'You get that sense of satisfaction and appreciation… which you don’t always get at home'
High childcare costs and the gender pay gap leave little financial incentive for many mums to return to work but author Caroline Grace Cassidy is doing so for other reasons
Author Caroline Grace-Cassidy has said mothers shouldn’t feel guilty about going back to work, and those who work often make better mothers, wives and friends.
Speaking to Mothers & Babies in the Irish Independent the author, whose latest book I Always Knew has just been released, says she doesn’t feel like she’s had to give up anything to be a mum.
Grace-Cassidy is a mother of two girls: Grace, seven, and Maggie, who is almost three. She combines caring for the girls with a hectic media career. As well as writing, she appears regularly on TV3’s Midday, is co-director of Smart Blondes Productions alongside partners Elaine O’Connor and Fair City actresses Sorcha Furlong and Sarah Flood (the partners have six children between them).
It’s very much a full-time career, but Grace-Cassidy still drops and collects her older daughter to and from the local school in Knocklyon in Dublin each day. Younger daughter Grace goes to creche three days a week, and her mum works flexibly on the days she’s home.
“Work-life balance for me is full on. When the girls are home and I’m working, I might bring them to the studio. The only way I know what to do with my life is to work, to do something I love and to have the kids around as well,” says Grace-Cassidy.
She adds that the biggest benefit of being a working mum is continuing to be herself.
“I know some people find that really selfish. I don’t feel I had to give up anything to be a mother. I felt I gained loads. Obviously when the girls were first born I stayed home, but I don’t see why I had to give up any part of me. For me the pros [of being a working mum] are doing what I want to do, not losing myself and showing my girls that they can do it all.
“You’re a better person when you go back to work; you’re a better mother, better wife and better friend.”
However, she is not without the maternal guilt that often goes hand in hand with being a working mother.
“Guilt is always going to be there. Everyone feels guilty; you feel guilty if you’re going to a wedding and leaving your kids. It’s about managing the guilt and not feeling you’re a bad mother, because you’re not a bad mother,” she says.