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Stay at home or go to work, mums just can’t win

A recent survey reported in The Herald Sun shows that 40 per cent of non-working mums feel stigmatised for staying at home and 58 per cent of working mothers feel labelled as not taking parenting seriously.

In the last ten years, more and more mums are returning to work earlier.  10% return to work  in the first three months while  44% of mums return to work  a year after giving birth.

What is fascinating is that it is mums who stigmatise and criticise other mums.  The Careforkids.com.au annual survey found other mums were their own worst enemy, with almost one-third of working mothers saying they were made to feel guilty about their choices from other mums. In other words, non-working mums would criticise working mums for returning to work and seem to lack empathy for the reasons women go back to work. Conversely, working mothers often patronise non-working mums whom they view as low functioning.

The reason individuals judge one another is always a result of low self esteem. Non-working mothers may  need  to make themselves feel better for not earning and producing while working mothers may  wish to get rid of their guilt.

What is your experience? Have other mums judged you for working? Do you feel stupid because you choose to stay at home?

Renee Mill is a Clinical Psychologist of more than 30 years experience. Renee has written two books on parenting; she is also a blogger, a corporate speaker, a coach and trainer and a regular media writer and commentator. She has developed and produced DVDs, e-books and APPS for Android, addressing parenting and relationship issues. Renee has her own website www.reneemill.com where she disseminates her wisdom on many issues through regular blogs. Renée continues to work full-time in her own private practice in Sydney to deliver effective counseling and coaching to individuals and families.