Whether you choose to stay at home after you have a family or go back to work (or even attempt to do something in between) I think it is sometimes easy for us to think that the grass might be greener. When you read reports about women who choose to go back to work and wish that they could still be at home, it makes my heart break a little and also makes me realise how lucky I was to ever have this choice. I know it isn’t always an option for everyone. That said, me giving up work was not without sacrifice. What precious little savings we had before me giving up work were soon depleted and Mr Mostly works his socks off for the pair of us so that I can still be at home. I’m a big believer in finding what works best for you as a family and for us, that has definitely meant having one of us at home. When my eldest two were little, I worked part time which eventually increased to being full time and it is safe to say that we didn’t too well at the whole juggling thing. One too many balls were being dropped and I was as miserable as sin. Giving up work after I had my third baby was still a huge decision for us as a family. But one that we have never regretted.
It has been ten whole years since I gave up work. Ten whole years! Such a long time but it has gone in the blink of an eye, it really doesn’t feel that long at all! But there have been times over the years where I have felt slightly trapped. As much as I love being at home, when you have been off work for so long, surely you become unemployable? Even if I wanted to go back to work, I don’t know how I would do it. I mean what would I even do? The job I had ten years ago doesn’t even exist. I know I can’t be alone in this but I’m still not sure what the answer is. I guess if I was seriously looking and the right job came along then I would find a way to make things work. But part of me can’t help but think that as lucky as I was to make the choice to give up work, the sacrifice is that I might always be trapped at home.
Of course, all of my children are in school now and have been for some years but having one parent at home still very much works for us as a family. Mr Mostly often works long and irregular hours and he simply couldn’t do what he does without me here at home keeping the home fires burning. Keeping on top of the orthodontist appointments alone feels like a full time job sometimes never mind all of the housework that six people create. Add in the number of school holidays, teacher training days and sick days between the four of them and there is hardly a full week that they are all in school anyway. Besides, I think that me being at home offers the children – even the teenagers – in fact especially the teenagers – a sense of security that you just can’t put a price on. When I think about it like that, all those feelings of being trapped simply evaporate. I am so lucky to have such a lovely big family and putting them first for ten, fifteen, or however many years is no great sacrifice. In fact it feels like a privilege.
When I think about it too, I can see how being at home has given me the chance to be more creative. I do have time to myself during the day if I make it. I would never have started my blog if I had still been working, I just wouldn’t have had the time. I honestly don’t know how other working mamas do it – hats off to those that do! But being at home does mean that I have the time to do a bit of writing here and there. Making a bit of pin money from cobbling together a thousand words, posting the odd tweet or Instagramming my dinner might not be a proper job but it is not to be sniffed at either. It will never make me rich but it does make me happy. That will do for now I think.