Let’s talk: How soon should mums go back to work? 126



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The debate about working mums and how soon they should return to work, has once again flared up in the media.

This morning Channel 9 tweeted this quote from Weather Presenter Amber Sherlock saying “I went back after 4 months for my first child, 5 for my second, and I needed my family to pick up and help me.”

Earlier this year Kate Jones’s, Queensland’s Education Minister, ousted the then-Premier Campbell Newman from his Ashgrove constituency. It was only the second time in Queensland history a premier has lost his seat. Quite a feat, but she was criticised for returning to a job that required so much commitment, soon after giving birth to her second child, who was only a few months old at the time of her win.

Ms Jones – who is the mother of two children – said it was the impact on her family that weighed on her mind when deciding whether to recontest. “I wouldn’t even have contemplated doing this if I didn’t have the full support of my family and close friends,” she said in a recent interview.

Going back to work is a really difficult balancing act for women and their families today. Working mothers contribute to the household income, enjoy the sociability and satisfaction of the work place but something has to give, and often that’s family life. Children are put in to day care and family life is a perpetual rush as everyone struggles to pick up the slack and keep on top of the chores.

Grandparents, especially grandmas, are often the first port of call when we need help. They provide childcare at all hours of the day and night, help out with shopping, chores and meals, but are they doing that at the cost of our own time, health and happiness. Of course they love to help with their grandchildren, but how many of them feel guilted in to raising grandchildren? Is it really up to them to provide all this support, often for free. They do a great job, but shouldn’t that help be an add-on to the care of their mum and dad, rather than a replacement?

So, when should mum’s go back to work and how did you cope when you had your children? Did your mum and mother-in-law help you out?




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  1. Mums should be home with their kids like we (who are over 60) did back then

    3 REPLY
    • Lynn
      Many mothers worked back in the 50’s n 60’s and 70’s. Plus, during the war years thousands of mothers worked to fill the jobs that were normally held by men as the men were off fighting.

    • Yes my own Mum had to work when we were growing up in the fifties, she was divorced so we came home to an empty home lots of good neighbours and friends

    • I’m over 60 Lynne and I always worked part time once the children were born, I had no help or government assistance with daycare. My mother always worked too. I think with the high divorce rate, women should retain their financial independence like I did, otherwise I would have been ‘stuffed’ when my marriage broke up after 22 years.

  2. No one to help, but I was part of a family business which meant I worked whilst my children were growing up

  3. I’m sorry but many of us over 60’s did have to work when our children were young. I’m 74 and when I retired at 67 had worked part time, full time and in a

    5 REPLY
    • I didn’t work when I had my children, they were more important than a big house, cars and big tvs etc. I did however have a very hard working husband who provided for our family I know some people might not have been so lucky

    • Good on u Lynne we had nothing fancy at all I had a hard working hubbie too..a
      A lot of the mums go to work now it has changed soo much..however a lot don’t go without from what I see.glad it was like it was for us we are better people for it

    • Yes Helen from what I can see and I have two sons married what ever they want they go and get not make do like we had to our big spend up was when my Husband got his Tax Cheque we would buy something then, yes I reckon we had the best years and we appreciated things more then.

    • Lynne Fairbrother
      I worked as did my husband. We didn’t have a big fancy house and cars and TVsets. We bought a Housing Commission house after 6 years of renting it and we had one old second hand car. But the extra income allowed our children to be in sports teams and attend school outings and allowed us a family camping trip each year.
      So please don’t assume or act the high and mighty because you stayed at home with your children. I’ll put my children against yours anyday in the intelligence, respectful, well adjusted and happy adult life.

    • both my sons are respectful, well adjusted and happy adults both hold high profile positions in their chosen field so I am sorry if I offended anyone I certainly didn’t mean it and I don’t act high and mighty I am just an ordinary Mum and Grandmother who stated my opinion on a subject I feel is important.

  4. When it suits them and their needs.
    Help if you want to, but don’t criticise if you don’t. Things are so much more difficult for young couples these days without being held to task.
    I’ll help my kids till the day I die. My reward the bond I build with my grandkids. Win win.

    1 REPLY
    • I have helped with my grandchildren since they were born, in fact have them today as they are sick and couldn’t go to school today

  5. When I had my babies i had no exoectation that anyone would help me. Mum worked fulltime and had my brothers still at home and I didnt agree with her style of parenting. It was down to me with a very very limited amount of help from the husband!

    2 REPLY
    • well some husbands work long hours and in very physical jobs and couldnt be expected to come home and immediately take over the reins. I went back to work when my son was 4 months old 47 yrs ago and he was in a wonderful daycare who picked him up in the mornings and was brought home at night, not far from where we lived… He was well loved there and looked after and my mum took over when he was about 2 1/2… and I also paid her the same rate, because I thought that was fair… We didnt get any govt funding in those days and some of us worked just to keep a roof over our heads with little left over… Our children all turned out pretty wonderful, drug free and good parents, so I cannot see problems, if you spend all your free time with them when you are home…

  6. No one to help so I didn’t go back to work. Left home town in Qld and was living in Victoria. Prefered it that way in any case. Later it became a problem for me to return to work. Still is.

  7. I chose to be a stay home mum till they started school then had my mum come live with us in Granny flat.

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