Motherhood & Career. The ever challenging debate

Wednesday 7 May 2014
Outfit: Isabel Marant Etoile Kady leather jacket (similar here), Petit Bateau breton top, The Kooples sweat pants, New Balance sneakers and Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere 35cm.

I always feel like I have to apologize for my OOTD photos. No, I'm not fishing for compliments here. It's just that every time I remember to take a shot of my outfit, I'm bloated after a meal, my make up has melted or I have a miniature volcanic zit on my cheek.

Okay, enough about my venerable zit. I had a long discussion with someone recently about combining motherhood with a career. Both are equally challenging, the latter more so than the former because we're now tasked with guiding and equipping a young individual(s) to navigate through life. Without a manual, I might add. At some point, something's got to give.

Over the years, I've read and heard plenty of arguments with just as many finger-pointing and condemnation for either camp - working moms and stay at home moms. In fact, a long time ago when I was on maternity leave, I was at home with a newborn while juggling a home based business. A so called friend who worked part time as an architect asked somewhat mockingly, "What do YOU know all day since you've got sooooo much time on your hands?" Self restraint was the order of the day as I would've loved to blurt out - "I don't know...... Eat donuts, play with my fingers and toes, do star jumps, watch every episode of CSI, go shopping, change nappies, breastfeed. ALL at the same time? "

I didn't realize this is a multiple choice question that one will only get vindicated by choosing the right answer. How's this for a test?
A) I work because I love what I do. I feel I'm a better mom if I pursue my career/work.
B) I work because I have to. We need my income to survive.
C) I believe I give the best start to my child's life by being at home with him/her
D) Childcare and transportation expenses will negate any salary that I earn
E) I want to work but finding a job that allows flexi hours (school runs/term breaks) is next to impossible.

The correct answers are A, B, C, D and E. Yup, ALL of them. Whatever the choice is, one isn't really easier or better than the other. As long as we're doing the best we can, given the circumstances we're in......who's to say what's right and wrong? What say you?


  1. I agree with you but it is hard not to project attitudes onto the 'other camp' unless you have experienced both sides of the equation. I have never had a child of my own so can only speak with experience of one side of the fence. Parenting is hard work and, particularly pre-verbal children who are forming primary attachments need secure and consistent care giving. That said, I cannot but notice that many of my middle class, highly educated and formerly professional full time Mummy acquaintances and former colleagues are not so stretched by their child care after the baby stage as not to have a lot of free time to socialise when the rest of us are working and paying tax! I do think full time Mummying can be a bit of a cop out and waste of resources once the little ones are toddling and beyond. Controversial?
    Susan, London.
    PS you are looking great btw - no zits or bloat from what I see.

  2. There is no one answer - as you point out. I am 37, just got married last year, and have been career orientated pretty much all of my adult life. We've just begun to try for a baby and whilst I don't yet have to think about juggling work with motherhood - I have seen it plague peers at work and friends. Each woman has taken different choices - and have to say each one has struggled with making the choice, and then also executing the choice. I can say I haven't seen their male partners struggle with the same type of choice.

  3. a line manager who prides herself on being supportive to colleagues and employees with flexi time and understanding family commitments - I have always noticed that the male partners of my employees very rarely do the collecting of children from school when sick. Disclaimer: not saying all partners do this, just in my experience. I've just always wondered why it impacts my business more than the employers of my colleague's partner.

  4. So sorry for multiple posting - haven't got the hang of it! Essentially I know this - that I can't have it all. And life is too short to worry endlessly about what you should/shouldn't do. Just live your life. Xx

  5. Love this post. I've been on all sides of it - stay at home Mum for a decade, full time working at home, full time working in a workplace and none of it is easy. i used to be the most judgmental person ever (I was a journalist on Fleet Street) and since becoming a Mum i just say to myself we're all just trying to do the best we can. Love your outfits as usual chook, the leather jacket and sneakers are brill!

  6. First of all, you look very pretty and stylish. We're all a bit self critical but you are genuinely cute (with very tiny feet). Second of all, we often can't choose our circumstances and just have to do the best we can. You are providing for your daughter and hopefully giving her skills and emotional strength for the journey ahead. I agree with the posters above -we're not perfect, let's enjoy what we have. X

  7. You look amazing as always Marlene! I had no intention of going back to work after having my daughter but got a call after 6 months with an offer I couldn't refuse! I was lucky that it fitted perfectly around home life at the time as I didn't have to rely on anyone for childcare and it meant my husband got quality time with baby too. It was good for me to get back in to a normal routine and have something else to think and talk about but I know not everyone feels the same. We feel so much pressure to do the right thing these days but I'm with what everyone else seems to be have to do what's best for you! I believe that if your kids are loved and cared for they are happy and you can't ask for more than that! xx

  8. Such a difficult one. Everyone has their own reasons and the people who criticise are the ones in the wrong. My biggest pressure came from illness...I had to rely on 6 people being fit and healthy every day for me to be able to work; my childminder, her two children, me and my two kids. If one of us fell ill, this fragile arrangement came crashing down. The guilt I felt calling my employers was dreadful x

  9. First - I know what you mean about selfies, thats why I never take any :)
    Love you routfit, could wear the exact same! no kidding!

    And for the rest - I agree and I am in the same spot. What I would actually really like is to get in touch with more people in this situation. own small business, working from home, being a mum etc...
    good luck to all of us xx

  10. You're right - no straight answer. I've done both and loved and hated both in equal measure. When I worked, I thought it would be great to be off spending time with the kids.. When I was off, I thought it would be great to be working with income, using my education. Part time seems like the perfect balance but it's not because you're pulled in both directions and it's harder to set out boundaries. So basically, there's no answer except to do what feels right for you..instinct is never more important than when you're a parent.
    PS still getting younger looking I see...*envy*

  11. I am no SAHM no mother either but I know, as other have said, parenting is a very demanding and hard job. I think that, maybe, what other may say when you are a mother at home or when you are a mother working in an office, is that the relationship between the two is one of love/hate. One always want to be/to have what one is not/has not...However I understand it is difficult for a SAHM to really have time what the "working" people would call a social life with physical interaction, not only through social media. I am wrong? Getting to know one's child and have quality time is priceless especially when they are younger or teen but what about the rest of the world? Marlene, you do not have to feel guilty, even is there can be social pressure to be a "good mother". There are no good or bad mothers/fathers. There are parents, loving as much as they can, in their own ways, sometimes in a manner we don't understand, that's true. But if you choose to work as well this is YOUR decision and I admire you for that. Would your daughter love you more or less would you be otherwise? Most important thing is that you find your balance at last. I apologise again as I am not able to really convey what I think with my broken english. And by the way do not question your figure (well not so much as this) as you do look good, truly.

  12. Doing what is right for you and your family is whats right. And sometimes WE don't even know what's "right" for us and our families. I dropped out of the workforce to become a full time SAHM because I was lucky enough to be able to. I was there for almost every important event in their childhoods - every party - every school assembly - shuttling them to sports, play dates, museums.... you all know what I mean. Now my youngest is 12 and eldest 17 and I'm trying to re-enter the work force. When I see women my age who did NOT stop their career paths, I am green with envy. They have forged careers in which most of them are at their peaks - where I would have been by now. I can not compete with them.... nor can I compete with the younger ones entering the work force like I am trying to do. Getting back in is a challenge to say it mildly. I realize that, if I had chosen a career path, my children would have been raised by nannies for the most part and not me. So I feel as if there was no "right" decision. Only different choices with different consequences. Any woman who has children has to make them. Men don't have to and it's not fair (stamping feet like a toddler) - but it is what it is.

  13. Hear Hear Marlene - like you I would be answering A though to E!

    Having been the main bread winner working in recruitment in London, it came as quite a shock to us having our little boy Luca two years ago in our late 30's. What I've learnt is that I don't think there is an easy path when it comes to parenting, whether you work or not. I'm working three days now, not really through choice and financially I could do with being full time. One thing I can say is that blogging is a fab life line as a working mum! A way to stay in touch with adults, as well as fashion x

  14. I agree--- it IS all of the above. I am a work at home mom and it is a wonder I get through most days--- but at the same time, I am so thankful for all of it!
    And as for your OOTD post-- I think you look great--- I don't notice any of your qualifiers!

  15. I applaud those who are able to juggle motherhood and a career, it's a lot of work, and seems somewhat expected these days. But, I think, if you're choosing to have children and are able to, you should spend as much time at home as possible with them, at least until they're able to go to school. But then, every erson is different, has different drives, different needs, and different situations, and as you say, it's definitely not a one size fits all!

  16. There is not right or wrong. It is simply what fits in with your' needs and life stage. Having children shouldn't be the enclave of the rich but it is a huge commitment and one of the hardest challenges life can throw at you. I worked from the age of 13 to 40. I then had my daughter and was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with her. I say lucky, I have never worked so bloody hard in my life! My Brother is a house husband, with his wife working full time. We adapt to our circumstances. I think you look great btw. H xx

  17. That should say no rather than not, my nails are too long at the moment! Apologies :-)

  18. As I was reading your answers, I was agreeing with them all! Happy Mummy = Happy Child! x

  19. Its so hard Marlene & 'they' certainly don't make it easy for us Mama that want to go back to work! I've had to give up the search until September when my girl starts school! Its just not worth doing it atm but I'm chomping at the bit after almost 8yrs as a SAHM! xx



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