Do we really need to have it all?

I’ve recently become a stay at home mum, while not an uncommon event for a woman who has just had a baby; a year ago I had my seventh child, and for the first time ever I am not on maternity leave from an employer. 

It was while pregnant with baby number six and fretting about my return to work as a police officer, that I finally realised something, I was needed at home much more than my job needed me.  Although I guess being a police officer, that is something that could really be argued, but the be all and end all is that family comes first. 

It has taken me a LONG time to adjust to the full-time mother role, I know I can hear the scoffing as I write that – How can I say that when I had that many kids?!  The truth is I looked at my job as having more value than parenting. 

Think about it, parenting can often feel like a lot of hard work with little to no acknowledgement – and you know something else, it is not very exciting.  I looked at the hours I spent at work as my time out, where I got to play with adults and talk like one too, I was openly valued.   Twelve whole hours, during which I didn’t have to wipe one snotty face or shitty bottom, or ask anyone if they needed to go pot pot before we go out, then again some Friday night shifts did get a little funky.  Even now I still look at passing police cars with longing, craving the excitement, but I’m getting better I just have to recall a few night shifts and I’m over it.

So, here I am into my second year at home with all my babies, are we having fun yet?  I can say now that I am.  Sure the budget is super tight, but with this many kids it has always been that way, no matter how much money was coming into the house.  I have learnt so much about my children, and I’m getting to do the fun stuff with them I didn’t have the time to do before.  I really believe that they are benefiting from me being at home and I’m starting to feel valued again.  Especially when I look at the improvement in my three autistic children, totally worth it. 

Do we really need to have it all?


Filed under Autism, Babies, Changes

18 Responses to Do we really need to have it all?

  1. Yep totally worth staying at home, I agree. My girls do so much better with me being more flexible and able to meet their needs first.

    Sometimes I wish we had more money to play with. But days like today where I’m able to stay at school till after 11am making sure both girls settled in okay after a difficult week and time off school … it is invaluable being a stay at home mum, no employer would let me have the amount of time off I need.

    • It does feel good to be able to say to therapists etc, when they call and ask to come, sure what time is good for you. It used to be the other way around. The Police were very accomodating when it came to rostering and family (at least for us they were), but there is only so much you can stretch a friendship 😉

  2. Wow. I can certainly relate to thinking of work as an escape to an adult realm. While My job doesn’t require me to wipe bottoms, there certainly is more shit on a dialy basis than I’d acknowledged before becoming a Mum.

    I have returned to work full time since becoming a Mum and I’m sad to think that for the past year you haven’t felt all that valued! Being a parent certainly is a thankless job, but the benefits your children will reap from your decision to nurture them more intimately will come to fruitiion throughout their lives.

    I’ve put you up on that ‘supermum’ pedestal not understanding how you’d managed to juggle work and family for as long as you had, and then to be a full time stay at home Mum, dedicated to 7 kids!

    I think you are an inspiration and while your kids may not articulate their ‘valuing’ your role, I’m sure they would articulate their reluctance if you decided to return to work and not have as much time with them as you devote now.

  3. I hope we don’t need to have it all, because it’s impossible to do so. It doesn’t matter if we have outside jobs or not, there’s always a trade-off. I’ve been home for 11 years with my 5 children (1 is autistic) and we’ve struggled with money the entire time. I don’t regret the decision, but I sure am counting the days until the youngest starts school and I can get a “real job.” The first paycheck goes with me to the day spa. 🙂

  4. Natalie Richards

    Candy, I get this so much!!
    This is the end of my second year off with Ted. First was maternity leave. Prior to that, I’d never been unemployed and sometimes had been working two or three jobs. Just yesterday I was talking to friends about how often we hear that our children should be in day care, that being a stay at home mum, who does lots of activities is no longer considered an option. Comments like that always make me feel very devalued as a stay at home mum. I am not saying that day care doesn’t have it’s place, but I don’t think it’s the be all and end all that everyone thinks it is.

    • Even with this many kids, I am often asked what I do with all my time. Uh huh, yep. My point is that being an at home mum, is not often seen as having value.
      Thanks Nat 🙂

  5. I think what you’ve done is great Candy. I do understand your yearning for the blue & white though. As you know I ‘almost’ joined a few years ago…but not to be 🙂 I too have had a ‘rethink’ on whats important in life and family continued to keep popping back into the forefront.
    I started my family VERY young and didn’t get a chance to start a career before mummahood took over my life. While I had dreams of becoming a Graphic designer, I also thrived on being Mum! I took on a few part time gig’s (out of home) along the way.. But much preferred when I was at home with my kidlids. With a few additional heath problems along the way, I found motherhood perfect for our situation at the time. 🙂 We too have struggled with money the entire time (Our eldest is 15.5) I could never bring myself to utilize child care, also baby sitters where few and far between when there is Mild Aspergers (PDD-NOS) in the mix. So home I stayed….until now.. My ‘baby’ is at school this year and I am finding my days more dedicated to me. Although I am still very much needed at home for my family (More on ‘call’ for the school really when it comes to son #2) but I enjoy being able to study for my ‘dream job’, be home to do drop off’s & pick ups, help at the school’s when needed and look after the house which will surely fall apart if I WAS to go out and Just like it has in the past..haha..

    • Must get myself motivated to study some more, while I apparently have the time 😉 HEHE
      You are right about having to be ‘on call’ for school, some weeks I get a call everyday for each kid O_O The mobile nevers get left behind!
      Thanks Kellie

  6. Candy

    congratulations!! We’ve recently had no. 9 ourselves.
    Truly I believe it is a modern myth that we can HAVE it all. something has to give, often it is mum. She gets the leftovers.

  7. I honestly think that by coming to the realisation that your parenting has just as much (or more!) value than your day job means that you truly do “have it all” …. or at least “all” that really matters.

    I used to escape to my job. I was self-employed and I worked hard to build up and keep my clientele. I felt like that was my validation. Then we moved interstate for my hubby’s job, and I lost all that!! I rediscovered myself in my role as a mother. Yes, we sometimes struggle financially. We don’t have the latest toys, clothes, cars…. but we are all happy without that stuff.

    Now my youngest is at school I am finding the pressure to ‘go back to work’ a little overwhelming. I think I’ll give myself a year of adjustment before trying to build up a new business.

    • Interestingly (annoyingly) I am already being asked when I am going to return to ‘the job’, just no pleasing some people 😉
      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting.

  8. The more we have the more we want.
    I strongly believe I am doing best for my kids by staying at home. As with having kids on the spectrum I need to be avaliable for when they need me, or when we need to see a specalist.
    Recently we made the decision to build a much smaller house so I wouldnt need to work and that money wont be so tight on just one wage.
    For us it is just the way it works

  9. I’m the other extreme! As a father i feel like i have to put my business before my family’s needs and i just don’t feel right about it, but the bills need to be paid. And if i drop the “business” ball just a little, the bills still need to be paid! To quote you: “I look at my job as having more value than parenting”, I can totally relate to that (and i suppose that as a police officer that has even more truth as police are very valuable). My wife 9who also works in our business) is expecting no. 2 at anytime and we are looking at how we can job share with the business so i’m not so stressed by the business all the time and she still feels valued! Nice post Candy! 🙂
    (Check out my blog – “my2020vision”)!

  10. It’s hard to give up work (from a sanity and monetary point of view) but it makes life a hell of a lot easier! I don’t know how you juggled it with your large family! Nice to hear you feel like you made the right decision (think we all have those twinges of yearning to be back at our jobs when they were ones we were passionate about).

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