I’ve had a few different jobs of varying career direction in my past, until I finally found a job that I loved, working with children. I really enjoyed the way everyday was different, you rarely get a moment to sit down and their little personalities were all so unique and diverse, there was literally never a dull moment.
But to be completely honest, I never really had much career ambition. Yes, I have some small regret for not following my interests into a degree after leaving school, I think this was more to do with the desire to get out of full time education by that time, but I feel that even if I had done this I would still have wanted to be a full time mum when the children came along, if given the choice. To find a job that I love, that was the aim, which I did achieve and feel so fortunate for this. But I never had any hopes to progress to higher positions with more responsibility and a higher wage. Its weird to admit that, and I don’t know why I was that way, so long as I was earning money that contributed to us and we could afford to live on our combined wage, I just didn’t have a ‘drive’ to push on further and was very happy to enjoy the moment.
Having said that I’m always really in awe of friends and family who do have that internal drive and ambition and have progressed massively in their full time careers, many whilst juggling a family also, which is such an inspiring achievement! And not something I think I would ever be able to master.
I met Rob at 18, he had already been in full time employment for over a year and he was progressing quickly. He has always worked so hard and has tonnes of career ambition and I love this about him. So it all kind of subconsciously worked. I always knew when we had children I would be more than happy to be the sole carer and knew my job would need to work around his, with childcare.
I do often wonder why I had so little career ambition though, my ambition was mainly to have a family, is that totally ‘1950’s wife??’ I’m not sure, but that was always the primary direction for me after I met Rob. And I really don’t feel that it was fuelled by any pressures or traditional beliefs at all, it was just my preference.
So, when Rob’s job changed and became more intense with more time away etc, we finally decided I would give up my part-time gig as a Teaching Assistant and be home, full time. No more juggling. There was no sad, grieving moment, I knew I’d miss the people I worked with and it took me a while to let go of the self inflicted guilt of not contributing financially, but overall it so felt right for us.
We love this set up now, and feel so fortunate to be able to Home Educate because of our situation. Of course, there are tough days and we are met with challenges at times, but generally we have such an amazing time together, us three on our adventures.
However, sometimes I feel it’s perceived like you’ve given up if you’re happy and content to be ‘just’ a mum. When asked by people what I do, and responding with, “I’m a mum,” often being met with that look, they’re not quite sure what to say, or they’re like, “thats so sweet, when will you go back?” I can end up feeling slightly embarrassed in these moments. Whether I’m just reading people wrongly or not, it does feel like there’s a common misconception that if you’ve made this choice it’s a bit….sad?
This makes me feel quite frustrated and really misunderstood as this is a role that I honestly find truly fulfilling. Not that I’m saying working mums don’t and I know that I’m really lucky to have the option, but theres often that kind of awkwardness around the fact that you stay at home with the kids out of choice, and I feel its really strange.
If someone is not encouraged to make their own choices and follow their ambitions then of course that’s sad, but if someone actively chooses to be at home, I feel that should be celebrated as a career would be. After all, its an amazingly diverse and challenging job as all mums’ will know! And despite the difficult days, I absolutely love it.
It’s not that I don’t have other ambitions and interests-I have pursued many, all entirely supported by my husband. He’s always the one convincing me to spend our money on my own interests and go in whatever direction I choose.
I don’t feel a need to pursue a career path at the moment that takes me away from the life we have now, and I don’t expect any pity for that fact either. I’m not saying it will always be this way, because who knows! But right now, I’m so happy and content to be at home.
So, how does society make you feel about your career, or stay at home mum choices? Were you always ambitious to pursue a career?