New mum sparks heated debate after she’s asked about going back to work ‘over 30 times’

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  • A new mum has started an online debate after she voiced her frustrations on being asked more than 30 times if she’ll go back to work after giving birth.

    The Mumsnet user, who writes under the name of Firedoll, brought the discussion point to the forum after becoming irritated on being constantly questioned on her intention to work after giving birth.

    Firedoll makes the point that although she has been persistently asked about returning to work, her husband never has, with the assumption that if anyone was to stay at home it would be her.

    Firedoll writes, ‘I’m on mat leave and have been asked 30+ times if I’ll be going back to work and, when I say yes, if I’ll be part time. My DH has never once been asked about his working hours since our DS was born.

    ‘And if I say yes I am going back to work I get “oh, will your DS go to nursery/will you get a nanny?” The idea that my DH could look after DS for some of the time while I’m at work just doesn’t even enters people’s heads.’

    The new mum explained that she understands it’s a reasonable assumption, but is it culture that’s to blame for thinking a woman couldn’t support the family?

    ‘I don’t blame people for asking because they’re just making conversation. And it seems they are making a reasonable assumption as if one of the couple is going to give up work/reduce their hours, most of the time it will be the woman. In my experience at least.

    ‘But why is this? I see so often on here people saying that their OH couldn’t go part time or is the higher earner. But all the latest reports suggest women in their twenties are now out earning men so that can’t be true for the majority. Is it just a cultural thing?’

    The post sparked hundreds of comments with personal stories and differing opinions from other mums.

    One user Somerville said, ‘Yes it’s cultural but yes it does seem to be changing for 20-somethings. I know several young couples who have both gone to 80% contracts and then the child just needs a few days of nursery.’

    While Blueskyrain agreed that this was a frustrating part of being a mother, ‘Because we’ve got a long way to go with equality yet, and because frustratingly, most people still seem to see mothers as the primary parent’.

    Did you have an issue with co-workers and friends questioning you about going back to work? Tell us in the comment box below.

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