Friday, 6 November 2009

What a waste?

My parents came to stay last night.  This happens quite frequently because my mum, who is a saint in human form*, comes up once a week to help me take A&S swimming and my dad, who isn't very well, prefers to be where she is (bless!).

So anyway, last night, my dad had some dinner for his old cricket team (he hasn't played cricket since about 1975 but still), so we had the pleasure of my mum's company for the evening.

We were talking about my current dilemmas, options and choices when she said "funny really; after all that expensive education you're going to throw it all away to make hats. Ha ha."

That was a joke by the way.

Except I didn't find it terribly amusing.  Because, guess what, that's occurred to me too.  I am ridiculously expensively- and well-educated. My dad worked long hours in a stressful job to pay for this and my siblings and I did what we were "supposed" to do by going on to good universities, getting good degrees, and good jobs. Now here I am; with (allegedly) potential to go "all the way" in my Proper Job, and I'm talking about walking away from it to look after my children.  Is that a waste of my education?  Apparently my father thinks so.  And although it was a "joke", I suspect my mother's not far away.

Now I don't want to go through this all again because even I'm bored of it and I've come to the conclusion that I've got to do what feels right for me and my family, even if I don't yet know what that is.  But what worries me is that if even my own parents don't understand that what hope have I got that anyone else will?

* and, like, I imagine, most saints, she makes mere mortals (including yours truly) feel guilty and irritable much of the time...


  1. My opinion is that your past makes you who you are - your life experience so far can never be 'wasted' or 'thrown away'. Besides, did you want to leave school at 16 to go to art college and be a Milliner?

  2. Oh so so familiar. My mum is of the generation that pioneered so we didn't have to stay at home with the children. it has taken her 4 years to come to terms with the fact that I have make a choice to stay at home with my children, to influence their early years, as I will never have this option again. For the first time ever last week she told me she thinks I have done the right thing and that the boys are blessed to have their mummy at home.

    It was my choice and I did what was right for me and my family at that time. It will not be everyone's choice, but I have made sacrifices. I will not be going back to my old job, as I dont want to work full time until the children are off at college. My choice again, my sacrifice and sad as it is they are worth it.

    The thing is I am doing this for me and for my children. I do not expect them to make future life decisions based on what I have done for them. All I want is for them to be happy. If they chose to stay off work and look after their children, then good for them, if they chose to work then good for them too. Happiness is what I am striving for. A balance.

    Make your decisions based on your and your familys needs.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I too have a very expensive education and a degree from one of the worlds best Univerisities, and a Masters on top of all that. I'm at home looking after kids and playing around at further study. I feel that I have let my parents down, but I don't feel that I am letting my children down. Either way, you are always letting someone down, so I've come to the conclusion that I have to just do what I think is right.

    Doesn't stop me getting bored at home though. x

  4. It took me 3 years after I stopped working (after Boy #2 was born) before I realised that it was never about what other people thought about my choice; it was about what felt right to me. And once I started to value being a stay at home as the right thing for our family, then suddenly I stopped caring what others thought.
    Frankly you will never change what others think; they (and this includes loving family) have their own prejudices and however you try, you can't change that. It's only by example (your own) that you can show this is a valid life-choice and that you don't need to be consigned to the dustbin because for a few years you've chosen to put your family ahead of your career.
    Funnily enough I wrote a post about this in September:
    And the last thing I would say is that if you do choose to spend more time at home (and that's your decision, no-one else's), it doesn't have to be forever. What's 5 years - or even 10 - out of a working life of up to 40?

  5. Hello Plan B. I’ve come over from BMB, have looked at your blog and am enjoying it. I have similar feelings about blogging to those you expressed in your earlier post – why do we feel the need to publish all these things when maybe no-one is even reading? But I find great therapy in shaping thoughts racing wilding in my head into a blog post and sharing them – and actually no-one needs to be reading for the therapy to work. And like you said, isn’t it great when someone comments and is interested. A huge boost and complete bonus.

    To work or not, this is a difficult question for the modern mother and I agree, too much choice does not necessarily help. I gave up my career before I had children to travel with my husband so didn’t have a job to go back to post children. I think that makes it easier as I never had that difficult decision to make – and am fortunate not to have to work. But I do not believe that if you leave your job you should feel guilty for wasting your expensive education. I agree with hanaflower, your education has created you as a person. I very much feel that all the different things I’ve done so far in my life have made me who I am today. And isn’t it also important to pass on what you’ve learnt, in education and life, to your children. How can that be a waste?

  6. You could just be like me and not give a rats ass what anyone else thinks.
    My life, my lessons, my family, me sat on the toilet seat crying because I don't see enough of my babies (that was last year when I slogged my guts out on a newsdesk. I quit!) x

  7. Do what is right for you, you didn't ask your parents to pay for your education, they did it for the same reasons you will do anything for your kids, because they wanted you to be happy.

    Your parents may have forgotten this a bit as you have become an adult and made your own decisions, do not forget that when they look at you they see their child not the success you now are. And being a success is personal, if you are a good mum and you love your children and do everything you can to make them happy you are a success. Success should not measured by glass ceilings, ladders or any other rubbish it should be measured in contentment, happiness and all the other smulchyness (that may not be a word) that makes us warm and fuzzy inside.

    Oh, and although, I am sure your Mum is a saint, don't forget being a parent (as your kids become adults) is all about what you don't say, the 'look', and giving your grown kids feelings of guilt.

    I look forward to hearing about what you decide

  8. FWIW in my view it's not a waste if you think about the opportunity you can pass on to your children. Were it not for the education and experiences your parents gave you you would likely not have met your lovely husband, or had the common interests and values that led you to fall in love and have babies in the first place. And what lucky babies! You have a wealth of knowledge and experience that you can pass on, knowing that ultimately it's their decision what they choose to do with that knowledge and the opportunities you give them.

    You wouldn't expect to get 'paid back' for that input or consider it a 'waste' if they chose not to be high fliers. That's not what parenting is about - it's about giving them the freedom to choose - and I suspect if you really pressed your folks on it they'd agree...


I know. I'm sorry. I hate these word recognition, are you a robot, guff things too, but having just got rid of a large number of ungrammatical and poorly spelt adverts for all sorts of things I don't want, and especially don't want on my blog, I'm hoping that this will mean that only lovely people, of the actually a person variety, will comment.

So please do. Comments are great...