Answers on a postcard…

26 02 2007

Karrie has asked some very interesting questions in her post here about working mums to which I have not really got any answers. The issue is one that is both pertinent to me and something about which I worry constantly. Go read it. I would be interested to hear your views.

I do not have kids and am not sure when/if it will happen for me but a major consideration for us (as with practically every other couple/person about to start a family) is money. I earn more money than my partner but I do not like my job and it is not a career for me. I want to be an at-home mum at least to start with but I am not sure financially it is viable. So then I have to decide if it is fair to start a family knowing I will not be able to care for my child 24/7. My husband has offered to be an at-home dad so I can carry on working but that sounds like a sucky option to me – I suppose it would be more appealing if I were happier at work.

Women have spent such a long time fighting for equal pay and I think that the stats show that this is starting to pay off but I can’t help wondering if that has ultimately made life more difficult for families. In order to balance the pay, are men getting less money thus making is harder for them to support their family? What would be the alternative? I really cannot believe that unequal pay is an option – it presupposes that being an at-home mum or a housewife is right for every woman which, of course, is ridiculous. But how else do we keep the working environment mother-friendly whilst also making it possible for allowing those mother’s who want to be home to stay there? I have spent too many sleepless nights wondering about this.

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3 responses

26 02 2007
karriew

Great questions!

I know here that moms who leave the paid workforce for a few years are often ‘blamed’ for the problem. But it is so obvious that the majority who work outside the home get screwed anyway.

27 02 2007
charlotteotter

It’s series of tough questions, Kate, and aren’t answered easily. In Germany, mothers get three years maternity leave per child. This is unpaid but means they have a job to go to afterwards. It makes the early years easier but then the questions arise: how do you go back after three years (or six)? will companies accept you back part-time? will you have to spend all your salary on childcare? I talked about this in an earlier post (http://charlotteotter.wordpress.com/2006/07/08/what-women-want/) .

I hope you are able to resolve your own debate – if you are happy in your job and earning well, then having your husband stay home with the children is a great option.

27 02 2007
kate1976

Karrie – I think the same is true here in the UK but I have yet to really find out … it’s pretty bleak so I suppose there is an element of ‘will just have to get on with it and hope it works out’ to it all.

Charlotte – we get up to a year off (6 months of which is unpaid, 20 weeks is a small monthly allowance and 6 weeks is 90% of your salary) so in that respect it’s not so bad – provided you WANT to go back to work. I don’t! At least, not back to the the job I am doing now.

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