This is an anonymous post kindly submitted by one of the parents in our RagHeroes Parent’s Group. All identifying details have been changed.
I often get asked what its like being a working single mum, how I feel about working instead of spending time with my boy and there is no easy answer to give.
I knew in pregnancy I would only be able to take minimum time off work and even with saved holidays it didn’t make it any easier. With my son just 3 months old I ventured back into the world of work and believe me it was the hardest thing I did.
Day after day I would sit at work wondering what milestone he was reaching, what I was missing that day? Luckily, my parents did my childcare for the first 18 months and would bring my son down in my lunch breaks so I would get an hour in the day with him.
Putting him into nursery when he reached 18 months old was actually an easier decision for me than it would be for most parents. We had missed out on all the parents groups so he had little interaction with other children and I knew that despite the cost it was something I had to do. It turned out the easiest decision was also the best decision as he totally flourished and the improvements in his development was instantly noticeable.
The hardest part in the first 18 months was the group of friends we had made in my first 3 months off work rarely invited us anywhere as they expected me to be at work. Some days I didn’t start until 1pm, so could have meet up. My advice to anyone who knows a mum who is working is to still ask them to go places, its the effort that’s appreciated and you never know if they are off.
Four years on from starting back at work and I still find it hard, still miss him daily and admittedly there are days when I am glad I am there….. And with the power of social media it hits home all the more with photos, status updates, check ins that I am missing out on everything, especially in the summer.
So why do I work if I find it that hard?
Because I am doing everything I can to give me and my son what we need, to show him that the rewards of hard work far outweigh the misery and because, quite simply, I have always worked from leaving University. I love my son and appreciate the time we do have together a lot more.
Life as a working single mum can be the hardest, most lonely life at times but also the most rewarding