am very lucky that a supportive employer was able to grant my repeated requests for redundancy. I worked as a Manager in Human Resources, so needless to say I knew how it all worked and knew exactly what I was entitled to.
I have never ever looked back. Before my first born I was very career minded and worked hard to climb the ladder to get to my position. The day my first child was born everything changed. I changed. I never felt the same about work again. Although I continued to work hard, the career girl inside was gone.
I carried on for 2 years, taking my boy to the childminder or nursery and I did well, climbing the career ladder a little further. But it felt like a farce. I was in a very unhappy, abusive marriage and work became my escape, with my little boy as the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fast forward to April 2009 and I meet the love of my life, John. The prince to sweep me clean off my feet and whisk me off to a happy place and the fairytale I was told did not exist.
When John and I had Amelie, he was keen for me to take the full 12 months maternity leave and at times worked 12 hour night shifts, 7 nights a week to enable me be to stay at home, rather than return to work. I would go and sit with John at work when I was pregnant, just to be with him as he spent so much time working so hard.
While on maternity leave with Amelie I fell pregnant again. I was struggling with anxiety so I never returned to work and was able to take back to back maternity leave. When Bobby was born I was finally granted redundancy. So my 12 years employment with the company reached an end and I’ve never been more relieved.
I feel very fortunate to be in the position we’re in.
What I don’t like is when people comment that I’m living “a life of luxury” or “the easy life”.
Most recently these comments were made in front of my whole family. From a relative who is a working mum. My dad, who never says much, snapped. “She’s not got the easy life, that’s called being a mum!”. Go dad. I didn’t need to add anything, not that my non-confrontational self would. I would have walked away feeling trampled.
You see, my generation of family around me; brothers, cousins etc, have regular babysitters and help. That’s aside from whether the parents work or not. My husband and I went out for a meal this month and realised we hadn’t had babysitters since October last year. That’s 7 months. But that’s a story for another time…
I know my parents are proud of how I am raising my children and don’t rely on babysitters so I can go out and party. Thankfully I don’t have to pay for childcare for 4 children either, the cost of that would make me working a pointless waste of time. I totally support working mums, my best friend is the hardest working mummy I know! I won’t feel guilty for being able to stay at home and I work hard looking after my 4 children.
So I have been on both sides. A working mummy for 4 years and a stay at home mummy for 5 years and counting. I am eternally grateful to my husband for supporting me with it. Thankfully he doesn’t have to work 12 hour night shifts any more and works from home. The help he is able to give me makes me a happier wife and mummy.
Staying at home makes me a happier wife and mummy.