Working Mums: give yourselves a break!

Everyone tells you how hard the first few months of being a mum will be. You know there will be sleepless nights, sore boobs, not knowing what the hell is going on and you survive in a haze of sleep deprivation.

At some point without you even realising it starts to get a bit easier, you get a few more hours sleep, you learn to interpret the cries and you can manage a full cup of tea whilst your little monkey is happily bouncing around in a jumperoo.

Then that day arrives, the return to work and the goalposts change all over again. If you thought being a mum was tough before, throwing a job into the mix raises the stakes. As your maternity leave approaches you start to form a romantic image of how returning to work will be. You can have lunch in peace, go to the toilet on your own and wear clothes that are not covered in baby sick or mushed up biscuits! Within a week you remember why you were desperate for your maternity leave to start, so you could get the hell out of the place for a few months.

The reality of being a working mum isn’t romantic, it’s bloody hard. Trying to get everyone up and dressed and out the house for 7:45am is a challenge in itself and your child will do a poo as soon as you are ready to leave. Admit it, we’ve all pretended we hadn’t noticed and handed the problem over to nursery!

The day to day juggling act is exhausting and when they’re ill or you have to miss Mother’s Day at nursery, the guilt kicks in. Yesterday I had a full on melt-down because I’d forgotten Little O was having a photoshoot and had dressed him in a pretty dull Asda jumper rather than one of the many gorgeous outfits he has in his wardrobe. In the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that important but I was so annoyed with myself for spending the morning worrying about a meeting at work instead of focusing on my little man. I cried all the way to work!

Yesterday I spent some time chatting with other working mums at school and the general consensus was that we think we’re doing a crap job all round. Crap mums, crap wives, crap colleagues. My best friend was so upset because she’d forgotten to pack her daughters spelling book the day before. Hearing her daughter tell her how she had sat at school and cried broke her heart!

But do you know what, we’re not crap! We all have our moments when we forget something because our head is fit to bursting, but who doesn’t? Is O going to be scarred for life because I forgot his best clothes, is he ‘eck! It’s time for me to be a bit kinder to myself and for other working mums to do the same. We’re doing an amazing job and we need to tell each other that.

My son does not suffer from me working. If anything he gains the experience of spending time with others. Both sets of grandparents cherish the days they spend looking after O and he adores nursery. Last week he was learning how to play Lacrosse in his P.E. lesson! Of course, the selfish part of me wants to be with him all the time, but I am in no doubt that he is very well looked after when I’m not with him and I love seeing the close relationship he has with our parents and how much the nursery girls love him too.

Being a mum is hard work, whether you’re a SAHM or a working one, but we all try to do the best for our families, so for that reason alone we are not crap. If you don’t believe me take a look at your child’s face as you enter a room, they don’t think you’re crap. They think you’re fantastic, and that’s because you are!


  1. February 6, 2014 / 1:24 pm

    If it’s any consolation, I am a SAHM to three, and I still forget photo days and the right books sometimes,without the excuse of important meetings or work! We all beat ourselves up when we should be bigging ourselves up, and we all do a pretty fine job really!

  2. February 6, 2014 / 4:08 pm

    I take my hat off to anyone who can balance work and mummy-hood! Being a mum whether you work or not makes you forgetful I reckon! On off days, I don’t really know how I make it through to bedtime without losing someone! lol xx

  3. February 6, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    I juts do a bit of freelance now (not much) but i worked when F was little and it was hard but i loved it. Now i’m more of a SAHM i think i probably look back at it with rose tinted specs but it was really hard getting everyone to and fro as well as running a house!

    Oh and i think nursery is so good for children too – the baby goes for one day now party so i can work but also because i think its really good for their confidence and sociability πŸ™‚

    p.s i probably would of had a meltdown about the jumper thing too lol x

  4. February 6, 2014 / 8:57 pm

    Such a great post, and just the thing I needed to read before I head back to work in the next few months. Ive felt like im doing such a mediocre job in all aspects (as a mum, wife, sister, friend) and I haven’t even gone back to work yet so its only going to get worse. But we do, do so much all the time so its no surprise that sometimes (ok a lot of the time) we drop the ball. Like you say, we need to be better about telling each other how good we’re doing as mums because if we don’t, who will!

  5. February 6, 2014 / 11:21 pm

    Great post, you really do describe the dilemma well. It’s all coming back to me. But in the end it’s good to have that reminder that you’re doing a pretty good job.

  6. February 6, 2014 / 11:58 pm

    So true, I love your roundup. If we beat ourselves up too much we won’t be able to enjoy the time we have with the little people.

  7. Colette B
    February 7, 2014 / 7:06 pm

    Yep I hold my hands up to the sly poo handover!

  8. February 7, 2014 / 7:12 pm

    yup its a roller coaster!

  9. February 7, 2014 / 9:24 pm

    hehe love the poo comment. I’ve tried it-even with my husband!! “has she done a poo?” (me) “HAS SHE?? oh I couldn’t smell anything…why don’t you change her and see…” hahaha.
    Seriously though, I think whether mums work or not, we are programmed at birth to have some kind of guilt/worry/self doubt forEVER and even if you remember that it is healthy eating week ‘so order a Graze box’, but forget to cancel it (yes, still paying for a fortnightly box of breadsticks), remember to brush your childs hair (and your own), you would still worry you were doing everything wrong!

  10. Lottie
    February 8, 2014 / 9:35 am

    Great post! I’m a single working mum of a tween and teen and am happy to report that the guilt does ease off as they get older. In fact, showing them that you’re working hard for the benefit of all of you is a really positive thing. I still forget school stuff but you’re right – in the greater scheme of things, it doesn’t matter a fig. Good luck!

  11. bavariansojourn
    February 8, 2014 / 10:13 am

    It’s amazingly hard, and currently I am only working full-time occasionally! I don’t know how you do it, and if I had one, I would take my hat off to you! πŸ˜€

  12. Jenny
    February 8, 2014 / 11:56 am

    Great post so real and we all can relate so much for more than one reason. You are a great mommy that’s all that matters.

  13. February 9, 2014 / 10:17 am

    I really don’t know how you do it! I have only myself to look after and can hardly manage that!

  14. heather@BuryFamilyLife
    February 10, 2014 / 8:58 am

    I think being a mum is hard work, full stop. Whether you are a working mum or not. I think we all need to give ourselves a break. A break and a large glass of wine πŸ™‚

  15. February 10, 2014 / 1:45 pm

    Great post. I’m largely a SAHM – I tutor a bit but I’m mainly here (we home ed) and I think that every mum who loves their child is doing the best for their child. Whatever works for a family is what is best for that family. It’s not for anyone to judge and we all need to start giving ourselves a break and recognise that we’re all doing our best for our wonderful children πŸ™‚

  16. February 14, 2014 / 7:58 pm

    I work two day a week and after a year of maternity leave I was actually really looking forward to returning to work, which surprised me. Mainly because before our twins were born I thought I would want to be with them 24/7, but it’s a nice break going to work and have some adult conversation. Although I do dread the day they go to school I won’t know what to do with myself. I actually looked into homeschooling! Thanks for linking up #binkylinky

  17. February 14, 2014 / 10:31 pm

    great post. I don’t enjoy working full time but needs must and all that xx

  18. February 15, 2014 / 2:12 pm

    There are such high expectations for mums nowadays, with pressures coming from everywhere about being expected to work, look after your children, take care of the housework, keep everyone happy, etc. etc. all at the same time! As a SAHM, people are upset with me because I don’t ‘work’. When I went to work full time as a mum, I was told I wasn’t being a ‘proper mum’. When I worked part-time, I was ‘lazy’ because I only did each ‘half heartedly’ because I ‘only’ worked part time! Others always judge and let me know their feelings known about how ‘badly’ I’m doing with any choice I make. It gets me down at times and that is when I feel bad and guilty that I’m not doing enough for my family. You are right, being a mum is hard work but enormously rewarding! We all need to ignore these pressures and get on with enjoying having the best job in e world-being a parent!

  19. BakedPotato Mummy
    February 16, 2014 / 6:42 pm

    Brilliant post. I think there are so many people out the happy to criticise other people’s decisions to be a working mum, a SAHM, or even a mix of both. It’s so easy to take it all to heart and worry we’re doing a bad job. I’m a SAHM, but my hubby lives abroad. It’s hard but totally worth it. But I know that being a working mum is just as hard and just as worth it. We should all give ourselves pats on the back and a break (and a large glass of wine). We’re doing great.

  20. February 17, 2014 / 9:44 am

    I agree with everyone else here. I’m a SAHM and really don’t know how my working mum friends do it (although they say the same to me too). I really do think that whatever you do it is difficult from time to time – three really is no right or wrong way.

  21. Beth Twinderelmo
    January 21, 2015 / 9:15 am

    oh Jo I’m so sad that you cried all the way to work! I went back to work when charlie was one and whilst I did 4 days a week Id leave at 7.30 and get back at 4.30pm. It was so hard to juggle and the constant feeling of guilt and that he would resent me ate me up. But at the same time I felt my time with him was so much more productive. I cherished the days together so much more. I don’t have any answers or words of wisdom but all u would say is – keep doing what you’re doing. I can’t fault much of that – dull Asda jumper or not! xxx
    Beth Twinderelmo recently posted…Bye Bye Page 3 … Hello Pages of SelfiesMy Profile

  22. Potty Mouthed Mummy
    January 21, 2015 / 10:12 am

    Just burst into tears as had a really hard morning with H off to nursery (and a few other bits) and I just felt horrid. This post is so true lovely and we should all be much nicer to ourselves xx
    Potty Mouthed Mummy recently posted…Why Did We Get Married?My Profile

  23. Megan - Truly Madly Kids
    January 21, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    I agree you are doing a fab job. One day they will see how hard you worked for them and really appreciate you. #sharewithme
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  24. Jenny
    January 21, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    I couldn’t agree more darling. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and DO IT ALL that its impossible not to feel weepy when we feel we have failed at something like packing the spelling book. It’s hard too not to put this pressure on ourselves when we feel it coming from all ends. I think we all think there is someone out there that is perfect and does it all and we strive to be this imaginary person and hike ourselves to this imaginary bar that doesn’t actually exist. Great post. You have me thinking now… lol Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me ~ #3My Profile

  25. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk)
    January 22, 2015 / 10:59 am

    Awww I think that working or not theres always something that we will make and think to make us feel like we are doing crap. I am a stay at home mother and there are still things that I forgot (PE Kit always). I just wish that I can think as a mother without feeling any guilt. That would be good.

    This is such a lovely read.

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  26. January 22, 2015 / 10:22 pm

    I think all mums think that they are doing a rubbish job when they are not. We just need to remember that we are only human, and forgotten books and photo days happen but that our children are warm, fed, clothed and living great little lives. We need to feel less guilty! #sharewithme
    Lina recently posted…Little Memories #3My Profile

  27. Pingback: Striving to be perfect~ She doesn't exist - Lets Talk Mommy
  28. January 23, 2015 / 12:50 pm

    Hello there, I loved reading your post and I think it’s fab. We are all hard on ourselves, and strive for perfection, but really at the end of the day it’s the fact we are there for our children that is the most important. I was racked with guilt when my little boy said I had forgotten his gloves at pre-school and I found them in my handbag! But you are right, they won’t be scarred for life, and maybe we should give ourselves a break! x #sharewithme
    Two Years Old and Rising recently posted…Chapter 57-The Fun of the Potato FairMy Profile

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