The internet has lent its support to a mother looking to refocus on her career after initially agreeing to spend more time at home.
Managing childcare is one of the many difficult decisions parents must make when raising young children. This struggle sometimes leads a parent to go part-time to avoid high childcare costs.
Writing on the advice-oriented forum Mumsnet, user Hollie93 explained that she had initially agreed to fewer hours at work in order to take care of the children.
The Mumsnet user is not the only parent facing this dilemma. Understanding Society, a UK study of national trends, estimated in 2019 that less than one in five new mothers will return to full-time work in the first three years after maternity leave.
But Hollie93 later admitted that she was beginning to feel “resentment” that her husband could continue his career.
She said, “So, DH [dear husband] makes more money than I do, so we decided to reduce my hours to make childcare easier.
“However, I’m starting to get mad that he can do well in his career and mine hasn’t even started yet. I think what I need is other moms to tell me that they held out too, at least until [the] youngest child went to school.
“I’m in my early 30s so no spring chicken haha. I now have a much clearer picture of what my chosen career is and will be [I] be able to work part-time while the kids are in school because I have to retrain?”
“I’ve already prioritized DH’s career because it was the only thing that made sense, but is it unreasonable to want to start mine now?” she said in a later message.
Her original comment attracted some 348 comments since it was uploaded on Sunday, April 10, with many encouraging the mother to return to work full-time.
One Mumsnet user said, “They’re his kids too. Your career, earning potential, and retirement pot have suffered (and are suffering) at his expense. That’s clearly unfair.”
Another added: “OP [original poster], I regret putting my career second to my now ex-DHs. If I could have turned back time, I would have made different decisions. My advice is to make your career [an] equal priority.”
A third commenter posted, “My DH and I both work full time and pay for childcare. You certainly don’t have to work part time.”
But others suggested that working part-time could be beneficial in the long run and provide career advancement opportunities.
One said: “Working part time has helped my career. I finally have time to do some training and CPD without stress. Currently I am doing a leadership and management level 6.
“Can you do some online courses while part time so if you can go back full time your options are open?”
In an update, Hollie93 said she worked 24 hours a week and her partner earned double her wages. She added that her salary would not be enough to pay for the full childcare.
In the 2019 Understanding Society report, University of Bristol professor Susan Harkness said: “The results of our study show what gender-based work patterns are like after childbirth, with men typically continuing to work full-time and women working full-time. .
“This loss of work experience, especially full-time work experience, is an important part of the explanation for the gender pay gap and suggests that women continue to suffer economically as a result of taking on childcare responsibilities.
Worryingly, it appears that women who return to work tend to see a decline in their chances of moving up the occupational ladder. Women who return to the same employer are at risk of becoming trapped in their position with limited career advancement. “