“Going back to work is the best thing to do when you have a daughter. I am teaching her to be independent and strong.” Those words spoken by my amazing friend were beautiful, brave and rang true. But they felt like a stab to the heart and a kick in the gut to me as a stay-at-home mum.
As my friend bounced her thoughts of returning to work off of me, I listened with what I hoped was an open mind and endless support. We had had our daughters merely weeks apart - my daughter being my second child and hers being her first, and they had not long just turned three-years-old.
Like me after the birth of my first son, my friend couldn’t bear to return to her previous demanding job. We both had little support in terms of family members who could provide ongoing child care back then and sending our children to daycare when they were so little felt against everything our hearts were telling us. We were lucky enough to stay home with our young children and our partners took the financial baton.
Watch Be A Good Mum, a spoken word video staring Laura Bryne articulating the contradiction of pressures that mothers face in their daily lives. Post continues after video.
At this point, I had already been a SAHM for five years - only picking up a casual role as a university exam invigilator when the opportunity arose for some extra income. I had given up so much of my own life to raise my children mostly on my own.
My husband worked in hospitality and routinely did 60 to 70-hour weeks. He was out the door by 8am and home anywhere between 9pm and 1am. I was a ‘weekend widow’ as I was told by other mums and was solely responsible for our young children and anything to do with our home and family life. I felt more exhausted than when I was working and pregnant.
I worked hard raising our family and running our lives. I never had a moment to myself and there was always something that needed to get done.