My boy will turn 7 months old on the 8th of this month, today he is two hundred and ten days old not that I’m counting, an app I use popped up this morning telling me to ‘capture day 210’ which I did, of course!
I think the first time I was asked about the W word he was around six weeks old. Six weeks I’d had with my little boy and I was already being asked by people I hardly knew what I ‘do’ and when I’m going back to doing it.
I have recently seen a few disturbing posts pop up on my Facebook sent to a group called House of Commons free child care debate. The group asks for you to ‘share your experiences and thoughts on free childcare for working parents and inform the debate’ being Facebook this has done quite the opposite. The posts I’ve seen being liked and shared are packed with discriminative and derogeratoy comments towards stay at home parents, questions of ‘why should the lazy buggers (that’s toned down) not work AND get their child’s nursery fees paid!?’
This post would be not only boring but very long if I went into my thoughts about free childcare for 2 year olds of families with low income. I’ll just say it’s about levelling the playing field, every child deserves the best start they can possibly have in life and who are we to deny them of that. This post is more about people like me who choose to stay at home.
Getting back to that ‘debate’ if we can call it that. In amongst the hate for the low life scroungers who deserve nothing, I read one post that disturbed me, it went something along the lines of
‘I went back to work full time, paid out £900 childcare and had only £200 left to contribute to the household bills but I did it for my self-worth, for some dignity because it is the right thing to do…’ they then went on to moan about stay at home parents.
This lady went back to work full time to spend over 80% of her income on paying someone else to look after her child to gain dignity? Self-worth? To do the right thing?
By saying this she is suggesting to stay at home and care for your children you are somehow not worthy of the same respect. I would never associate looking after my 200 day old baby with a lack of dignity or self worth. In fact for me it is the total opposite.
When Isla-Rose was born I was made redundant whilst on Maternity leave I faced the same questions from other Mums then of what I did and when I’d be going back to do what I do. I chose to tell people I was made redundant and quickly followed it with the fact that I’d applied for lots of jobs since. This was true but actually I was just having a bloody fantastic time being a stay at home Mom and probably would never have gone back to that job anyway!
Why couldn’t I admit that? Why wouldn’t those words come out of my mouth? If I’m honest it’s because that label made me feel unimportant to the real world. It made me feel like one of those people you attack in Facebook rants.
Why must we judge the stay at home parent as some sort of lazy welfare scrounger or sometimes even worse someone to look down on or pity, someone who should be out there doing ‘the right thing’ because ‘that’s what our foresisters fought for’.
Some people just choose to stay at home and look after their children. I have not once regretted being there with Isla-Rose during those very early years. Don’t get me wrong it was bloody hard work but nothing can be as rewarding as staying at home and seeing that girl change everyday. I thank my lucky stars but mainly my husband for giving me the opportunity to do that!
By the way… This isn’t me judging parents who do go back to work either. My best friend was pregnant at the same time as me, she completed her nursing degree within months of giving birth. She worked so bloody hard to do that and had a newborn baby at home, how incredible is she!
It’s time that we, as a culture stop stigmatising stay at home parents or judging the ones who go back to work after 6 months, 2 months, even a week. Perhaps instead try to understand others choices or, at the very least, respect those choices we don’t understand.
Everybodies circumstances are different, who are we to judge people who are doing what they believe to be the best for their children.
So when am I getting back to what to do..?
Well I’m not quite sure yet, but when I do it will only be for two days a week, which means I’m able to spend almost as much of that precious time I had with Isla-Rose, with the Teddy Bear! How lucky am I? You don’t need to answer that, I already know!
Until the next time (which will probably be the next teething, fever, clingy night!)