How do you manage this? Are you feeling the pressure?
This is a relatively new challenge that has really only become more complicated for the last 2 generations of women. There are now about 5 million mothers working in the UK, which has increased from 3.7 million in the last 23 years alone.
It takes two salaries to raise a family these days and its not to fund a holiday home in France or fancy car, its to keep a roof over your head and pay the bills.
Women do also enjoy greater financial freedom and equality of opportunities compares to 40 or 50 years ago. People, not just women, enjoying working because of that sense of achievement, fulfilment and purpose. It’s what women have been fighting for since the late 19th Century so it’s no surprise when women in 2019 want to continue to do what is normal to them as well as have children.
Unfortunately childcare is not adequately subsidised, statutory maternity pay is a lot lower than in many comparable countries and there still needs to be more workplace flexibility in order for there to be more choices for parents.
Nowadays the vast majority of parents don’t have any free help in raising a family like our grandparents had. Parents have to pay for help, whether it’s nursery, childminder or baby sitter. Sometimes it’s down to logistics, families don’t tend to stay living on each others door steps anymore and our own parents are working longer and sometimes by the time we have children in our 30s and 40s, our parents can’t or may find it difficult to help us.
There is no right or simple answer here as we are still figuring it out but it does take a village to raise a child and I think every mother forgets this old African proverb and it doesn’t matter if you are working or not. Neighbours, friends and family all use to pitch in to watch or mind your child or children, this was just the norm and how life was. Think about it, how did you feed your child if you couldn’t breastfeed before animal milk was used or powdered formula was invited? It was common practice for someone else to feed your baby, if you were wealthy you paid for a wet nurse or if you weren’t another women in your family or community would help.
Back to 2019..
If you stay at home to look after your child or children then you feel such a huge pressure to be the provider of all things, there’s so much guilt in raising a child and trying to stimulate them when they are small and educate them when they are toddlers. I know some mums that try to replicate a nursery environment to ensure there child is keeping with others their own age. It’s exhausting and many stay at home mums feel very isolated, there’s a stigma around asking for help and support that never use to be there.
If you work and your child or children goes to nursery or a childminder then you feel hugely guilty that you aren’t there for them more, so you do too much and it becomes exhausting, there’s a huge pressure to be the provider of all things, there’s so much guilt..
See where I’m going here, whatever you have chosen or had to do there are masses of negative feelings that go with it. Is that the pressure our culture places on us? Or does this come from us?
Female employees who become working mothers are no less committed to their job. They want to be professional, get their work done, and spend a couple waking hours a day with their babies. Is that too much to ask?
The long and short of it is that there are millions of women and parents feeling exactly the same and it’s up to us as individuals to make a difference and make things better for our children. You are just trying to achieve and maintain the impossible by yourself so ask for help and help others if you can, it’s not weak and you haven’t failed!