I miss working outside the home

 |  Parenting, Personal

There, I said it.

Yeah yeah, I’m a poster girl for work at home mums, running the community and all that shit. I am supposed to be helping mums stay at home and work etc etc. But it’s not what I wanted, it’s not what I see as a solution long term.

When I read smug, bullshit articles from “those” stay at home mums who think working mums are all that is wrong in the world, articles telling me how great they are because they manage to raise their 30 children and homeschool and bring money into the home and do all the housework and somehow manage to maintain a relationship with their spouse, all whilst blogging their adventures with their perfect little family & pinterest-perfect homes, I want to headbutt my keyboard.

I love my children.

That shouldn’t need saying, but hell it’s true. I love them but I am not fulfilled by them. I don’t find myself sitting here basking in the glow of baked goodies, with a clean house and polite well dressed children. Jeez, most days I’m lucky if they’re dressed at all. My house is a bombsite 23 hours out of 24. If I just manage to get by each day without strangling them I celebrate, and that’s the standard I aspire to: surviving. Sometimes we even manage to get through a day where I don’t shout once, but that hasn’t happened in a long time.

I miss adult conversation, hot coffee, and actually getting through my daily todo list. I miss challenges that amount to more than “will I make it through the day without getting poop on my clothes”. I miss the anticipation of seeing my children because I’ve actually been away from them for longer than 5 minutes.

And yet I keep going. I keep going because we can’t afford childcare for 2, because on the good days where I somehow manage to not shout AND manage to do some work AND my house looks slightly more tidy than usual, I like to at least pretend that I can do this staying at home thing. I like to think that the smug mums who question the motives of any woman who dares to need something more than offspring aren’t talking about me.

But I still I miss working outside the home.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

21 comments so far

  1. Aisling said:

    I’ve been on “vacation” for two months now and I believe I’m very close to losing it. When my new job asked me if I could work remotely while I work out the accommodation issue, I practically did a backflip. So, I get what you’re saying even though I’ve never been in your situation. Sometimes just getting up and having somewhere to be makes all the difference.

  2. Amanda said:

    I think it’s highly unrealistic to expect (most) people to feel a complete sense of fulfillment through changing nappies, cleaning ten times a day, or cooking meals.

    There are probably people like that – but they’re definitely in the minority, and I don’t think you should try to make yourself happy with doing only that!

    • Jem said:

      Sometimes it feels like I’m in the minority.

      I mean, don’t get me wrong, staying at home is bloody hard work. I am not one of these people who thinks that SAHMs are taking the easy route or whatever. I would punch anyone who demeans a woman because she “just” stays at home. But I just can’t get it to work for me.

  3. Amelie said:

    And this is primarily why I returned to full-time work. Yes, I miss D. Yes, I miss the fact that he’s done lots of new things while I have been away :( But I spent 14 months disconnected from adults and decent(ish) conversation and pretty much spent it entirely with the same two people day in, day out. I loved it most of the time, but I definitely feel a whole lot better in myself having a ‘break’ every day. I just wish it wasn’t *quite* as long as it is, but there we go ;)

  4. Amelie said:

    If finances allow, would it help you out to rent some office space somewhere? Not, you know, a full office type place, but just somewhere you can go to work that isn’t your house?

  5. Chantelle said:

    You’ve always been honest, but thanks for being honest about this in particular. There’s a devastating amount of pressure on mothers to say that their children fulfill them. =/ Sometimes, I’m delusional and feel otherwise, but I know that becoming a SAHM myself would be bad for me. I’d probably be really sad and go crazy. I hate cooking. I hate cleaning. I hate not conversing with adults and not being intellectually stimulated.

    I hope you’re able to find a solution soon that’s fulfilling. But you are doing the SAHM thing and you’re doing it well. It’s too much to ask for children under 4 to be polite and well-dressed.

  6. Tanya said:

    I didn’t last as a WAHM for more than a couple weeks, and I only have the one kid. I just knew it wasn’t the right option for me. Thankfully, I found myself a good job working away from the home and with help from grandparents we can afford the childcare costs.

    People (mostly without kids themselves) have assumed it was ‘too hard’ and this is the easier option. Having been a SAHM, working from home and working away from home mum I can say with absolute confidence that no option is easier than the other. They’re all, above all else, extremely hard work. But for me, working away from the home for 30 hours a week suits the family best and certainly makes me happier for many of the reasons you’ve mentioned above.

  7. Beth @plasticrosaries said:

    I have never had a good job outside the home but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to do it!
    I know now I have no option but to keep doing this as I can’t earn enough in a proper people job.
    What you need to do is move here and we can have a collective.
    Are there any working collective/co-ops near you you could get involved with? Jellies? I am trying to push myself to work two days a week outside the house from January so I encounter other people – iis it an option?

    • Jem said:

      No no, you need to move here. ;)

      There are jellies etc, and I have enough connections through ex colleagues etc to have places to go should I want to work away from home (as mentioned above I’ve been working at my old work place on Monday afternoons) it’s balancing that in the short timespan I have to do it. :S

  8. Mumblies said:

    For all those out there have no children have no idea what it’s like to sit in the house day after day staring at four walls. Add to that the knowledge that unless you work from home to help supplement the household income the bills won’t be paid and the house will never be the spotlessly clean fake family with fake happy Mums and equally fake children who skip gleefully around the house cleaning as they go. All that serves is to drive you insane with frustration and boredom because although we all know life really isn’t that easy we still aim to reach those impossibly high standards. I was a stay at home Mum, filling in here and there with temping jobs part time over the years. I have to admit I was never driven like you are Jem so I found it easy to keep on top of the house stuff and even managed to get quite organised about it all, but then I was home all day most of the time. I don’t for a minute think I could cope with the house and kids and a full time job too. You ask far too much of yourself, take a break now and then and enjoy your children while they are still little – they grow so fast you know…blink once and they are starting school, blink again they are off to college and then off to have families of their own. Stuff what society wants of you… do what makes YOU happy and treat yourself to some time off too.

  9. Stephanie said:

    First off, ditto everyone else’s comments, though I probably shouldn’t be talking because I’m not a mother yet. I may have said it before, but one of the reasons that I find your blog fascinating is because you set an example for people like me to think about, and all of us really appreciate your efforts.

    Plus, it’s not too long until Isabel starts going to school right? My mom was a SAHM and says that the toughest years are when you have toddlers. Once the kids are older, they will stop pooping everywhere and your life will get easier. You’ll make it!

  10. Louise said:

    You know what I think Jem? All those ‘blissfully happy’ mommy bloggers are lying. Being a SAHM is hard work and I should know I’ve been doing it for 7 years. Over the years, I’ve found outlets for my energies that don’t involve children and I practice lots of self care – but that’s because I know I have to do those things to stay sane. I also love reading Lisa Hassan-Scotts blog – yep she’s into gentle parenting but she also tells you how it really is. None if us are perfect – we’re all ‘shouty mom’, sometimes more than we’d like. But through all this we learn, about our children and about ourselves :-)
    Us mums should stick together and rather than presenting the ‘everything’s rosy’ front, should tell it how it is – maybe we’d all feel a lot better for it :-)
    And as your mum says – be kind to yourself and take a break when you can.
    Louise x

  11. Chantal said:

    I think you should do what makes you feel good! Society in general puts too much pressure on people to live a certain way, in any aspect of life. stay at home mums are fantastic, but so are working mums or stay at home working mums. Everyone should do what fits best with them and their family.

    This comment is not very useful in the sense that it will give you ad

  12. Chantal said:

    sorry, hit enter too soon ;)

    I wanted to say my comment wasn’t going to give you any great advice on what to do, other than follow your heart!

  13. Louise K said:

    Ah, I fear this happening to me when/if I have kids. I wish I could find some kind of magical 50/50 split between working outside the home and looking after the kids. Though I guess that also depends on who I partner with and what their workload is like – and if my parents will do some of the caring. (My mum loooooves babies!)

    I’ve been hoping that once my kid(s) make it to primary school I could work part time while they’re there.

  14. Heather said:

    I have always been very clear (from about 4!) that I did not want to be a SAHM. My Mum was, and she loved it, but found it very tough. I knew that it wasn’t me. I study part time, and that is tough enough (having gone from needing virtual silence to revise to the background of CBeebies). I enjoy getting out of the house 3 days a week to talk to people and use my brain. Some people enjoy being at home. Others don’t. (((((((()))))))))