You feel guilty if you do and guilty if you don’t…Mothers, you can’t win either way!

In past years, it was once deemed unnatural to be a working mother, yet now-a-days so many seem to have model children and effortlessly balance a career at the same time.  Is there a secret that only happens behind closed doors? Or is it a innate talent they have and perform naturally?

In reality few, if any, actually achieve the perfect harmony of happiness at work and at home.

“I tend to be very uptight and forceful, get quite stressed out easily!” laughed one, whilst another thought she was “quite easy-going.”

One commented there was a “massive amount of pressure” when you’re a working mother. Despite everyone searching for a perfect balance, there just isn’t one. According to some, it’s about how you as a person respond to both things and how you want to bring up your kids.

 Ultimately, it can be narrowed down to how successful you are at juggling a career and children at the same time. Some teachers at Meldrum Academy agreed that your personality reflects the amount of discipline you ‘inflict’ upon your kids. Within that, there is a spectrum of things to account for.

Perhaps the hardest thing was saying no. Do you feel like you have to give them their own way to compensate for the fact you’ve been at work? “I’ve no hesitation to say no. When I tell my kid no, he knows it means no.” One teacher answered. However the other answered that they did feel it was “probably” a bit unfair in the long run.

As far as careers went, all the interviewees were in agreement that there was always a choice between working or not.  Many felt that working gave them more satisfaction than being a stay at home mother – in spite of the guilt of leaving your kids with a childminder.

However, from personal experience, I know that not all mothers get that choice.  With single mothers it isn’t always the case. Working single mothers surely have it harder?

One was adamant that was true, but another had recollections of single mothers coping better on their own.  Undeniably, though, no matter how successful they seem, it has to be difficult when it comes to the elasticated no – the answer children do not take as final and persist in attempting to change it.

“When I tell my son “no”, he treats it as an elasticated no, that it can mean yes if he tries to bribe me. But when his Uncle says no, he knows it means “no”, that there’s no way out.”  However, some put this down to be the ‘soft touch’ and explained that they were the stronger ones, and their husbands took the soft touch role.

So to sum up, the main positive points of being a working mother is that you have a circle of supportive friends around you, and can enjoy a career at the same time and enjoy children.

There is massive pressure to “get it right” and be that super-skinny, amazing cleaner who effortlessly manages looks, a career and family with seemingly little effort, but in truth only a few, if any, ever achieve that perfect status. Some people may not want to fit into that category, and instead enjoy a life putting their family first.

And that’s ok. After all, being a mother is a job in itself.

Emily Low

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