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Going Back to Work after being a Homemaker

Updated on February 25, 2012

People say that marriage, having kids and moving are the 3 most stressful things a person can go through, but I’ve got to throw something else into it that far out ways at least two of them.  I haven’t been married, so I won’t pass any judgement on that yet, but I am a parent and I have moved house, and yes they can be stressful, but they also both equally come with as many good times too, if not more. 

Nothing makes me happier than running around like a headless chicken after my family, good days or bad days, it’s what I love doing.  But due to the fast paced modern times I had to go back to work. I’ve got to say that in all my years of being a parent it has never made me feel more stressed than having a job had managed to do in one month alone!  Having kids and moving do not even come close to it in my opinion.

First there is preparing the family

Preparing the family for the change of having a full time parent around the place to having a part time one was no easy mission. How do you tell a young child “sorry but mummy has to keep going out without you all the time now".

Flexibility goes right out the window

Knowing that you can no longer just drop everything at a seconds notice for your children just feels wrong.  Knowing you can’t make it back to parent’s day on time feels wrong.  I mean why else do you have children if I can’t be there to see how they are getting on? I suddenly felt like I wasn’t being a very good parent at all.

The kids get ill - it can’t be helped

One particular day that sticks out most for me is when I received a phone call from my daughter’s school saying ‘she is not well, can you come and collect her?’ Not only did I have to face a very, very disgruntled boss but I also had a ninety minutes long journey before I could get to the school.

I had to contact my friends to see if they could pick her up for me any sooner than I could but each of them was typically busy, so my daughter had to sit in school poorly and wait for me all that time. Before starting work I was never anything more than 20 minutes away from the school so I’d never felt so guilty as that day, when I got there and saw how ill she looked.

That was followed by her needing two more days off school. Now I don’t care how much modern times wants to come and bite me in the bum, there was no way I was leaving my daughter while she wasn’t well so I phoned up my even more disgruntled boss and said I wouldn’t be in work until she was better, she needs her mum and I’m not prepared to leave her. That left me two and a half days short on wages. It was already a pretty tight wage so then I had to play catch up with rent for the next couple of weeks.

Then there is sorting out the finances

You can hear it a million times over how the change over of going back to work will be made as smooth as possible for you but it is a far cry from that.

Most jobs now pay your wages monthly so then you have to worry about whether you can actually afford to even feed your family for the whole month whilst you’re waiting for your first wage to be paid. It’s really not nice when you don’t know if you can afford to top up your electric for the month, or being scared to put the heating on in case you run out of gas. Then on top of that you also have to find your lunch money and travel fares to work for the whole month too.

You also have to make dozens of phone calls trying to sort out other benefits that may or may not top up your wages if you are entitled to them. A good majority of the tax credits will take on average 5-6 weeks to sort out, so in the meantime you continue to struggle with next to no income coming in.

Finally you get your first wage

You finally make it through the month; you get your wages and wonder what the hell you have been busting your backside off for.  By the time the taxman has finished taking his cut and you’ve paid the bills and rent for the previous month, paid back money you’ve had to borrow from people, you’ve then got to make sure you have enough money left over to cover you for the following month as well.

I lost track of how many times people said to me “you’ll be much better off when you are working”.  I hate to say it but doesn’t exactly look like that when reality sets in.

One full time job straight to another

You come home from work, it’s tiring.  I don’t think many people will deny how shattered they feel when they get in from work, just the travelling is enough to knock me out on it’s own (I was always one of the kids that fell asleep in the back of the car, not much has changed for me really!)  There’s no resting yet though, you have to come home and do an entire days worth of work all over again, except now you’ve got to cram the entire days worth into an evening instead.  The housework still needs to be done, the shopping, the dinner, the ironing, helping with homework, prepare pack lunches etc, all that whilst trying your absolute best to spend at least a tiny bit of quality time with your family.

Eating habits go down hill

You may be thinking what has starting a job got to do with eating habits but it made a huge difference in the food we ate because I simply didn’t have the time any more to cook an entire meal from scratch like I previously had always done before.  It didn’t take long till I had noticed my basket was being to be filled with frozen meals or anything that could be prepared quickly and effortlessly.

Life starts rushing by!

Everything had become such a rush job that every time I blinked, I felt like I had missed out on a huge part of my life and more importantly my family’s life.  

Times were hard and money was tight before, but they were a lot harder when I started work.  If that is what being a modern day mum is all about then I’m sorry but if you don’t mind I’ll stick to being old fashioned.


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    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Thanks AngelaKaelin,

      It certainly does have its

    • AngelaKaelin profile image

      AngelaKaelin 6 years ago from New York

      I can see where "old-fashioned" would have its advantages! Great job!

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi escribir,

      It's a real shame that parents sometimes get frowned upon for wanting to spend time with their children. I think it's really important for the children to have a parent around especially in their younger years. Same here; beans on toast any day of the week if that’s what it takes!


    • escribir profile image

      escribir 6 years ago

      Victoria I can totally empathise with all of the above. I was frowned upon severely for taking a career break when i had my youngest. But family should always come first, I would rather be living on beans and crust with happy safe children, than living with the latch key kid routine.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi carrie450,

      It's a really tough decision when parents are considering going out to work and leaving the kids, the system isn't really set up very well to help parents be with their children now and they have no choice but to go out to work. It's particularly more of a strain on lone parents who over the next year could even find them selves being forced out to work as soon as their children reach one year old.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a

    • carrie450 profile image

      carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

      I can relate to all of this Victoria, it must be tough to hold a job and raise a family at the same time. I don't know how parents do this nowadays. Our children need us at home until they are in school full time. I never even thought of going to work and leaving my three with anyone. They deserve all of the quality time we can give to them at these young ages.

    • Victoria Stephens profile image

      Victoria Stephens 6 years ago from London

      Hi case1worker,

      Yes, I've experienced this myself already on a few occasions. I often find I still need as much sleep as they do, but very little time for it.


    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I think you notice it as the children get a little older and mummy wants to go to bed before them