What I struggle with most in the ‘real’ world is how everything seems to revolve around ‘going to work’.
I think I’ve always struggled with this idea…way before I entered the world of work. I remember as a child hating having to go to school just because ‘that’s the way it is’.
OK, a lot of kids don’t love the idea of going to school but I just remember thinking that there was so much more out there to do than just sit in a classroom.
Even at that age, it seemed like such a waste of a beautiful and interesting world.
A lot of people seem to assume that if you’re opposed to ‘working for the man’ then you’re lazy, entitled or just plain stupid! This isn’t necessarily the case though!
I’m definitely not lazy or afraid of hard work. I’ve put 110% into every job I’ve ever had. I worked in Education for 10 years before having my boys. I worked through my summer holidays as a teacher to save more money.
Since becoming a parent, I put in 210% every single day. Yes, they are just random made-up figures, but you get the idea!
Why am I afraid of ‘going to work?’
I got my first teaching job at 21 and worked in Education and Health Promotion up until I had my first child at age 31.
I went back to work briefly when Léo was one but quickly handed in my notice as I knew that being a ‘working mum’ wasn’t right for me.
During our year abroad we’re exploring loads of ways of not having to go ‘back to work’ when we return. I’m using speech marks because obviously we’re expecting to work (probably even harder) but we don’t want to go ‘back to work’ for somebody else.
Ideally we’d love to find something we can do that allows us to travel for longer periods of time from a base.
So, what scares me about having to return to the workplace..?
I’m afraid of going to sit in an office each day.
Putting hours, days, months, years, decades into a job can be soul-destroying. It’s not because I had a crap job or wasn’t doing it right.
I put so much into doing it right but it was never ever going to be enough. The more you do the more is expected of you. The good workers get drained dry while the slackers just keep on slacking
All the while, the things that were truly important were left waiting. Family, wellbeing, being outdoors.
During the long winter months I was literally sat indoors working during all daylight hours. You’re literally expected to ‘live’ and get everything else done on the weekend (if you’re lucky enough to get one!)
I know I say it a lot but life’s too short to just wait for the weekend. Who ever decided that of our seven-day week we could have two for everything else?
I’m afraid of somebody else having so much control over my life.
I know when you work for someone else you have the luxury of paid holidays, sick leave, maternity pay…But, you also have very little control over your own life.
It doesn’t matter that you put the last five years into working your arse-off. If there’s no money you’re gone. If you want longer at home with your baby you’re gone.
People speak of loyalty and security but the reality is if there’s no money then there’s no job!
I’m afraid that society thinks it’s normal for me pay someone else to babysit so that I can work.
I’m saddened that we live in a world where being a full-time parent is so under-valued.
I’ve gone from sitting in high-level meetings to being spoken to like I’m a bit dim…I can only assume it’s because I’m not at work.
We chose to take a massive cut in income so that I could stay at home with our boys.
The house we built is worth ‘only’ £110,000…I earnt £32,000 (a high-salary for rural west Wales) before leaving my job, double my husband’s salary. A lot of people in our situation would have been re-mortgaging and buying bigger and better.
We didn’t though. We reduced our spending and I ‘gave it all up!’
If staying at home with kids is what people want to do then it’s often possible. There’s a choice involved…a ‘sacrifice’.
We don’t need the biggest house or a fancy car. Second hand toys are so much cheaper!
People look at us and think we’ve somehow had it easy or been handed it on a plate. But, it’s not true.
I’m afraid of what work does to our health.
During my last year at work my face and fingers started going numb. It was happening daily.
The Doctor sent me for an MRI and when it came back clear he told me not to worry. It’s funny though how having your face go numb can kinda make you freak out a little!
Fast-forward to one week after leaving work…no numb face!
I still get it now if I work at a laptop for too long (it used to be instant). Put simply, sitting too long is bad news!
It doesn’t matter if you have a fancy chair, desk and keyboard. If you move from car, to desk, to meeting for long enough it’s not good.
That’s before we even think about the numbers who are suffering from work related stress!)
I’m afraid of being so uninspired.
I’m not one of those people who needs to be entertained 24/7. That’s not what I mean!
I spend everyday with two toddlers so swings and ice cream are about as exciting as my day gets.
But, the monotony of going back to doing-the-same-thing-every-single-day is just terrifying.
In my last job (my favourite) my office looked over the sea. Staring at the sea every single day was torture. I barely get time to surf or SUP with two toddlers full-time but at least we get to mess around at the beach or lake.
I did meet some amazing, hilariously funny friends at work. There were moments when it was great. However, having tasted freedom you’d have to drag me back…even for them.
There are so many other ways of making a living than buying into the eat-work-sleep-repeat routine.
We’ve made thousands renting our house on Airbnb for a few weeks each year,
I’ve sold things I make and I write (that ones work in progress but I already seeing money coming in!)
My husband calls me Del Boy because I’m always looking for ways to make or save us money! I’ve even considered listing ‘well-worn shoes” on ebay 🤣 Go take a look…you know you’re tempted!!!
I want my boys to see that they don’t have to follow the same path as everyone else. That ‘being successful’ doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone.
Yes, sometimes being a ‘stay-at-home’ mum is lonely and even a bit boring. But, I get to spend time with my boys, outdoors, breathe fresh air, watch the seasons change. It seems crazy to think that I missed so much when I was working.
I’m afraid of having to be everything to everyone.
Wife, mother and hold down a job with a real boss!? I can barely manage the first two.
I read articles about me-time and date-nights and wonder what I’m doing so wrong as I can barely go to the toilet alone!
There’s such pressure on us to be everything to everyone. It’s great to strive to be the best that we can be but at the same time it’s unhealthy to stretch ourselves too thin.
The way I see it is that our boys will be at an age where they want their own space soon enough. I’m happy to wait until they’re ready.
For the short time I was a working-parent I hated it! However much I tried to tell myself that my baby would come first he didn’t. How could I call off a meeting that had taken months to arrange because baby was ill and just wanted to breastfeed.
I feel so sad for parents who desperately want to stay home with their children but can’t afford to. It’s a heartbreaking situation.
Why do some people love going to work?
I remember a colleague telling me that she went to work as it was easier than staying at home!
Another said she’d murder her husband if they were home together!
Love their honesty!
Don’t get me wrong…some days I can definitely see the appeal! I managed to drink an entire cup of tea, I talked to grown-ups and most of the time I had a lunch break.
If trying different ways of earning doesn’t work out for us then we’ll obviously go back to it but I’m pretty sure we’ll keep on trying other options.
So, are you a work lover or hater?!