I recently attended a house auction in our community, and the situation prompting the sale affected me so deeply I had to share my thoughts. The couple that own the house are getting divorced, which is sad, but the part which really pains me is that the wife has spent much of her adult life being the primary child carer and supporting her family with her time.
Now she is facing life as a sole parent without the means to survive financially without working. Her choice to be a dedicated stay-at-home mother and member of the community has left her with little employment options. Both roles are very important, but they will not help this woman financially, and that makes me feel sad. I am a mother myself, and I know the value of spending time with my kids. Time is really the most important thing I can give them. But what about what I give myself?
I have set up my business so that I am available for my children and I am using the professional skills I worked so hard at school and university to learn and then develop throughout my career. If you’ve climbed the corporate ladder you owe it to yourself to keep a foothold. Even if you do take time out to be with your children, consider part-time work. Yes, there are careers where this is almost impossible, or workplaces that don’t offer part-time options, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilise your skills elsewhere.
It is so important to keep on top of technology generally, but even more so to stay abreast of developments within your industry. If you keep a hand in through part-time work or taking courses, it makes everything so much easier when you decide to go back to work full time. Some women don’t plan to go back to work at all, but remember you don’t always know what your future holds. The woman I mentioned above didn’t plan to be divorced and looking for work. Equally, there could be a tragic death and your partner’s life insurance policy might not cover living expenses indefinitely.
There are things you can’t plan for, but you can plan to be able to support yourself financially if something does happen. This is not a decision to feel guilty about; it is one that will show your children how empowering it is to be able to both parent and develop your career concurrently. Just think of the role model you will be for them. And if you’re certain this won’t be a problem for you because nothing bad will happen, think about the reasons outlined in this article from Scary Mommy. They make some very valid points.