Sunday, 25 July 2010

Working Mums

Friday p.m. welcomed the Daughter and Grandchildren back from their week in Ireland. They stopped here on their way back home from the Airport to be fed and watered and to collect their car which had been left on our forecourt. I was regaled with excited accounts of their first horse riding lessons and my grandaughter's slightly over-dramatic version of her father's fall in the river. A head to toe soaking became a "broken-leg"! Now from his more mature 5 years my Grandson told me that she wasn't even on that walk because it was too difficult for her and she had stayed at the cottage with her Grandpa.

Waved them off with "See you Thursday" - we are taking a day off work to take all four grandchildren out. The elder two are staying with us on Thursday and Friday and they love to get together with their cousins. Not sure what we are going to do yet, it may depend on the weather. A good friend taught us long ago that you should always have a Plan B - Wet weather programme ready.

We have had quite a lazy weekend and although the weather hasn't been quite as settled we have had a chance to sit out and read in the garden.

I watched a TV discussion programme while having breakfast this morning which posed the question of whether Working Mothers are Bad Mothers. They talked with a Headmistress of a Girl's Boarding School who had gone back to work 7 hours after giving birth [obviously no stitches!]. Hers was not a really fair comparison, she lived on site and had the luxury of being able to have her baby with her all the time. But even so, 7 hours??

I believe that there are mothers who don't work and stay at home who aren't necessarily good mothers and equally mothers who work [many because of financial demands] who are great mothers. You just can't make sweeping statements. I know what worked for me. Until both my children were in primary school I didn't go out to work, I did do some project work from home in the evenings to help the family finances and keep my "hand-in" so to speak. I loved being a Mum and in the whole working lifetime/career path is 5 years out so dreadful? I started work again keeping within their school hours slowly increasing to a four day week. I was lucky I had their devoted Grandma living nearby providing great support backup. Later on, after the sadly early death of my lovely Mum, my Dad came to live with us which made it possible for me to work virtually full-time.

I think [but I could be wrong] that, as the children got older, the balance of home and work kept my brain stimulated. I was not excessively houseproud - the place was clean and tidy - I didn't vacuum everyday, ironing was essential items only but kids' friends were always made welcome and offered food [I am after all a Jewish Mother]. I did find trying to keep at least Friday afternoon work free was the key. We always tried to keep Friday night as family night. Everyone at home having a meal together - yes it was Chicken and most importantly Chicken Soup! The Daughter was even inspired to write a poem for her School Magazine on the delights of arriving back from school each Friday and smelling the chicken soup through the letter box.

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