I have always considered Time Management a real strength of mine. Until I had children I do question this. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Well in fact to be honest I am a “huge” perfectionist and as much as I still try to work on reducing my expectations across all areas of my life, since the children arrived it still causes me problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I live by lists, small and long lists but I am still always in a mad rush. The satisfaction when I have cleared a huge list, then another appears. I am not sure if I have too much to do at times and find it hard to say “no”. With 2 children, a house to run, developing my own business and additional freelance work it sounds like pretty much like most mums workload? Right?
So, why does it feel at times as if the wheels are falling off?
I still manage to deliver though, no matter how long the list, even if it kills me!
I live by Time Management and think it is an essential accessory for any working mums. We always manage to dig it out when up against it!
Today I have been working in London. I meticulously plan for the next day, get up earlier than needed, see to children, of course perfect myself and leg it for the tube. Whilst in transit, I use my blackberry all the way until I arrive at work. There isn’t a spare moment. The same applies on the journey home and then the mummy/domestic duties begin!
I have literally just sat down at 10pm after making tea for kids, read with oldest child, bath and bed and just to finish myself off I have been for a run to straighten my mind.
Does this sound familiar?!
A really interesting report issued by the UK Women’s Budget Group along with the Fawcett Society points out that the 2011 Budget doesn’t help those affected by public spending cuts, rising unemployment and may actually widen gender inequality.
Within this report, such findings include;
The prospect if more women than men in the UK will be unemployed if the current economic strategy continues.
The report goes on to highlight, that by removing the protections of men and women in caring responsibilities will hinder them from working.
Interestingly, the report suggests that businesses who will be set to benefit most from new tax breaks and other incentives are more often men. It is felt that schemes to support women in business are scrapped.
The acting Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, Anna Bird, rightly hits back saying “ It’s time for the government to admit there is a problem with “business as usual” and recognise that to grow, we need everyone to play their rightful part. Women play a valuable role in the economy, but we urgently need to close the gender pay gap – in the private sector this stands at 21 per cent. – broaden women’s employment options and provide more support to enable more women to start up business”
Schools have broken up and the Easter holidays are upon us! Great for some working families, however this extra long Easter break may become a logistical nightmare for many.
This is a rather “late” Easter as the religious dates go and accompanied with school holidays, Royal wedding and more bank holidays thrown in, unusually, some children will be only attending school for approximately 6 days throughout the whole month of April!
Many parents will agree that the extended school holidays will create pressure as working parents “struggle” to “juggle” childcare for their children. An even more complicated scenario arises when siblings who attend different schools with varying holiday schedules.
The headache doesn’t stop here. The cost! I have arranged a smattering of activities for my eldest child. Thankfully he is football crazy and therefore there are some economical options to keep him occupied over the days when I must work. I have heard of some rather expensive clubs which, on top of usual childminder before and after school fees really add up. I dread to think how much families have to spend when there are more than one child to cater for with school holiday activities. Thank goodness for grandparents is all I can say!
This feels more like a summer holiday break and I have heard of many working parents who won’t even be able to take any time off as their job commitments take priority. I am sure the this is where long bank holiday weekends will be greatly received here!
What are your plans? How are you going to juggle?
That dreaded “G” word. You and I as working mums know how it feels….
I have committed to working in London this week to help out my former colleagues. Great fun, extra cash and a bit of old me back!
Always takes me longer to get ready when I go to work as little ones always demand extra attention and the big arm on the clock, for some reason swings around faster than usual. Two year old is “extra” clingy this morning and as I give mum the rundown I gently distract her, big kisses and leg it for the door. I haven’t noticed she isn’t feeling well.
Into London fully charged, I go through my mental checklist for the day and place the “guilt” far down the list as it “will soon be over and I will be on my way home”…I say to myself…
Rambling on through my first meeting, silently my Blackberry flashes up “home”! Heart sinks, try to keep calm, focussed and start panicking …..
As soon as we take a break, I call mum back and two year old “not herself” and has developed a temperature. Wants to sleep, won’t drink…..I suddenly want to go home. Excitement of day diminishes and I am losing my focus. Count to ten and my mind is back in perspective and I think I can keep going. Mum reassured me. “She’s gonna be fine”…..I carry on.
Afternoon flies by and I can’t wait to get home. Quick call and mum has made an appointment for Doctor as my daughter who is usually “full on” really isn’t well. Heart sinks. Feel really bad as I dismissed her a little this morning. Thought she was playing up.
Get home and take daughter straight to Doctors…..She isn’t right and he diagnoses her with septic tonsils. Now I feel really, really awful. How did I miss that! The guilt! It just doesn’t get any easier in all the years I have been a working mummy.
This week I started a new, full time, job. It seemed like a great idea at the time; I believed it was just what I was looking for – local to where I live so no long commute, a big company (which is what I’ve been used to working for), in an business sector which interested me, and the content of the job was challenging enough to be interesting, but not so much that I was going to be out of my comfort zone.
However, a day before my start date I was told that it had been put back a day, and I was also advised I’d be spending the first couple of days in London. That was OK. I could deal with that, as my hubby was working nights and therefore around during the day to drop and pick up my son from school.
A day later I subsequently found out that the agency hadn’t quite given me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about my salary. It kind of took the shine off the situation. I was due to start work the next day, and I seriously considered doing something which I have never done before… pulling out of the job before I’d even started. I felt “had over” by the agency, but decided that for the sake of my professional pride let alone anything else, that I had to at least give it a chance.
So on the day in question I went into Central London to start my Induction. However during the course of the day I was told by new employers that they expected me to work 08.30-18.00, and not 09.00-17.00 as I’d been told by the agency, this added fuel to the fire and further doubt in my mind.
The days itself went well. I was shown round the immense building where all the corridors looked the same, introduced to a plethora of people who’s names I knew I wouldn’t remember, and given so much new information, I developed a headache. To say I wasn’t as enthusiastic as when I was offered the job was an understatement. So by the time I left the office at twenty to 6, I felt dead on my feet, seriously regretting my choice of footwear, and couldn’t wait to get home. The commute home was, as to be expected at that time of the day, a living hell. I couldn’t physically get on a tube train for 5 trains, which meant that by the time I got to the train station time was pressing on. Luckily I managed to catch the required train with a minute to go. Someone must be looking down on me!! The train finally rolled in at 7.15pm and I wearily got though the door soon after as my hubby came to collect me from the station, with my little boy in the back in his pajamas, ready for bed. I felt guilty as hell and further doubts started to creep in about what a bad mother I was being, believing myself to be selfish. Talk about beating myself up?!
The minute we walked through the door the bedtime ritual of story time started, whilst my hubby cooked dinner. I changed out of my work clothes and came downstairs, eating my dinner at 8pm. At half past, my hubby went to work and I went to bed, physically exhausted and wondering what to do about my situation. Should I stay (pro’s; it was a wonderful opportunity, would be mostly local, the extra money would come in very useful, and the job has the possibility of being more long term if it all works out. Con’s; Having to go into London weekly, how were school holidays going to be dealt with, the hours and how it would affect the family, motherly guilt, and overall massive recriminations)
I slept like a log, which is unusual when hubby is working nights as I’m usually so restless. My son woke up at 5am which meant that I was also up at this time. The plan was for my hubby to get in from work around 6.30am, have breakfast together, and then drop me off at the station at 8am to get in for 9.30am, and then drop my son off at school. By 7.30am there was still no sign of hubby as he’d been delayed. I was mentally making a Plan B about dropping my son off with a friend and rushing myself to the station when hubby finally turned up. Luckily I’d had the foresight to buy a train ticket the evening before, avoiding the massive queue that had formed and which would have delayed me still further. I caught the 8.03 train and was walking through the office door at 09.15!
Friday went much better than Thursday. I met the senior Director that I was going to be working for and had a chat with her about hours (amongst other things). I’d decided to approach the subject on the basis that I had been advised the hours of 9-5 by the agency and planned my childcare around this. If she was anti-working Mums then I wouldn’t want to be in the job working for someone with that attitude anyway. Not that I expect special treatment… just some empathy and understanding. She was totally fine about it, asked about my son and told me she has an 18 month old little girl. The subject was quickly dealt with and I was worrying over nothing it seems!
I had a good day on Friday, left the office at 5pm and arrived at our local station at 6pm (the wonders of catching the fast train and the difference it makes!) I can cope with that!! I start at my office base on Monday so it will be a whole new set of buildings and people to get used to, but having a little knowledge about the set up in the London office, I feel confident that things are going to be OK….. Moral of the Story – nothing is as bad as it may first seem. Monday? Bring it on!!
Did you know that there are more working mums today, compared with over 15 years ago? Also, nearly the same percentage of women working with children is (66%) compared to women working without dependant children (67%). The gap between the two has narrowed significantly over the past 15 years.
A recent study carried out by the ONS – Office of National Survey, highlighted that more mums today are in fact working in full-time employment 29%, which is 6% higher than in 1996. This is almost a third of the entire female working population. In some respects, this increase in full-time working has become more accessible with higher quality and a varied choice of childcare, an increase in flexible friendly employment and the support of home-working.
Over this period mums working part-time hasn’t shifted either way, however this population was the higher percentage, 37% of the overall study. This I wouldn’t have thought was an unusual figure with many mums wanting to strive towards a “balance” between their family and employment. Since 1996 there have been steps encouraging parents to work and with improved parental pay and leave, introduction of “home-working”, a push for more flexible friendly employers and the right to request flexible working hours.
When you look at these facts and figures above, although there has been a constant drive for more flexible opportunities and attitudes, our working culture has actually shifted in the right direction which is a positive. I believe many working mums (including myself) would think there is still room for improvement, however when you look at what has been created for supporting working mums, this may now be eroded with cuts in childcare tax credits, job losses and the plans to abandon the right to request flexible working.
Will this reduce the number of working mums? I am inclined to think not as the appetite for mums to work is on the rise and as demonstrated even more mums are now working full-time. Let’s hear your thoughts..