I always imagined I’d love being a stay-at-home-mum. My friends and I used to joke about all the coffee mornings we’d have watching This Morning, eating doughnuts and generally chilling out (Just…wow. Sometimes I really could smack Old Me). Although I’ve always enjoyed working, and I’m pretty good at it, I’ve never been what you’d describe as a career girl. I assumed once I became a mum I would find my forte in life and never look back. I figured I would eventually go back to work part time but it would be because we needed the money, not because I actually wanted to return.
My expectations of motherhood differed a great deal from the reality. Even after I recovered from postnatal depression, I realised that I often felt lonely, isolated and that my confidence had taken a serious hit. I had gone from feeling competent and useful at work to feeling structureless and dissatisfied at home. In the workplace, you have appraisals to let you know how you’re getting on but there’s nobody to praise you or give your constructive feedback on your role as a mum. If you’re lucky, at work you clock off at 5pm and get a hour’s break at lunch but for mothers there are no breaks. Being a mum can be relentless, frustrating and sometimes tedious. And you’re not getting paid. It broke my heart a little to admit it but, I needed something more.
On the flip side, I knew I couldn’t bear to leave my son for five days a week. He drives me wild at times but I know I need to be there to be driven wild for at least half the week! Being a parent is an utterly unique experience and I didn’t want to miss too much. So I began the hunt for the often elusive part time work. I feel incredibly blessed to be in a line of work where this is an option and I fortunately found a three-day-a-week role (which has since evolved to two days) fairly swiftly.
There are countless reasons why this balance works for me but here are my top six:
Nursery Benefits My Son
I simply can’t measure how much Caterpillar has gained from going to nursery two days a week. From creative play and social skills to early word and number work, I honestly believe he has learnt so, so much from his childcare providers. He has formed connections and had experiences he simply wouldn’t have got at home with me. In addition, as he has been going since he was nine months old so it really helped to side-step the separation anxiety issues.
As mentioned above, I’m someone who needs balance and variety in my life. Those two days at work help to freshen me up for Caterpillar, so that I’m able to be a more creative, more patient and generally happier mum on those precious days that I do spend with him. Being away from my mummy life for two days a week helps me to appreciate how lucky I am the rest of the time.
I’m not sure if this is a plight of all mums or just me but I struggle with my confidence as a mum almost constantly. I’ve gotten better at just trusting my instincts and going with the flow as Caterpillar has grown up but I still often question if I’m parenting well enough. Is he eating healthily enough? Am I being strict enough or am I being too strict? Is he watching too much TV? And so on. At work, there’s none of that doubt and guilt. I’m given tasks that I feel confident in achieving, I carry them out and I’m able to ask for useful feedback on said tasks. This work confidence gives me the boost I need to tackle the endless parenting questions. In addition, going to an office job forces you to make a little more effort with your physical appearance which also helps build your personal confidence.
I definitely didn’t anticipate how lonely parenting can be. I think this is why I love baby groups and classes so much, because it simply gets me out of the house and interacting with other adults (even if all we do end up talking about is our kids, ironically enough). Now Caterpillar is three and can have proper conversations it’s a lot easier, but being alone at home during those early days can be really emotionally challenging for a lot of us. Going to work means I get two whole days surrounded only by adults where we can chew the fat over everything from reality TV to politics. This is like brain food for mums in my opinion.
My journey to work is an hour and a half each way which I know would fill a lot of people with dread but not me. That is 6 hours each week of completely uninterrupted time to myself – I read, write, listen to music, sleep or simply enjoy the kind of peace that just doesn’t exist in a home with a toddler. It allows me to indulge in lots of self-care which is great for your emotional wellbeing.
Keeps Experience Fresh
We all have to go back to work eventually, even if it isn’t until our children are leaving school, and I can’t help thinking that the longer you have away from the workplace the trickier the transition back into it may be. Even after a year away, it was a difficult adjustment for a short while. By keeping my toe in the pool, my CV remains current and I can easily stay on top of current business trends and systems.
I recognise that working part time is simply not possible for everyone – whether that be due to financial or career reasons – and I feel extremely lucky to be able to keep my life so well balanced in this way. I’m in complete and utter awe of stay-at-home-mums – how they manage to do the hardest job on this planet without a single day off and still keep hold of their sanity impresses me no end. I feel lucky and blessed to have the best of both worlds.
This post was originally written for The Huffington Post – you can read the rest of my posts for them here.
37 comments on “Six Reasons To Love Working Part Time”
I also work part time and must say I do love it and agree with all the above. A loves nursery and it benefits him.so much plus it’s lovely how happy he is to see me at the end of the day. #bloggerclubuk
As a fellow part time woken I agree with all your points. I worked hard to get my qualifications and I love my job it is part of who I am so I do not want to give that up. But my kids will always be my priority. Finding a balance is always going to be hard. But we all need to do what works for us, right?!
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I work part time too (although currently just at the beginning of 12 months maternity leave) and love the balance I get. I love my job and being a mother so best of both worlds for me. Nursery is really good for my little girl too and her day with her grandma has given them a great bond.
I totally get this. I am lucky enough to just work mornings so I do feel like I have the best of both worlds. That coupled with a great company to work for – totally understanding when it comes to having kids, I really do think I’ve found the perfect set up. I think it’s so important for Mum to be happy so the children get the best out of her. Unhappy Mum is likely to make unhappy child. We are lucky to be able to work part time, like you say, it’s not possible for everyone, so I thank my lucky stars everyday. #bestandworst
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I carried on working full-time after my eldest was born, when my youngest was born I stayed at home and now I am going back to part-time work and I can’t wait. I have loved being at home with my kids but I need something more now. I won’t ever get my career back but I will get a little bit of me back which I hope will help me and in turn benefit them. #bloggerclubuk
I could have written this myself, isn’t parenting hard. I totally agree with nursery, my 2 goes twice a week and it has done them the world of good. Thanks for linking up a lovely post to the #bestandworst
Very hard! Thanks for reading and commenting x
This is wonderful and so very much how I feel. It’s great having that balance and I love putting my mind to more than just nursery rhymes and painting. I too find I am a better parent for having the time away. I am now having to look at going full time which is filling me with a bit if dread but I’m just grateful I’ve had almost 2 years of wonderful well balanced time with my little Monkey.
I also work part time, and I agree 100% with what you’ve said. Being a stay at home mum is great in so many ways, but it gets very exhausting and lonely being with them 24/7 – interaction with other people is definitely needed x
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I agree. Some women love being full time SAHMs and I respect that so much but for me I need something more of I go a little crazy and my son doesn’t get the best of me. Thanks for reading x
I’m with you on the confidence issue, since becoming a stay at home mum my confidence has taken a real nose dive and it was one of the reasons I started my blog. It’s great that you have managed to find a part-time job that works for you, i’m also a little jealous of your commute time (only things that a mum of two would say 😉 )#thelist
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Ha ha, bless you. I never particularly loved commuting before having T but now it’s one of my favourite times of the week X
I totally agree with you! Working part-time is a great balance and what my daughter has got out of nursery has been incredible. I definitely need some ‘me time’ and to do something for myself. I do admire stay at home mums – it’s an extremely tough gig and I am not sure I could do it full time myself. #thelist
I admire them hugely, I just know it’s not for me. Thanks for reading x
Really loved reading this – I wrote a similar post not so long back and can totally relate to your need for something more. My daughter is now in nursery two days a week and, as you say, it really helps me to appreciate the time I do spend with her and it has also helped so much with her development. I love that she has experiences at nursery that I can’t give her at home. Sounds like you’ve found a great balance – good for you x #bestandworst
Just popping back to say that I am still loving this post. It will be reassuring for all those mums about to return back to work #marvmondays 🙂
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Great post. I have worked part time since both my girls were about 7 months, and I went back then for exactly the reasons you mentioned – adult interaction, and a warm cup of tea with half an hour to browse the shops without a little one in tow! I am actually envious of your commute, I’m home within 20 minutes & thrown back into mummy hood & don’t get time to relax till much later. #MarvMondays
I work full-time, I would go crazy if I became a stay at home mom, I also love the commuting to work, I can hear myself think my daughter is loud and there is no time to think when I am around her( hahahah). #MarvMondays
Really loved reading this. I can’t wait for the day I can get back into work. Just for adult interaction, and to catch a break from the kids! #MarvMondays
I love this. I have recently been considering returning to work, as you say sometimes things don’t turn out the way you imagined. Your post has given me something to think about!
I work part time in a fashion and I do love it, but now my kids are getting older I find being at work is just another thing to fit in each day.
I love working and love having proper conversations but now the kids are starting to have their own social lives and I spend almost every evening fetching and carrying, feeding them etc life has suddenly become a lot harder
I work full time and was fortunate to have a good job and decent childcare at home. I am in awe of SAHM as I don’t think I could have hacked it! Lovely to see a non-judgmental post about this that just lays out the issues and lets people make up their minds depending on their circumstances
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I worked part time when I had my first daughter, for two years and I loved it! I still had time to spend with my daughter and time then socializing with adults. #MarvMondays
I recently returned to work part time and i completely agree with everything you said. Finding it so nice to be me again and I feel like I can actually enjoy and appreciate my time with the kids more now.
I love being at home with the kids, but I also enjoy my job, so it’s nice to work part time and get the best of both worlds #MarvMonday
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I always worked part-time when my kids were small and you are right, you need adult time so you don’t go mad.
I’m going back to work 4.5 days a week in two weeks – almost full time. I would have preferred to work part-time, maybe three days, but it’s not possible for financial reasons. I’m looking forward to exercising my brain a bit, but I’ll miss my time with the wee one. #bigpinklink
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I commented already through #bloggerclubuk and all of the above stands. As much as I love and adore my children and want to be with them 100% of the time, I also find A benefits from nursery so much that it’s not selfish for me to also enjoy working part time too. Like you, I’m lucky I’m able to do that though. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
Oh yes, I miss the commute time (mine used to be 2hrs each way). I’m going back to work soon and, after 10 months of looking after two under the age of three, I am actually dying to get some ‘time to myself’ – even if it’s only going to be the 15 minute drive there and back! Great post – thank you for sharing. #bigpinklink
Congrats on your Huff post-publication. This is a great post & I love how you see the positives in working outside the home. I’m a full time mom & it can be hard to maintain the sanity sometimes all right! My blog has helped a lot! Thanks so much for linking up with us at #BloggerClubUK
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Glad you found a job that gives you that balance. It’s a good point about not getting appraisals as a mum and wanting that sense of feedback and reassurance.
I’m not looking at part time but compressed hours so I can get a days with the cubs as well as weekends. It’ll be long days but I’ll still be there for bedtime.
My wife’s looking to return to work after a 5 year break for many of the reasons you as you. It will be a shift for us all. Commuting can be a mixed blessing!
Wow 6 hours of commuting? I have an hour and I do love my time alone as well. I read a lot during that time and it is definitely my time. I can relate to what you have said and working part time did make me cherish my time with my children more and I was conscious of what we did during our time together. Glad you found your balance. Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink
Reading through this, i could relate to just about each point, Been a SAHM for going to 5 years now (WOW), and most of all, i miss the adult interaction,. Sometimes you just need grownup conversations, you know… so presently i make time over the weekends as much as i can: park visits, outdoor activities, playdates….
Love that you put this up 🙂
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I am so glad you love working and that it works well for you. I am lucky that I get to work at home, which is much easier.
Thanks for linking up to #TheList x
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Such a great post ☺ I thought I would miss work and would feel lonely and bored spending all the time at home with my little one. I found the complete opposite and felt so lucky when I was given the opportunity to spend an extra year with bub after my maternity leave had ended. I have to return to work full time in October and I’m dreading it – I’m feel I’m going to miss some many special moments with bub though it’s nice to read the positives on your post especially about nursery and having some me time during commuting. Think the adult interaction is important to – it’s one of the reasons I started blogging so my brain didn’t turn to mush! #anythinggoes
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Best of luck returning full time, I’m glad my positive points helped a little x
This is lovely Laura, sounds like you’ve got the balance just right. I’m going back part time in 6 weeks… And I’m looking forward to it, partly because it’ll make the 2 days with my son really precious.