The Curse of the Working Parent

Back to work

For the last few weeks I have been tentatively returning to the workplace and not working from home and I have loved it.

Until I became a childminder I always enjoyed working in a customer service environment where I got to chat to work colleagues and the general public during the day and although my new role still involves working with children, to have other adults to talk and feedback to makes me realise how much I missed it.

Some of my previous colleagues, me included, used to joke that we went to work for a break and I am still not a person that can sit at home all day, everyday, choosing to take the kids out to the beach, forest or farm.

Today however, I had my first back to work wobble. On Friday Eliza announced she was being celebrated in assembly at school for the first time and I hoped that work would be able to let me out for 15 minutes so I could watch her, but sadly they couldn’t spare me so I missed out.

I had forgotten how gut wrenching it is knowing you are missing out on an important part of your children’s life and it brought all the memories back of missing sports days, plays and school trips with my others which I still feel guilty about to this day.  I just hope Eliza wasn’t too upset at me not being there to see it.

In my head I have it all planned out. I am studying to be a teaching assistant so when Sebastian starts school in 2017 I can find a job in a school so that my work fits around the kids and their school hours. I am well aware that jobs within school hours are few and far between and ones that allow you the holidays off too are extremely rare so there will be lots of competition.

It has made me question if going back to work, even part-time, is the right thing to do as I don’t want to miss out on these milestones again, yet I think going back to work would be good for me and give me a new focus.

Have you had to make this difficult decision?


30 thoughts on “The Curse of the Working Parent

  1. Karen Marquick says:

    I started working as a TA last year and had the same problem…even though I was in the same school as my children, I couldn’t watch any of their special moments…even missed their nativities. I was gutted. I’ve now accepted that full time work is not compatible with my family values and that my role at home is more important.

  2. oana79 says:

    I have done it on a temporary basis and have always found it difficult, having to manage the house, the family and a job, even part-time. On the other hand, I do feel guilty for not setting up a stronger role model for Emma. This is one of those things in life at which you can’t really win as a mum, I’m afraid.xx
    oana79 recently posted…Gorgeous Easter outfits for little girlsMy Profile

  3. Charly Dove says:

    Oh Kara it’s such a tough one isn’t it. Totally get where you’re coming from and as I need to find something which will mean I will probably miss out on seeing POD doing things too. It’s really hard trying to find the balance between work and work that fits around our kids. But we have to make compromises sometimes and I guess we’ll get used to it. Banter is good too, I miss the banter when I’m working from home x

  4. Kizzy says:

    I have had similar worries with going to university and although this is more flexible when it comes to assemblies I have still had to organise childcare for pick up three days a week. I hope your feeling a bit better now
    Kizzy recently posted…Day offMy Profile

  5. Sonia says:

    I’m lucky enough to be able to stay at home, I’d hate to have to miss out on all those special times with the kids. I am starting to feel the need to return to work now they are getting older just to be around other people though, this working from home malarky isn’t all it’s cracked up to be xx
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  6. Idaintyit says:

    I am a stay at home mum but have been looking at going back part time so we have some extra money for holidays and fun stuff but I don’t want to because of that exact reason, I don’t want to miss anything! They grow up so fast and you never get it back. We have to do what we have to do though
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  7. Its really hard to have a job that’s flexible that allows you to have time off when you need it.There are some companies that offer working parent contracts.
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  8. Maria says:

    It’s hard when you know you are missing out and can’t be there isn’t it? But for me I think it’s good for them to understand that you can’t go to everything, as much as you want to be there. I’m very lucky in my job that I can choose to work from home for things like assemblies and usually can get to most things provided they are happening in the morning. I’ve missed out on events that happen during the middle of the school day or after school on the odd occasion though.

    Good luck with whatever you end up choosing xx
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  9. Rachel says:

    I really dont know what to say hun, I guess you have to do what is right for you which is a bit of a cop out x
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  10. My mummy went back to work when I was seven months old on a compressed hours contact and it’s very busy in our household! Drop off and pick ups require a juggle. Hope you find the balance you are looking for Kara xx
    Baby Isabella recently posted…It’s awards season….again!My Profile

  11. Argh – I’m grappling with the decision of whether or not to go back to work when my youngest starts school in September. I really want to be there for her, but like you I do miss the camaraderie of having work colleagues, and working together on projects. It’s a tough one! recently posted…26 London museums you can visit in one day*My Profile

  12. Penny says:

    Although I am self employed, there are some days when I actually wish I could properly use work as an excuse. Don’t get me wrong, I love being there for all my kids I really do, but sometimes working at home makes me feel obligated to do it all, which isn’t realistic.

  13. Kay says:

    I have literally gone back to work this week! I’m a cover supervisor in a school and I adore my job. I work 8-2.30 so when my girl starts school in September I will be able to pick her up 🙂 Plus my husband does shift work so are childcare fits around this too. We’ve been incredibly lucky and feel we have a very good balance xxx

  14. ali says:

    i have always struggled with this and managed never to miss anything, i followed the same path as you, childminder, ta then clearly juggling a flexible career and now working from home. They’re only at primary for a few years so I did what I could to make sure I was always there.

  15. Ickle Pickle says:

    I feel for you – I have been self employed almost all my working life so am very lucky. I hope you find the answer! Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…Top Easter Family MoviesMy Profile

  16. Jen says:

    Guilt is the overriding emotion of any mother. It doesn’t matter if you are a SAHM, WFHM or a WM. There is always something to feel guilty about. You are doing what you feel is right for you and your family in the long term and mini-sacrifices will be worth it in the long run. I know that doesn’t stop the guilt, heck I am not sure you can stop the guilt!

  17. I’m sorry I can’t help unfortunately but I definitely miss interacting with other people! It’s the one thing I struggle with, being a SAHM/WAHM is not the most sociable of jobs!
    I think your plan is good, yes there will be competition but I think it’s the same with any job and if it’s what you want to do then you’ve just got to believe that it’ll work out 🙂
    Lucy Melissa Smith (Hello Beautiful Bear) recently posted…Review: Valley Mill Soy Wax Melts & Natural SoapsMy Profile

  18. Liz Burton says:

    It’s so hard to balance everything isn’t it? I’m ‘lucky’ I can work from home and make all these events at school, but I do miss out on the environment of working in an office and all the interaction that comes with it.
    Liz Burton recently posted…Roast Lamb with Ginger Beer for Easter SundayMy Profile

  19. It is sooo tough – I know your pain. On one hand having that sense of identity outside the home is so valuable to our self esteem, but on the other we want to be there for them as much as possible and recognise that they are only little for such a short time!
    Please don’t be too hard on yourself, Eliza will remember all the sports days, nativity plays, assemblies and school open house events that you were at, not the single one you missed. Your career plan sounds like a great idea though – good luck with it all! x
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  20. I’m lucky that I work for myself so I’m able to set my own hours to an extent – as my daughter hasn’t started school yet, I make sure we have at least one full day at home together and a few half days, then I work the rest. The downside is that I have to work a LOT of evenings and weekend time to balance it all out. But this works well for me, so we have our time together and I have my time in a nice quiet office to hold on to my sanity 🙂
    Cathy (MummyTravels) recently posted…Family day out: the Cutty Sark and GreenwichMy Profile

  21. Louise says:

    I totally know what you mean! I have just retrained as a teacher with the main purpose being for the holidays to fit around the boys. I am now working three days a week and love it! Just getting out of the house and doing something different is brill and knowing we will have the holidays together gets me through the early mornings. I am finding I am missing out on little things with my youngest that I did with the eldest – like helping out in his school and of course those school assemblies when they get certificates. Don’t feel bad though just make a fuss when she gets home and she will feel really special xxxxx
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  22. Sonya Cisco says:

    Oh it is so bloody difficult isnt it!! I will need to go back to work in some context in a year or two as the savings we have used to allow me to stay at home are rapidly dwindling. Like you I am looking into being a teaching assistant as it fits so well, but of course I will still miss out on things like assemblies as there is no way you can get time off in term time in that sort of job! I wish we were rich enough to make ends meet without me needing to work other than my blog, but we are not so I will just have to lump it at some point – but I will feel heartbroken every time I miss something for sure!
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  23. Candace says:

    I’m a working mother. Apart from my maternity leave I’ve always worked. When I was employed I worked full time but was on a term time contract once the kids started school which meant I didn’t work the school holidays. This was great and working flexi meant I could have time off for plays, sports days etc. I now work for myself and therefore can take time off when I want. It works for us. I know I’m lucky to be able to do this but I do know I could never be a stay at home mum. There is more to me than that bi need the adult interaction but more than that I need the mental stimulation. I’m a better parent for going out to work
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  24. Cathy Glynn says:

    I understand your feelings Kara, I work full time and it can be so difficult to miss out on these occasions which are important to our children. I am quite lucky in that work is flexible so there aren’t many things I miss but when I do I feel so guilty.
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  25. Joanna says:

    I’ve not had to make decision yet. I’m lucky to be able to st st at homecwith Blake for now. I would love to in the future find a job like you that fits around school hours.

  26. I haven’t had to make that decision yet but I have considered going out and having a job, more to give the family a bit of extra money than anything else but we have decided that I shall carry on trying to do work from home as much as possible and perhaps pick up other ‘work from home’ positions as and when I can to help with the cashflow. I haven’t missed one single thing with the children at school so far and I hope that I never have to as I have been their one constant in that respect. I hope you find a way to make this work for you x
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  27. Although I am a qualified teacher, I recently went back to work as a teaching assistant for 15 hours a week. It’s a temporary position until the summer hols, so I thought it was a good way of ‘testing the water’. I’m glad it is a short job, as I’ve realised even though I absolutely love it, I want to be at home with the children. I’ve been lucky that because it is at the school when H goes, I’ve still ben able to get involved and see him, but missed out on things with the other two. It’s a tough balancing act!! Good luck with whatever you choose x

  28. Nikki Thomas says:

    Oh I have been in that position and it is so heart-breaking. I went back in September and I have to admit that it has been the best decision I ever made. I love being back in a workplace again and it has given me a focus along with a regular income which is lovely. When A had her first star of the week, I couldn’t go and it nearly killed me as she was so upset. I was so lucky as I managed to change my hours slightly so that I am now able to take her to school on a Friday and go to the weekly praise assembly which has made a big difference. I think it is hard that I will miss some things but I know that she understands and I am there at weekends for family time and pick up at the end of the day, so it is swings and roundabouts. Good luck whatever you end up doing
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  29. Gina Caro says:

    That is a tough one! I guess if you are only going to be going back part time then you shouldn’t miss out on too much. You could also ask the school for any upcoming events that are going to be on and try and book those times off in advance and then maybe make up the hours another day if possible?

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