Today I am writing a cheque…

Work at home mums: writing a check
Why do we feel guilty paying for childcare when we work at home?

Today we have a lovely guest blog from Jo Middleton, AKA Single Slummy Mummy about her guilt as a work at home mummy. It’s never easy working from home; we always beat ourselves up about things, no matter how we do it….

Today I am writing a cheque. It’s a cheque for after school club. It’s been a dilemma for a while but I finally bit the bullet and signed my ten year old daughter Belle up for one day a week.

A whole day!

Well, I say a whole day, but it’s really just a couple of hours after school on Mondays. It doesn’t exactly break the bank, (although these things cheap at nine pounds a day), so why do I feel so guilty about it?

It’s because I am a work at home mum.

You see now? For mothers, ‘work at home’ normally means working at the same time as doing the school run, putting the washing on, cooking tea, helping with homework… the list goes on. Paying for childcare when technically you are home feels incredibly decadent, especially when your kids are older – almost irresponsible. If at home anyway, what’s the big deal?

Well, the other part of my work at home arrangement makes it a bit more complicated. We have a pretty small house, and my ‘office’ (read ‘crowded desk’) is actually in the lounge. Not ideal. It can be quite hard to concentrate to be honest with Tracey Beaker in the background and a seemingly never ending chorus of ‘I’m hungry!’

In fact, I’m working right now, at 4.30pm, with the Pink Panther on behind me. It’s a little distracting to say the least. I can feel my shoulders tensing and my teeth becoming more gritted with every minute that passes.

School holidays are even more guilt-inducing. Belle hates going to holiday clubs, but equally she hates me not giving her my undivided attention if she is at home, so what is a working mum to do? Fork out the cash and pack a reluctant child of for a week of wholesome activities or attempt to be full-time mum and efficient working woman, taking the kids out on day trips and then secretly replying to work emails in toilets?

Neither sounds like a great option does it?

How do you balance work, family life and childcare? Am I being terribly lavish using holiday clubs or should I just toughen up, pack her off and get my work done in peace?

Now it’s my turn to join in – I work at home too; and this half-term I paid for one day of childcare, and the rest of my work I did manically before half-term, or around the kids…how did you manage? Do you feel the same as Jo? Do let us know. Our care charts do help them understand who is looking after them when if you work – but do you still get the guilt?!?

3 Comments

  • This half term I was lucky enough to spend entire day working whilst my 5 yo crafted next to me at the kitchen table… Is it wrong that I think that lucky?? Meanwhile my 4yo & 17mo were at nursery, as they always are on a Tuesday & Wednesday so that I can do my work.
    I am lucky enough to be working for the family business, from home, on a part time basis AND to have a daughter that just loves to spend time with her mummy… Not so sure this will work when my son starts in September at “big school”. I personally put them in childcare so that they have the benefit if the enrichment that comes from the nursery environment but also benefit from the guilt free time I then get to spend with them in the days we are together.
    Children are so demanding in so many ways and I know I would end up making more mistakes and taking longer to complete my work if I did have them with me…
    Thanks for writing this… I am glad it is not just me…. :)

  • The interaction with the other children is important. Kids are in class all day so after school builds their social skills. If you worked outside the home would you bring your child with you to work? My cousin hires a sitter to watch her boys while she goes out to her family’s camping trailer and does her job on her laptop. I find it impossible to focus with the kids. I do most of my work from bed (not THAT kind of work). I just make sure I’m in the den and dressed if I have a webinar to partake in. Your a good mom. A big hug to you too

  • It was easy when he was tiny and stayed in one place when I set him down – now he is a toddler and moves! I have overwhelming mama guilt but just try to have definite work and home life boundaries. No blurring please! Easier said than done.

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