What a way to make a living.

I’m a working mother.

I’m a mother and I have full-time job.

I’m a mother and I have a job outside the home.

I work full-time.

I put my career first.

I’m ‘having it all.’

There are so many ways to say that I work full-time and I have two children. All of them seem to carry the implication that either a) mothers who stay at home are not working,  or b) that by working outside the home I am somehow only a part-time mother.

None of this is true.

working-4

A day in the life:

Wake between 0600 and 0645 depending on Child 2.

Rush, rush, rush, teeth, teeth, teeth, shoes, shoes, shoes.

Leave the house at 0740. Stress, stress, stress. Traffic.

0800 throw Child 1 into Breakfast Club (€80 a month)

Back into traffic.

0820 drop Child 2 into Creche (€946 a month)

Run, run, run to get to desk for 08.30.

0835 at desk. Switch on PC. No Panic. No emergencies. Spend the day in relaxed fashion responding to emails, scheduling meetings, updating website and so on. Very little face to face interaction and no customer facing involvement at all.

4.20 Pick up Child 2.

4.45 Pick up Child 1 (€400 a month for after-school care)

Traffic.

1715 Home.

Unpack bags. Make dinner. Make lunch. Laundry. Homework. Baths. Story. Bed.

Collapse.

Repeat.

If you were bored reading this, then I sympathise, I am bored living it. This is not having it all. This is the grind. This is the crushing tedium of the 9-5. This is work for the sake of a pay cheque, not a fulfilling career. This is paying the bills. This is future-proofing the family finances. This is not a choice, it is submission, an acquiescence.

working-5

Flexible working.

As I take a deep breath in order to face the dark winter months, what is really becoming apparent to me is how employers really need to get on board with flexible working hours and the concept of remote working. There really is very little requirement for me to be physically in the office, as virtually all of my communication with colleagues is done by email. Perhaps the level of trust required by employers to allow employees to work from home is too great. Perhaps they think we’d all be sitting around on Twitter all day. ( Hey, bosses, you can do that at work too.) But as I sit in traffic at eight o’clock in the morning watching everyone trying to make it to their desks for 9am I can’t help but think is it really necessary for everyone of these people to be at their desk for 9am ? Only for them all to leave together again at 6pm? The arbitrary nature of it , the ensuing traffic gridlock and consequent stress –  it just doesn’t make sense anymore.  The world has moved on.

working-3

Another concept that could do with a shake up is the arbitrary nature of the 40 hour working week. How is it possible that the majority of jobs in the world all take the exact amount of time to do ? Shouldn’t it be the case that you have a job to do and it takes the amount of time it takes. I’m talking here, from my own experience,  mainly about office based work. Talk of flexible and remote working is a luxury afforded only to the desk bound professions. Cleaners, nurses,teachers, retail workers are just some of the professions for whom working from home would be, well, tricky.

The first piece of the jigsaw.

Flexible working isn’t a global panacea but it would be the first piece of the jigsaw for many. The second piece is affordable childcare: to be caught in the trap of working only to pay exorbitant childcare fees, not being able to afford to give up working, but not really being able to afford to work either, makes no sense, and helps no-one. The icing on the..hang on, is this a cake or a jigsaw I’m making?..the icing on the jigsaw would be to stop vilifying families who use full-time childcare facilities. For most, this is a necessity, not a choice. It is families fighting to keep to their heads above water, not people dumping the kids for the day because they’re too much like hard work and swanning off to the gym for the day.

This is my dream. Flexible working. Affordable childcare. Families being able to choose what is right for them, rather than being forced into situations that satisfy nobody.

Something’s gotta give.

 

 

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36 comments

  1. yes. ALL of this. “Flexible working. Affordable childcare. Families being able to choose what is right for them, rather than being forced into situations that satisfy nobody.” preach!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ! Feels sooo good to get this off my chest !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet it did. It is all maddening isn’t it? A world designed by and for men who don’t tend to children. It’s definitely time for a change!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. As you allude to here, there is no easy solution to a very complex problem – one nearly every mother knows well! I think motherhood is a blitz for us all. Even with my “flexible” job, I still have many moments where the stretching feels like it may break me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally agree flexible working not the answer for many – that’s why the childcare issue has to be addressed to. I don’t know about where you are but in Ireland the costs are exorbitant and makes life very difficult for working families.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m in the U.S., and I agree that in many places it is impossible. Childcare is affordable where we are, but with that there is also the product to consider – my husband and I would not put our children in full-time care given our limited choices in a rural community. Luckily, I found a full-time job where our children are only in half-day care. There are, of course, other sacrifices we make for it all to work.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I am a full time working mama too!! And something has indeed got to give!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes to all of this. I managed, with great difficulty, to organise a four day week this year. I am guilted by work for taking the Friday off, colleagues think it’s great that I’ve “an extra day at the weekend to relax” yes because parenting is relaxing. I care very little for my chosen “career” now and hate that I’m told second hand what my daughter has done during the day. I often don’t feel like her mother at all. Personally I want to work from home. I want to work! God I want to work, I need to work for my mental health and financial reasons. But this job is not flexible and I am stuck. Atleast I feel stuck. I’ll be following the conversation on twitter. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I completely agree. It’s only because my husband and I both have employers that allow flexible working that we’re able to manage at all. It’s something that should be available to more people.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. alisonlonghurst · · Reply

    I totally agree with this. Employers definitely need to be more flexible and open minded in their approach to their employees, wherever possible. It just doesn’t make sense to have all those extra cars on the road and trains jammed for a start. We need to go back to simplifying our lives as much as possible, in order to cope with and function well in the other areas of our fast paced lives. Alison x #fortheloveofblog

    Liked by 2 people

  7. brilliant post and I wholeheartedly agree. You should check out Mother Pukka’s work on flexible working for women – she’s really pushing for this to be a reality – and so it should. #fortheloveofBLOG

    Like

  8. aliduke79hotmailcom · · Reply

    Having more flexible hours and affordable childcare would help out so many people. I work evenings so that I am home during the day, which means me and hubby just pass each other in the hallway and when I come home I just want to sleep. We have made it work so far, but it’s not perfect x
    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Like

  9. It felt so insane to pay virtual strangers to mind my children. Now it is part of my own daily grind. Totally get this post. I tweeted it x

    Like

  10. Ah this is brilliant, you’re so right flexible working should be so much wide spread than it is. Surely if we do all that is needed then we do not need to remain chained to our desk – and all this to pay for extortionate childcare. Working for the weekends eh! xx #KCACOLS

    Like

  11. I totally get this. I had the rush rush full time job you describe and back in 2002 quit it all and bought Coombe Mill, extreme I know but I now have that flexible job working from home. It is still full time and some, but mostly during hours to suit me. #KCACOLS

    Like

  12. I am a full time working single mama and I am always exhausted. I can work flexible hours at my work which is great – I work a 12 hour day on a Tuesday when my son goes to his Dad’s. I wish I could work from home a bit though – not all the time, just occasionally a few hours in the evenings. My work doesn’t allow this. I have to be at my desk for my full time hours which is almost impossible.
    Pen x #KCACOLS

    Like

  13. So much love for you writing this post! You sound really fed up and I’ve been right there with you.
    Parents work to keep their heads above water in the majority of cases and if you are office based then flexible working should be the norm.
    I am fortunate that my office job allows me to work relatively flexibly although bound by the hours of my contract. I often find Iv run out of work and am sitting their twiddling my thumbs. So pointless isn’t it?! Working from home is the way forward for many – companies need to catch up!
    Thanks for sharing this on #fortheloveofBLOG

    Like

  14. Very well said, flexible working hours would make such a difference for so many people. A person can only stretch themselves so far.

    #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Rainbowsaretoobeautiful · · Reply

    I did this when I had my first and second for a bit, couldn’t manage with three and then the diagnosis of various conditions meant I really needed that be with the kids a lot of the time. I still work part time in the evenings a bit. Honestly I think it’s hard work both ways but I can barely believe working mum’s are thought of differently and think more should be done to help everyone get the balance they feel is right for them and their family. Thanks for writing the post #KCACOLS

    Like

  16. Unfortunately as a teacher, as you’ve pointed out flexible working wouldn’t really work for me. A lot of my colleagues do work part time, but it seems like they still end up putting in far more hours than they should, and for less pay. I’m with you that the standard 40 hour week isn’t in tune with the modern world though. When everything’s online, why sit at a desk? #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Yes – employers need to be taking flexible working much more seriously. You would think teaching could be more flexible than it is (bar that you need to be in front of the kids most of the time!) but I’m one of the ‘lucky’ ones who got a part-time timetable – no longer is this so easy as schools feel the pinch of budget cuts and see part-time teachers as ‘expensive’. And Min is right – I work a LOT more than the 22 hours that I am paid! It would be great for more companies to take this seriously. A great post as ever. x #fortheloveofBLOG x

    Like

    1. I think part time working can be a problem too – you’re doing the same amount of work everywhere – just for less money ! Thanks for reading x

      Like

  18. I love this post. I also work outside the home, however as a retail worker I can’t work from home, but I would get alot less things chucked at me if I could figure out how to do that 😛 Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I have nominated you for Versatile bloggers award, check the details on my blog Namratasrealm

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow will check that out – thank you very much !

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Absolutely agree! I had to give up working due to the cost of childcare being more than I made. And even when the girls are at school I will be unlikely to go back to work as my husbands job keeps us afloat and he can’t work flexible hours. As a nurse I can’t work from home and the shift patterns are not organised around school hours…. It’s a bit of a minefield to be honest.
    #KCACOLS

    Like

  21. Flexible working indeed. My jaw dropped when you quoted your child care costs!!!
    I work from home in my home office and my husband do have days where he is able to work from home also.
    For me taking up a full time job wouldn’t help us at all because of the child care costs – it would basically just be what paid for it and nothing more – so I’m very glad I have the job I have and am able to work from home ergo I have no child care costs for 15h a week that my son spends at the child minder is free in England for pre-school kids, he goes 09-15 3x days a week. Some days they do attend breakfast club though if I’m working on car seat clinics as I need to leave early – and I get home late so they would also have after school care where my husband picks them up after work.

    We have no close friends or family either to help out.

    #KCACOLS

    Like

    1. It’s definitely harder without family to help out – I wouldn’t expect them to do everything but a little bit every now and then would be great

      Like

  22. Working from home can solve a lot of problems but not everyone can do it. Flexible working would help a lot.

    Like

    1. Working from home is the goal!

      Like

  23. When I was working from full-time as a teacher I was always jealous of my friends who did have flexible working. Although, they were a rarity and I didn’t know many people who actually had flexible working. As a teacher I wasn’t allowed to even go part-time and therefore I had to make the difficult decision to leave my career as it was becoming unbearable trying to juggle everything. Employers really should be more encouraging of flexible working because it means that in the long-run they will have happier and less stressed employees and therefore a more productive workforce #stayclassymama ps my entire wage was swallowed up by the childcare costs and mortgage!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It just all seems so pointless ! And yet I don’t have much option at the moment..we’ll get there

      Liked by 1 person

  24. My god! You have just described me as I was a year ago. Now I live the dream you expressed the idea off.I work full time half day from the office with possibility of quite enough of flexebility,have day from home as i need to pick up my child who goes to a private child care centre subsidised by government so we pay nothing. The rest is the same -traffic traffic traffic especially on a rainy schools days and stress stress.May be all employees of your company should submit a petition with such an offer and make a proof week to show to your employer that it does work.

    Like

  25. Brilliant post, really sounds familiar. I love your honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I honestly believe that flexible working is the way forward but that it can only really work within big organisations and companies, where there are literally hundreds of staff. If you work for a small business say less than 50 employees, its a hard thing for the employer to cope with. If everyone within a small business wanted flexible working, then there would be chaos. This is a great post, glad I read it as I quit my full time job this week literally because I can’t cope with the madness, I’m going to crack otherwise. I’ve decided to go part time and work nearer to home. I hope it gets easier for you #stayclassymama

    Like

  27. I read this post and found it very informative because you can work on your own times which is vital being a mom and you can find work no matter where you live in the world. Im super excited to take this up

    Liked by 1 person

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