Being a Working Mum

Carolyn Voisey's avatar

by Carolyn Voisey
on

Alternatively, In Praise of the Stay at Home Dad.

It ain’t easy being a working mum, especially when your child has complex health issues.

Frequent absences from work, having to dash off to attend to the latest crisis or hospital appointment and appalling timekeeping due to seizures hitting as we’re leaving the house etc., all make working-life positively miserable. And unsustainable.

Up to 18 months ago, both J and I were seriously struggling.

As a family we had reached crunch time; we were both exhausted juggling jobs, worry and caring for a very poorly little chap.

The fast-approaching inevitability was that one or both of us would lose our jobs as we were absent so often.

In the end, it was an easy decision to make.

The answer was obvious to us both; as I earned more in my job and had better promotion prospects, I would continue working full-time while J would quit work and become a stay at home parent.

To anyone else in the same position, allow me to say that this has been the best decision we have ever made for our family.

It took time for us to get into the swing of the new regimen, many lists were left for Him Indoors so he knew what to get out of the freezer for dinner, what laundry had to be washed most urgently and when other housework-type jobs needed doing.

But gradually, the family dynamic shifted…

Daddy looked far less exhausted at the end of the day, Sam was happier and more relaxed, and when I get home from work I know I don’t have to immediately get on with housework etc… instead, I can read to my little chap, or we can play together for a while before his bedtime.

It works, beautifully.

Initially we were worried about how we’d manage financially; my salary alone is too much for us to qualify for any tax credits/benefits, which also means we aren’t eligible for support from a number of charities who supply equipment, etc.

The first few months were the worst – every penny spent was noted down, every bill paid, and so on. And gradually, we found our feet.

Now it doesn’t feel like we’ve ever known a different way of life – J is a house-proud Dad who delights in getting jobs done before Sam and I get home.

Sam loves having time with Daddy, in the couple of hours between him getting in from school and me getting home from work, they play and Sam’s therapies get done… it has been good for all of us.

My one regret is that we pushed ourselves to breaking point, we should have done this far sooner!

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