Thursday, 20 October 2011

It's all nothing and that's all

My head is exploding because my mind is going around in endless circles.

I am a mother of two preschoolers. My husband works out of town and the commute is long. I love to spend time with my children. I love work too, because it gives me space and time to create, to plan, to deliver, to think and reflect. I'm a better mother if I work some part of the week. I have patience and enthusiasm for my children every day I spend with them.

In an ideal world, I would like to work 3 full days. Alas, this world isn't ideal. There are many fabulous jobs kicking around this week, and for this week only, jobs that appeal to what I'm passionate about.

All of these jobs are full time, involve unsociable hours and a lot of travel. Informal discussions about flexible working hours or job share have led to nothing. These kind of jobs are for people who can focus their whole attention on the job, who do not have to comply with hours offered by childcare providers (or who have granny living next door? Or a nanny? Not sure. Maybe people without kids?). I want each of these jobs. I really do.

So here it is, the weighing scales that is my brain. Redundancy, unemployment, downshifting stay at home mum with some fabulous business plan ideas that may or may not be viable on the one hand. Full time working mum under constant stress in very fullfilling job with a cleaner at home and kids in full time childcare on the other hand.

It's not a choice I ever dreamt of having to make. It's not one I like. Above all, it's difficult to ensure the choice is not led by fear of unscertainty, but by what I truly want my life to look like. And to be honest, neither option appeals too much for all the weighing up I do.

So this is what women's lib and equal opportunities looks like. Opportunities are equal as long as you deliver the same long working week, unsociable hours in the same high pressured job as your childless colleague. I'm 40, and I'm not sure if I've got the energy for this, as highly motivated, enthusiastic, and determined I may be. Seems it's between all or nothing, just that it's not quite clear what "all" and "nothing" are in this equation. Or is it all nothing and that's all?


Beth said...

I can understand your situation. It's such a shame there's not more part time jobs available. I'm sure there used to be lots of opportunities for part time jobs but now the choice of jobs full stop is so slim.

Metropolitan Mum said...

Utter crap. I chose to stay at home. Not having the energy to put up with this all PLUS children is a very good point.
It's funny how I only realised that equal opportunities don't exist when I had my daughter. xx

Anonymous said...

That's awful. It does sometimes seem that women's lib has meant the opportunity to work just like a man, rather than creating a different sort of role for a working mother which might have been better for all concerned.

(at home with the kids working on my business plans for the years to come).

Muddling Along said...

This is exactly my problem and one I've been wrestling with - if I want the career I have then I have to compete equally with men with a wife at home or those without children. I will have to accept a 60+ hour working week plus commute and not see a lot of my family. But I will be fulfilled...

There are times when it is worth it, I do love my job, but persuading them to let me drop 20% has been a huge relief - I now feel calmer about being away for bedtime so much during the week because we do have that day together

"Mama Wild" said...

Hi Steffi
I'm in exactly the same boat as you, same redundancy timing and dwindling options too funny enough. I've just decided to take a job that will need Baby Wild to go into full time childcare, with the accompanying cost and work more hours because I just couldn't justify how else to pay the mortgage. I'm hoping to work on my blogs and business ideas in the weekends, but know in my heart I'll be too exhausted. You're right, it's not fair and it definately sucks. But I take consolation in the fact that life moves so quickly, problems always resolve themselves in the end and this patch will all be a distant memory soon! Best of luck with finding what will work best for your family.



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