Tuesday 3 August 2010

Full-time versus Part-time mum

I recently got back in contact with an old school friend who I found out was pregnant with her first baby. She messaged me back asking if I was lucky enough to be a ‘full-time mum’ i.e. a stay at home mum. It took a while for me to get my head around that question and how I would answer it.

I could have easily asked the same question to expectant friends prior to having children myself but my views on the ideals and benefits of being a stay at home mum versus a working mum drastically changed now having kids.

Pre-kids I had a lot of patience, in good health and had good energy levels. I am fortunate enough to have my husband work a 5 minutes drive away with the leniency to come home if required and an understanding boss who happens to have 2 sets of twins! When my boys (twins) reached around 15 months old I was finding it increasingly hard to keep up my energy levels and patience to survive day on day. It became regular practice for me to call my husband up once a week pulling my hair out wondering how I was going to survive the next hour and it’s not as if my boys are different to any other toddlers. I soon realised something needed to change maybe it was time to look at some part-time work. I love my boys to bits but I felt like I wasn’t being the best parent that I could be.

I actually find my self luckier being a ‘part-time mum’ than a ‘full-time mum’ and I don’t mean in terms of finances, I mean in terms of energy levels and patience.

We were lucky enough to stumble across Little Kickers which has been my saviour in life in terms of how I care for my kids and in a way my sanity!

We started off with an independent nanny who luckily the boys adored to bits but unfortunately she left with minimum notice and left us stuck as to what to do. It felt like ages that I spent discussing the pros and cons of day-care and whether we should investigate this option further. I had only recently read a report from one of the boys’ paediatricians Simon Rowley who wrote about the negative impact of day-care on children under the age of 2 so I was even more reluctant to go down this route. My main concern was the boys’ happiness as I thought they may be stressed or uncared for versus a nanny. My pre-conceived understanding on day-care was that there wouldn’t be enough carers to properly care for of all the children.

How wrong was I, after visiting 5 centres I found the perfect centre for my boys. The carers were so loving and understanding: they kept to their routine, fed them healthy lunches and had more than enough energy to keep up with them.

I spent 3 days with the boys at the centre until I felt as though I could leave them alone. There were a few tears at the start (by them) but once I was around the corner and out of sight they soon stopped. They now attend day-care 3 mornings and 1 short day a week and what a better parent and person I am for it.

I feel like a new person and I know I am a much better parent for it. During my working day I get to speak to other business’s, parents, suppliers, employees and generally feel like I exist as a person and not just someone’s mum. When I pick the boys up from day-care I have this rush of love for them. I especially love it when they don’t know that I’ve arrived and I get to see them playing with the other children and then when they do see me I get an assortment of emotions from them. These range from running away from me because they want to stay and play to dancing around in excitement and giving me huge hugs as they wave goodbye to the carers (even if I’m not ready to go yet).

Once home I put work aside and use all my energy in interacting and playing with them, I adore hearing their giggles and now have the patience and energy to deal with their terrible two’s better. I love that they come home from day-care having learnt new words or actions to songs and seeing them develop socially.

I’ve realised my life needs more than just kids to make it complete and being a ‘part-time mum’ works perfectly for me, I actually feel lucky that I can be one over a ‘full-time’ mum. I am sill a wife, business women and a friend and to add to that a loving mum who is trying to find that perfect work/life balance.

My hat goes off to full-time mums as I often feel you don’t get enough recognition for what you do in today’s society and how hard your days can be.

Yvette; mum, wife, business partner, coach, friend....

1 comment:

  1. I can understand the hard work for a twin mum. I am a full-time mum with a two and half years old son. I enjoy being around with him though I do miss my work especially now I see him growing up so much. However I find I have gained a lot during this two and half years not only being a mother. I take this opportunity to catch up my hobbies in music and did a couple of paintings to decrate my son's room and read lots of books I like including parenting books. I used to be a much less patient person, but now I have more patience, I can understand others much better especially people with very young children. I think that the opportunity of being a staying home mum actually have given me a chance to be more creative. I donot believe young toddlers, even babies should have very the same routine, though they need to certain level, but from my observation I found my son do appreciate the different activities each day, especially after 10 months old. I took him last year to Auckland city library lunch concerts, he enjoyed it. We did swimming lessons together, visiting art gallaries if not mentioning about music groups and playgroups. It does give me an opportunity to explore the community and the city I am living. I have to say that being a full-time mum is a very positive experience for me and I won't make a single change if start again. However I have to say it does cost my career, I used to work in IT, a couple of month ago, I was told by a recuitment agent that it will be hard for me to get some job like what I used to have. But I think this is absolutely a very wrong attitude towards women back to workforce. From my own experience, I would encourage other women to stay home for their children's well being when children are very young. This is not only benefit for children also for the sake of the family and the society. It would be nice if women can get more support, if not at least from their family.


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