The Full Time Job
Attention! All mothers who work inside or outside of the home…in case anyone would like you to think differently, that job that you have which pays some or all of the bills is actually your part-time job. Think about it – you probably wake up before the rest of the house and then get everyone ready and this includes your significant other who cannot seem to muddle through without your help. When everyone has been shoved in the direction of school or work, then have to face your own job.
If you are lucky to work from home, no matter how many hours you manage to crunch, while you are doing whatever you do, chances are you will be simultaneously doing your laundry, the dishes, preparing lunch and/or dinner, paying bills, troubleshooting for something that has gone wrong with someone in your household, etc. The list is endless.
Mothers who work outside of the home often have the short end of the stick. Depending on the age of your child you have to make sure that your clothes are free from spit-up, poop, food droppings, crayon marks etc, you have to make sure you arrive on time. Your reception if you do arrive at work late is lies a lot with the sort of boss you have. From the clueless male executive who can never relate to the female vixen boss whose children are older and either have flown the nest or can make it on their own with minimal motherly interference or who does have younger kids but also has a full-time nanny who handles these things (and might I add rolls her eyes at the mere mention of spit-up or diapers). Any late arrival at work must be devoid of excuses which indicate that you have a life let alone a family outside of the office.
While at work, your mind is often peppered with issues that center around your fulltime job from deciding whether to make a chicken dinner which means that you have to stop at the grocery store to pick up the chicken to remembering to do the laundry so that the little one has sports outfit to wear for the Game the following day which is marked on your office calendar smack in the middle of the meetings and deadlines.
Writing in today’s edition of the British newspaper the Guardian, Madeleine Bunting describes how women with young children suffer more discrimination at work than any other group, stating –
What is particularly disheartening is that motherhood and work are probably getting harder than ever to reconcile because of broader changes in British working life and social trends. Work has become more unpredictable. The kind of sudden deadlines that are typical of journalism are now symptomatic of a wide range of professions. Blackberrys, mobile phones and the internet have all accelerated the pace of work.
What employers fail to realize is that allowing mothers to work at their own pace in an environment that is suited to their family lives would ultimately be mutually beneficial. A small percentage of employers here in the US allow their employees (not just mothers) to telecommute, this is because in the internet age, you are connected to your office via whatever device you choose to adopt. The percentage of employers who make unnecessary demands of their employees (especially the mothers) is high and increasing.
I know from personal experience that all eyes are on you the moment you return from maternity leave and in the midst of the ooohs and aaaahs of colleagues admiring photos of your new baby, there are undertones centered on how your work will change and if you will continue to meet your deliverables. And between the sick days that you inevitably have to take when you have a growing little one, you often find yourself on the periphery between getting fired or actually walking out.
No one sympathizes that you are actually working part-time at what others call a full-time job and that your real job continues when you leave the office.
The up-side is the rewards of your fulltime job are priceless- personally, I’d take a “Mummy, I love you” over a 100 promotions and 100 bonuses any day