Difficult Decisions

I’ve been rolling this post around like an old bit of blu tac between thumb and forefinger. I have a niggle of doubt I guess.
I was made redundant at the end of June. What I didn’t mention was that I had some ‘issues’ with work, which resulted in ‘discussions’. The result of which was that after being made redundant, I was then ‘offered’ a post subject to ‘stipulations’; the post had to be in the office over 5 days a week, not quite full-time, but more than my previous 4 days.

I am the main bread winner and much rides on my job, including a potential house move to another area and better schools. Better schools.

June was stressful, I saw some people I worked with in a different ‘light’. So July begun with things still slightly in the air. I unwound, I have more time, we did stuff we haven’t done before, like walk to nursery, I know it’s temporary but it’s a pleasure.

I received an email with the ‘offer’ and a timescale to decide. I have a few days of feeling a tightness in my chest and a curling in my stomach. My family depends on me to have a job.

We spend a rare week day as a family, visit a local beauty spot have a little walk feed the ducks and I realise I am smiling, just smiling. Smiling at my son, the things he’s saying, the stuff he does.

I turned down the job, maybe I’m not completely convinced it was the right decision, but it feels like the best decision.

I’ve been job searching and there isn’t much part time work, this morning I read; “More than 380,000 jobs have been created since the end of the recession, although nearly all of them are part-time” The Guardian, 28th July 2011. Yesterday, I searched a local website, it throws up 651 jobs, then I click ‘part time’; “sorry, your search has not resulted in any matching jobs”.

I feel I’m walking a fine balance between income and what lifestyle that potentially buys and taking a huge risk for a quality of life that’s about now, about the small stuff, about having time, without that time with my son I would be miserable.

I suspect this is a dilemma I may have to return to again in the coming months. My son is not a child that skips into nursery without a backward glance, he is child who loves being with his family. That may change, but that’s how it is at the moment and on days like the duck pond it’s good to roll with it. Writing a report under a strip light, is not how I want to reflect on my life, under the sky in a playground seems a much better option.
But for the time being five days is not for me and it is not for my family.
I wonder how this post will stand over the coming months.
Have I made the right decision?


  1. The Mad House

    This is such a difficult thing and you have to remember that you have made the right decision for your family at this time. It is something that we too have toyed with. We relocated from the SE to the NE as I didn’t want to be apart from my children, but I do need to earn. Mini doesn’t like being left with other people, he wants me or my husband, so MadDad works his butt off. I just get so upset that the government would rather us mothers go out to work and pay someone else to look after our children. It is a sad state of affairs

    1. helloitsgemma

      True comments. I think there has to be a whole cultural change in attitudes to working parents, both male and female – expectations of employers vs. family life. Our priorities should be family life, not feeling we have to apologise for wanting to be with our children or provide for our children.

  2. Emma

    I think you know in your heart if you have made a correct decision or not, and when it comes to this job, it sounds like you know that it’s not the right one for you. As I have said before, I am a huge believer in fate, and I bet in a few months, you will be able to say, “thank goodness I didn’t accept that job”… But for the time being, enjoy the time with your family, it sounds like you are! Emma 🙂

      1. Midlife Singlemum

        After I left my comment I realized that I also wanted to say ‘Good luck’ with your finding something more suitable to your needs. I reckon the job was not what you wanted, deep down, anyway. I bet if a full-time position came along that really grrabbed you – you might reconsider. Thus you probably made the right decision on this one.

  3. zeke & destroy

    I sympathize completely with your thoughts. I am not the main bread-winner in our home, but when my husband was laid off from his job 2 1/2 years ago (on the Wednesday before Christmas, when I was 8 months pregnant) I had the rather demoralizing experience of looking for part-time employment. I watched eyes glaze over and listened to voices turn vague and polite when they saw my stomach and heard me mention that my availability would be subject to childcare. Mothers find themselves in such a difficult position when it comes to work. I wish you the best of luck, and I am sure that whatever ultimately happens, you will never regret spending more time with your family.

    1. helloitsgemma

      I think that’s the problem – many employers are unsympathetic, it’s not seen as something positive, more something that get’s in the way. I never apologise for having to leave on time to collect me son but I know that’s hacks people off but it’s their problem.
      The conditions of the job mentioned working late if required – which they knew is impossible without forward planning.

  4. Frankie Parker

    I was made redundant back in March and it is hard trying to work out what decisions are the best ones to make, the heart vs the head is always a tough battle. For me it hasn’t gotten any easier with time, oh what to do.. I hope you find the balance you want…

  5. Anna

    What a difficult decision, but you’ve made the right one for this point in time. Life constantly changes and goes through phases, and this is just another little phase. Enjoy it! It sounds like you already are xx

  6. ali

    This part says to me you made the right decision.
    ‘My son is not a child that skips into nursery without a backward glance, he is child who loves being with his family.’

    Enjoy all the duck feeding moments as they really grow up so quickly.


  7. Julia Skinner

    My heart goes out to you because it must be so difficult. Enjoy the now though and keep your options open. I’m a firm believer in the phrase ‘something will turn up’. Hugs xx

  8. Kate Takes 5

    So hard for you Gemma. Crossing my fingers for you that the right solution turns up soon. But try to enjoy the time you have now as I’m sure you will soon be looking back on it thinking – “I wish I hadn’t worried so much whilst I had that work break”. Good luck. x

  9. super amazing mum

    I was the main incomer earner and gave it all up 8 years ago to stay at home with my brood. It wasn’t an easy decision either as I ADORED my career but when they told me it was 5 days a week or nada, I chose to have a “career break”. It meant a total change in lifestyle, gone were 4 expensive holidays a year, convertible cars and all other materialistic things and in was budgeting, being broke but being HAPPY!

    It made me realise that we led such a superficial life before, a real throw away lifestyle but nothing could replace the time I spent nurturing the kids and just enjoying being with them.

    However, I realised a few years back that I needed to do something for ME and so initially used a website called working mums (which is ideally suited for women who have careers and who want to work PT) and then set up my own business last year. I haven’t looked back and am a much better mum for working my 2 days a week plus a few evenings or weekends.

    Sometimes what appears to be the hardest decision turns out to be the best.


  10. Boatwife

    I think you have made the right decision for you right now. But it’s hard. I’ve just left a steady part time job because the commute to London was too far. Now I’m going to try to build a work at home business that can be family friendly…

  11. Mrs Turk

    I left my job after 2 years when I was 6 months pregnant.. a business I’d put everything into that was just starting to take off. But it wasn’t my business, and though I’d be in a great position on a much higher wage if I stayed to see it through, like you I’d have to remain in the office, and even one day a week would be too long away from my baby right now. There is no money in the world that can provide the pleasure a slobbery smile gives, and no buzz that you’d feel post-ass-kicking-meeting could give you the same high that feeding the ducks did. I don’t know what the answer to your decision is, but the difference between an in-company job and parenting? The job you’re focused on now is one you can never start over. Good luck x

  12. SAHMlovingit

    From reading your post it sounds to me like you’ve made by far the right decision Gemma. I know it’s hard as you’re the main bread winner but life is all about balance and if 5 days isn’t going to balance you then best to pass on it. Big hugs to you as always xx

  13. Lucy (theprojectlab)

    I really think you have made the right decision, this opportunity wasn’t the right one. I am sure the right one will crop up. I have recently started searching for part time jobs and am shocked at how few and far between they are! Surely in this economical situation they would be the perfect solution for businesses, need the high level skills but can’t afford the full time salary. Bizarre! Enjoy all the precious day now though as you never know when the perfect job might come along, Lx

  14. Bibsey Mama

    I am sorry you are feeling so torn. Why is it so hard for us to just live in the here and now? We always have to have our eyes on tomorrow and providing for tomorrow. And even if we manage to set those concerns aside for a while they are always lurking…

    Enjoy the “small stuff” and good luck with finding a job that allows you the right balance.


  15. Mary

    It is a very similar decision to the one I had to make, bur I jumped before I got pushed. If you know 4 days is the maximum you as a family unit can manage, what else can you do? I don’t see all of these marvellous jobs out there either….good luck!

  16. (Mostly) Yummy Mummy

    An amazingly hard decision and one that I made myself although in different circumstances. For what it’s worth, I do think you have made the right decision for you and your family right now. It is a big scary decision though so you are allowed a little wobble! But do you know what, I have to say that I have never ever regretted a decision that I made where my heart ruled my head when it come to my family.

  17. Mummojo

    Hi Gemma, just wrote a great big long comment then lost it, so this will be shorter! Think you are very brave and making absolutely the right decision because you’re doing what feels most right for your family right now … and that’s the best you can do. Trust your instincts and trust that the future will work out perfectly. And enjoy being with your son. For what it’s worth, I read a book of interviews with women entrepreneurs and almost all of those who were mums said their one biggest regret was missing out on time with their children. You can never get this time back, so cherish every moment (even though that can be a lot easier said than done sometimes, I know!) Good luck with it all x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.