Thursday, 10 May 2012

A Mother’s Work

A meme is "an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This meme was started by I have been tagged by the lovely Louise at My GorgeousBoys who I am pleased to say I have met in Real Life – twice!

It’s an opportunity for women to give their personal perspective and experience on modern motherhood.

The rules are as follows:

Post the Rules
Answer the questions in as much or as little detail as suits you
Leave a comment on MotherWifeMe so we can keep track of the meme
Tag three people and link them on your blog
Let them know you tagged them
Tweet loudly about taking part using #amothersworkmeme
Here are the questions and the all important answers

Did you work before becoming a mum?

Yes, I was proud to be the administration manager for the neurosurgical operating theatres in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. In the evenings I had my own business practicing as a clinical hypnotherapist.

What is your current situation?

After maternity leave I returned to the hospital part time and accepted a lower grade role as a medical secretary, because the admin manager role would not have worked as a job-share. When the government made financial cuts to the NHS last summer I volunteered for a mutually agreed resignation scheme and started my own business as a writer, blogger and virtual assistant. That was a struggle to get off the ground but it’s going a bit better now. I did an online course in becoming a mumpreneur with Ace Inspire.

Freestyle your chance to put your own view across on the subject?

I definitely think our society does not value motherhood as much as some other cultures. I think changes in the economy and expected lifestyle mean that more mothers feel they need to work to make ends meet. Perhaps I grew up in a rose-tinted, nostalgic 1970’s world where mothers did not work; but historically I think working class mothers usually did work. Childcare for the working class was not paid for but shared among local family members. Now we often live so far from our family members that we have to pay for childcare. To be honest it seems like a constant struggle to earn enough to justify the cost of childcare, and I sometimes feel guilty that children as young as mine have such a long day in nursery. (I work at home three days a week.)

I’m pleased that women got the vote, the contraceptive pill and the freedom to choose a fulfilling career but who was it who famously said that women aren’t just having it all, they’re now doing it all?* My husband helps a lot with shopping, cooking and childcare, but I wish he didn’t have to, as he works full time and commutes a long distance every day.

It’s really hard juggling work, laundry, childcare etc, but I think it always has been for women.  I’m currently experimenting with self-employed flexible working. I have the freedom to take the day off if my child is ill, but then I don’t have any holiday pay or sick pay, and have to make up the lost hours some other way. My husband would like to be at home with the kids more than he is, but we cannot afford for him to give up his well-paid job.

At the moment I’m working on building up my business to a point when it pays enough to contribute generously to our family income, and yet will allow me to work just in school hours so I can be there when my daughters get home: At least, that’s the dream!

I would like to tag Gemma, Penny and Kizzy.

“It’s all so different today, I hear every mother say.”
The Rolling Stones. Mother’s Little Helper.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Ace Inspire and Amazon. (Hey, I’m just trying to contribute to our family income!)

I recommend The Secret World of the Working Mother, Fiona Millar but my favourite book ever is Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman's Story by Sheila Stewart, which describes how working boatwomen used to juggle childcare, shopping, cooking and ‘cabin chores’ with steering the butty for twelve hours a day.

*Linda Kelsey, editor of ‘She’ magazine in the early nineties.
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