I have been tinkering with this post for a while. Enough! Hit publish.
Working mum vs. Stay at home mum
Oh the agony of it. Oh the hand wringing. Oh the guilt of leaving them behind. Oh the anxiety of them leaving you behind to crawl helplessly and hopelessly back to the workplace. What to do for the best? How to be a good mum, or a good enough mum? How to have a stimulating career or job? How to balance the two?
I don't want to belittle this debate, I have waded on in myself in previous posts, but I increasingly think the only answer to how to balance work and parenthood is: as best you can for you and your family. Sometimes it will be hard and sometimes it will be less hard. I know it sounds glib but if you're doing your best, what more can you do? And only you can judge what your best is.
My resplurge on the issue was inspired after reading this post and the comments on a friend of a friend's blog (reading someone's blog that I don't know still makes me feel a bit like a stalker but along with Mogantosh I can't quite give up Potty Mouth Mama, they are too good). Anyway, I had a thought post-post, or rather an irk. I was irked by something, well by two things, about this debate. Firstly, exercising the brain creatively always seems to be associated with being in a work environment. I'm sure I've said it before but I shall say it again, being a SAHM does not make me brain dead. On a daily basis I endeavour to employ skills in logistics, philosophy, psychology, management, crisis resolution and Blue Petering, to name but a few. Anyone who thinks an under-5 is not stimulating has never spent time with one. I'm not saying it's the same kind of stimulation, but then I imagine being an accountant is very different to being a vet. All occupations offer different forms of stimulation, mental, social and emotional. And I regard SAHMing as an occupation.
The other thought that I thunked was: where in all this am I? Being a working mum or being a stay at home mum, what about being Bex? There is more to life than a job and, gasp, much as I love it, there is more to life than being a mum. What about the things you do outside of work? Hobbies and interests and volunteer work and friendships and relationships. All these things are part of who you are and offer chances to think, learn and grow. What I miss most about being a SAHM is not the workplace but the time, money and energy to get involved in all the extra curricular activities I used to enjoy.
So yes, there is more to life than being a working mum or a stay at home mum. There is also being a human being who is engaged with the world around them.
[Image from Cirque du Soleil's Ovo. Because sometimes life does feel like trying to juggle a gigantic slice of kiwi with your feet.]