Motherhood series: To work or to stay at home? Pt 4

In part 4 of this motherhood series, let's hear from Melissa, mum to two beautiful boys aged 4½ and almost 2. Melissa had hoped not to return to work after her first born but found that circumstances dictated otherwise. She talks about why she returned to full time paid work and provides some insight into her daily routine. Read on for her story...
Melissa and one day old Warrie
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Why did  I decide to return to work after children? Like many working parents, my deciding factor was money – or a serious lack thereof! When Mac was born, I was lucky enough to be able to take 12-months maternity leave, and I had high hopes of never ever returning to work again; or at least working only part time. However with Mr M unemployed and studying to follow his dreams, and the never ending pile of bills needing attention, the decision was never mine to make. I HAD to go back to work for our family to survive.

Same deal when Warrie was born, except this time Mr M had a job so I was able to return to work with reduced hours, as in a 30-hour week instead of a 35-hour week (oh yeah a big reduction - not!).
Because of the hours Mr M works, I am left with the majority of the “children” chores – so my typical day looks like this:

Wake up, shower, feed children, unpack dishwasher, dress children, pack dishwasher, herd children to car, drop children off at daycare, sit in traffic on wayto office, work, sit in traffic on way home, have a quiet 40 minutes at home to prep dinner for children and Mr M (and hopefully have a cuppa!), pick up children from daycare, feed children, unpack dishwasher, bathe children, start dinner for Mr M and I, dress children for bed, give children milk and let TV babysit whilst I check on dinner, put children to bed, keep fingers crossed that they go to sleep so I can finish making dinner, eat dinner, prep lunches for daycare, pack dishwasher, sit down for 30-minutes in front of the telly and veg out, go to bed.

I’ve just read through that and it has exhausted me…. I can’t believe I’m only halfway through all that for today!

But it’s all about survival – I am doing whatever I can to help my family survive. It’s not what I want for myself or my children, and it certainly is not how I envisaged being a mother, but it is my reality and I’m doing the best that I can.

Motherhood is… oh geez, how do you finish that sentence? Motherhood is hard, and not always appreciated, and never ending, and scary, and fun, and heartbreaking, and joyful, and fulfilling… and the most amazing journey that I have ever been on

 ***
Melissa, thank you so much for your admirable honesty! Your account shows the reality for mums engaged in full time paid work - your day's work does not end at 5pm. You work at work and you work at home, you work around the clock. You're an inspiration to me and I think you are an awesome mum.

28 Responses to Motherhood series: To work or to stay at home? Pt 4

Niken said...

mothers. sometimes i wonder how you guys do it all. whether you're a stay at home mom or working (part time or full time). being a mother is a non stop job. and when you're working, back at home you're still the one with who do most of the work with the children or other house chores, i supposed. you are inspiration.

Shirley Tay said...

Great meeting you, Melissa! Thanks for sharing such an awesome story with us. Looking fwd to sharing motherhood! xoxo

kidgranny said...

I am not yet a mother, but many of my friends and siblings are mothers and it is true...it is a job that is not quite appreciated enough! To all the moms out there...you're doing great! You're awesome :)

My Garden Diaries said...

This rocked....it rocked because of her honesty! Helping her family survive...so many of us can relate to this and I applaud Melissa for her hard work!! Thank you for sharing this friend! Nicole xo

Ananka said...

I don't have children but I can imagine it must be difficult to make that choice to go back to work or not!

Thanks for sharing your story Melissa :-)

oomph. said...

12 month maternity leave? awesome!! as a single mom, i'm also a working mom...not by choice! it's tough, and i wish i had more time with the kids other than dinner, homework, baths, bed...but it is what it is, and i cherish the weekends.

[oomph.]
$250 Ulta Beauty GIVEAWAY

Rose said...

Very well said by Melissa. No proper and suitable words to describe motherhood.

azurachan said...

She is so lucky. Not everyone can have a chance to be a fulltime mother. I envy her.

Pink Ronnie said...

What an honest post, thanks so much for sharing Melissa. It sounds like you're doing such an amazing job.
Ronnie xo

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Thank you for sharing a wonderful story about life as a working mother, Melissa - I love your "Motherhood Series", Trishie!
Hope all is well,
Andrea

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Thank you for sharing a wonderful story about life as a working mother, Melissa - I love your "Motherhood Series", Trishie!
Hope all is well,
Andrea

Sharon D said...

You're doing an amazing job, Melissa. Thank you for being so honest about motherhood.

This is a great series, Trishie. Really enjoy reading it :)

Jane said...

such an honest post. i have friends who are working moms - some by choice, some by not - and i am awed and amazed at what they can do. thanks for sharing

Il Mare Atelier said...

All working moms would definitely share Melissa's sentiments! It's a tough job and hopefully rewarding at the end!

~Su

Emily Tang said...

oh suddenly I feel scared for marriage as I can feel the burden and heavy responsibility over there :(
MY-Emily

Enara Girl said...

It has to be hard and it's a big responsability but I would love to be mother. It's true that chores never ends. xoxo

Tina Bradley said...

Great post! Melissa's story is inspiring. I, too, worked outside the home for most (but not all) of my children's childhoods. Many years later, I wonder how I ever did it (either way)--but, I did--somehow--and it only brings back fond memories! :) T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

Genevive said...

Whew.. hats off....

ez vina said...

yup, that's basically what mothers do ;)

burntfeather said...

Congrats for making it work for your family, loved your honesty - you sound like a super mum :)

monique said...

This is an amazing article. I recently worked in childcare, and motherhood never gets enough credit. It's so hard and fun at the same time indeed. I loved your honesty in this article.

Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria-Thérèse ~ www.afiori.com said...

But... Why wouldn't women want to work and pursue their own career just because they have a child? Here in Sweden, stay-at-home moms barely exist. You get a long maternity / paternity leave, but then you go back to work.

Beauty Box said...

Gosh I can imagine it takes a huge amount of discipline to keep to a routine and schedule day in and day out, in order for the household to run smoothly, while being a working mum. One of the upsides to being a SAHM is that you could sleep while the baby sleeps during the day but the downside is that you can't get away to an office when you've had too much of child-rearing. It's not easy either way it seems...

Mum's the Word said...

Thank you everyone for your lovely words - they were truly uplifting :)
It is hard, and sometimes I want to chuck it all in, but mostly it is so amazing to be the person to teach these little people and help them reach their full potential.
As much as I might moan about how hard it is, or how tired I am, I wouldn't have it any other way...
For those of you about to head down this road, know that you are not alone!!
For those of you thinking about it, it's terrifying, but so SO worth it :)

Peach Macarons said...

I have just read all of the parts in the Motherhood Series. What a fantastic series!! I loved hearing everyones experiences. It was really comforting to hear other mum's ups and downs. I have been stay at home for about 31/2 years now, with two little ones. There are days that I love it and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to spend this time with them when they are so young, but lately I've really really been missing working- The adult interaction, personal satisfaction and fulfilment, the additional income and being more financially independent. It was always the plan to be at home with them until school age... but now I'm not sure. I guess the grass is always greener....

Arni @ Travel Gourmande said...

Most friends are discouraging me from going back to work but I have decided to go back and give it a try much as I have always imagined myself being a stay at home Mom. Work and motherhood balance is tough + house chores. Career Opportunities came at a time when I had my little one. My husband encourages me to continue working so that I have no regrets nor resentment towards my child for giving up a career that I love in the future. It is hard and tiring but if I can have both, then why not?

Kelsea Echo said...

Making the tough choice between working and staying home is just that much harder because kids (esp. babies) are so expensive! Thanks for sharing, Melissa!