Returning to work - my wife just wasn't ready yet, and that's OK - another husband's view

Returning to work - my wife just wasn't ready yet, and that's OK - another husband's view

Glad your family made a success of it, Joel. 

For every success, I suspect there are many more failures. 

My lovely wife ended up quitting after 9 months, despite the part time, limited hours role. To be fair, the company she was working for were not that flexible. And that’s despite the senior managers having young or growing families. She just couldn’t deal with the guilt of leaving our youngest crying at the drop off gate. Nor handle the juggle of work and home. 

She had so much pent up expectation of it giving her fulfilment, purpose, a new sophisticated social life, independence, sanity and more. And it didn’t deliver in the way she had hoped. 

In fact, she found that many jobs went unthanked; and there was more criticism than praise. She found the office role didn’t really give her great purpose. It certainly didn’t fulfil her. 

I’m not sure how many office roles would anyway! 

As for independence, she enjoyed the greater money – her own money – to buy the things she couldn’t or felt guilty about. But, most of that money disappeared to childcare; and taxis; and eating out. 

Ultimately, there was less independence to do the things she wanted. There was always a boss or customer wanting her time, including on some weekends and many evenings. There was no spontaneous trips to a trendy bar. A new best mate. Or extravagant work trips away. Only pleasant, convivial chat, before people headed home. 

Ultimately, there was less sanity. 

As there was more stress; more anxiety; more guilt; and more confusion over who and why she was. 

She has resolved not to go back to work for at least five years until the kids are at school. She still has that big missing thing in her life. But I think she has come to appreciate the importance of what she does in this period of her life. 

I’m glad work is not the big expectation monster she made it out to be that first time around. 

It’s a tough role, being the main stay at home parent. Especially, as there are constant messages telling you that you ought to work or that it will give you this and that. 

Being a stay at home parent is probably the most underrated role in our modern, Western culture. 

It’s such a shame. You rarely see people championing the stay at home parent. And I suspect most of us main career parents don’t give enough praise and credit where it’s due. 

Here’s hoping for a groundswell that will one day recognise the amazing sacrifices and jobs that stay at home parents do …

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