Updated: Apr 30
Motherhood and sacrifices often go hand in hand, and when you throw in a socioeconomic career, things can begin to get a little more complicated. Here are 5 tough decisions working mums will probably have to contemplate at some point in their motherhood journey. In no way am I saying that there will be a right or wrong answer because everyone’s circumstance is very personalised and everyone is built differently.
1) Pursue a dream or stick with what’s working? (even if you are not feeling fulfilled)
This blog is about helping mums feel fulfilled in their careers, but for some this fulfilment will probably evolve over time. Even after reaching a certain milestone, life will probably prompt you to want to expand yourself, or a new opportunity may come up which you feel has your name written all over it. This can be in the form of a promotion, starting a business, relocating, joining a different company, or something new in your life may trigger you to want to move on. These things happen! Either way, this is a difficult decision to make because there will always be a small chance that things may not work out at your new opportunity, and when you have dependants, the risk of failure can make the decision even more difficult.
2) Whether or not to have more children?
I am not going to lie, the experience of growing up with siblings who are now my most loyal friends is something that I am lucky to have. Additionally, I’ve had friends say that they did not enjoy being an only child. So for some parents, this may be an appropriate question, there may come a time where you will ponder whether or not you will give your child a sibling. It can be a difficult decision especially if you feel you are not certain that you can afford to take the career break or afford the additional costs. Or you may not be interested because you are looking forward to taking on more responsibilities at work, or interested in pursuing a qualification instead. The reason why this can be a difficult decision is that it comes down to your wants versus your other wants.
3) School performance or the networking event?
Both work and family life are big commitments and sometimes two important events (from both sides of your life) can clash leaving you to choose between the two. Whether it be ceremonies, school performances versus a new business pitch, or running around a networking event, either way, someone will be disappointed with the final decision (and that may include yourself).
4) To drop everything and go, or stay and smile?
One of the difficult things about being a working mum, is that you may not have the flexibility to react to emergencies, so when something comes up, you’ll find yourself having to prioritise between work and children. Your child has a fever on the morning of your interview, so you give them some Calpol to get them through the day and send them on their way. Or you have to leave your colleagues hanging because you’ve suddenly been summoned by the school. These types of scenarios can make for some awkward conversations as it is likely that everyone affected will have different opinions and interests.
5) How much childcare is too much?
As much as we love rolling around with our children, there will always be a limit on how much time we can spend with them in a day, and many families rely on childcare arrangements for support. So having to decide on whether to send your little one off to breakfast club, after school club, a childminder, 5-50 hours/week at nursery, boarding school (or a combination of these), to allow you to pursue work is a difficult decision to make. Especially as you worry about whether or not long hours will have an effect on your child or the bond you share. This is another tough choice to make because again it’s your needs versus your other needs.
Having the responsibilities of working and raising a family will inevitably bring up conflicting choices, and of course no mum wants to choose something that will negatively impact their child. That these types of decisions are complex as sometimes the “best” decisions are not always made but rather influenced by practicalities, penalties, and perceptions. If you ever find yourself faced with such dilemmas, try not to compare yourself too tightly to other families and just remember that there will never be a right or wrong answer, just an answer that is right for you.