Do I have to apologize for my decision to be a stay-at-home-mum?

As a just married and childless one, I had a clear vision when I wanted my first child, when I go back to work, when I have the second child and how, in my future life, I’ll have everything organized. Of course, as we all know well, one means, life changes everything. The first child and the return to work went quite according to my plan, but then everything was beyond my control. Moreover, an unexpected life step in the form of moving to Switzerland has come. And the third child, who is now two years old.

Therefore, the question that I have recently dealt with in my head (and “thanks” to questions especially from my Czech friends) is my future return to work.

When will you (finally) find a job? Do you really want to stay home with your children all your life?!

Sometimes this question is another nail in my coffin and makes me feel miserable that day (maybe you’ve registered my Facebook post when I shared my “bad-mum” feelings because I don’t have a perfectly tidy and stylish designed flat, I don’t buy organic bio-cotton children’s clothes and barefoot shoes, my children don´t play any musical instrument and so on and so forth).

And now I feel miserable as a bad and, moreover, a lazy mother who doesn´t work, though she could (if she wanted!). It’s really comfortable to stay at home and just spend your husband’s hard earned money, right?!

How to answer the (unspoken) arguments?

Yes, Switzerland is a country that commonly offers part-time jobs (even 20%!). But needless to say, to find a job like I did before my children were born, I’d have to be lucky. Really really lucky. I still don´t speak German well enough, and how many companies here would hire me with such a handicap?

You may object that in Switzerland, there is a quarter of the population consisting of immigrants and not everyone is speaking German fluently. But, hand to heart … what are the positions they are at? Shift-jobs in factories, in restaurant’s kitchens, petrol stations attendants…? At this point don’t get me wrong, I definitely don’t want to despise their work. I know what it is, I’ve done lots of them as temporary jobs during my studies. But as a fully-fledged job, I do not want to do this anymore.

Yes, I can hear your thoughts:  Mrs. Engineer, she has her nose up, manual work is not good enough for her… But it’s not like that. The labor market here in Switzerland works the same way like in the Czech Republic – once the “lower” position appears in your CV, it’s hard to scratch up (and believe me, I worked in HR).  And I don’t want to start from scratch again. It took me some time after college to get where I was and I don’t want to undertake it again. That’s why I want to learn German well first.

And also is my priority is to integrate into local people. Maybe by bringing my children to after-school activities and meeting other parents, which is enlarging my social circles (even if it goes slowly).

In addition, the kindergarten here doesn’t work like in the Czech Republic, when you bring the child there at 6:30 and pick it up at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. The kindergarten usually operates here from 8:30 am to 12 am, so children are at home for lunch. The same applies to school. Well, yes, there are facilities similar to the nursery and after school clubs – the “Kindertagesschule”, where they accept children from 4 months of age and the children are catered for, including food and programs. But you have to pay for it. And it’s sometimes pretty expensive (and count for 3 children!). Again, I hear your objection that it shouldn´t be a problem when my husband has a well-paid job! And if I also worked, we could easily afford to pay the nursery/kindergarten. But is that really what we want?

Are those just excuses?

I’m lucky that my husband has a good job and he is able to support the whole family. So I can afford to stay home with our children. This can make feminist´s hair stand on end, but I admit that I am conservative in this field, and this split of roles doesn’t offend me at all.

So do I really have to apologize for my decision to stay at home with children for the time being, and that this way of life (so far) suits me? I believe this time spent at home, without unnecessary stress when I don’t have to deal with the questions:

a) where will I place the children during the school holidays

b) when my husband or I take days-off during school holidays, and if we then have enough free days for our family holiday

c) who will bring the children to the after-school activities and pick them up

d) whether to go shopping or to do homework with children first

greatly contributes to our overall family comfort.

Yes, I must honestly admit, that sometimes I feel I can´t bear staying at home with children any day longer. But then I realize that the time we spend together will pay off in the future. And I know the right time to look for a job comes one day. And the right job will surely find me. Like everything good in my life 🙂

Finally, allow me to quote my friends, who are in the same role as I am, and I they area great support to me because I don’t have to feel like a bad mum in front of them.

Martina: “Living here in France I have learned that it is possible to live otherwise like our mothers used to live. It’s great if a husband’s salary allows that the mother can be present for the children and not be exhausted from her job. I think it’s the best we can do for children – we’ll accompany them during their early childhood, we’ll be here for them to be able to hear their sorrows and joy.”

Pavlína: “Work is a super thing, one can realize himself, talks with adults, feel useful … But when will I be more useful in life than now? I’m here for my kids and I cannot do anything better for them. Yes, not everyone can afford it … But if it’s just a bit possible, don´t fear and enjoy the extraordinary time! Even the best nanny in the world doesn´t replace Mum. The time I spend with my children can’t be replaced by anything. And although it’s often pretty cool, it’s worth it !!! “

So I hope you now understand that being at home with children doesn’t unnecessarily mean to be lazy and not doing anything besides painting your nails 😉

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Categories: Essays, Life, Switzerland
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Hana Hurábová

7 Comments. Leave new

  • Kasia B
    28.10.2017 8:15

    I love this post ? I am also stay at home mum and lots of people asking me the same questions and I have same thoughts ♥️
    Keep up good work ?

  • Like everything else, its your life and your family doesnt matter what everybody else think. But I know that we need tl justify our choice sometimes! I glad that you are happy with your decision even thougj someday just want to escape the kids but who doesnt with a work?

    • You´re so true. It may sound harsh, but the decision to have a second baby was because I wanted to escape work (the atmosphere wasn´t good etc.)

  • It’s your life and your decision. If you intend to stay in Switzerland permanently though, go over the finances and retirement plan. The AHV – if you don’t pay in monthly as a housewife – will only pay you minimal pension which will only about cover your monthly health insurance fee (700 for old women). Swiss retirement has a three pillar principle designed to get you 70% of your salary if all pillars are well stocked: AHV (state pension max. 2100 per month for best earners, minimum 700), Pensionskasse (work related pension), Dritte Säule (private savings). As a housewife you are supposed to pay into the AHV and Dritte Säule yourself. There are many pitfalls for housewives (no widow pension e.g.) who are negligent about the financial side. So if you live in a owned house with a mortgage and become a widow, you’ll have to sell as your pension will be too small for the banks requirements on equity and you’ll become a subprime. If you are poor you can apply for welfare, but first they’ll require you to sell all assets (incl. Handbags, everything moderately valuable). In this situation many choose to leave the country and retire abroad.

    Reason enough to return to work once the little ones are bigger. My friend has three kids with the eldest one being 4.5 and she works as a dentist 20%. Her husband pays into her pension “pot”.

    • Thanks, Gina, for your comment. It´s an interesting point of view. I´ll have to study it closer.

    • Charlotte
      8.5.2018 5:05

      Gina, thanks for this well detailed comment.


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