Kids or career. It’s been one of the greatest debates over the last few decades of whether you can have both or not.
Years ago, it was very much the men going out to work and the women staying home and looking after the house. Oh, how the tables have turned! More and more women, although admittedly still too few, are absolutely smashing it in their careers, regardless of whether they have children or not.
Things have also changed in the last few years with shift patterns. No longer are most companies bound by the nine to five but instead governed by a more ‘hybrid’ approach to working, giving workers more trust to just get the job done.
When we had my son in November 2018, I was in full-time employment, my wife looked after him for the first year before she returned to work, and we then sent little Rupert off into nursery so we could both work full-time.
However, four months after that we were plunged into uncertainty with the arrival of Coronavirus and the commencement of the lockdown.
When my daughter arrived in May 2020 I was still in full-time employment, although a month or so later I was told we’d be made redundant in the October. Great.
What it did though was open up an opportunity, a chance for me to start a new chapter in my life – freelance copywriting (more on that soon.)
Fast forward to Emilia’s first birthday and it was time for Jess and me to make a decision. Would I get a job and put the kids in to full time childcare – incurring the obvious costs – or would I become a full time Daddy of two – trying to run a freelance business on what I can only describe as ‘super part-time hours.’
Of course, we punted for the latter and I’ve spent the last two years looking after two children full time (although Rupert has gone to pre-school since November of last year.)
It wasn’t an easy decision but for us we drew up a budget and worked out how much we would spend in a number of different scenarios, including both of us working and sending the kids both into full-time childcare. Unsurprisingly, with the astronomic cost of childcare, we would have actually LOST money to both work and send them both to a childcare provider – which to me seemed bonkers!
So, I put everything I had before redundancy into growing my website, acquiring as many contacts as I could and basically building myself up from nothing – minus the 15 years of professional experience, obviously.
And it’s tough. I have no problem admitting that looking after two children all day and then working in the evening/at lunchtimes isn’t easy, but it’s certainly not impossible.
And I’m certainly not complaining. I knew when I started on this journey that my job, primarily, was to look after our young children.
Do I struggle with that some days? Yes. Do I wish I was working more to contribute to the household? Yes.
But I know that things will change. I trust and believe in myself, and I know that eventually I’ll be able to tip the scales between work and parenting back to a more balanced position.
Pretty soon the kids will be both going to pre-school, and I’ll be pushing myself harder than ever before with my new found time to build my business and become a success.
Kids or Career? Why not both?