A Working Mother… It’s A Reality!
The stigma that our children suffer if we’re not there still exists. But I ignored it.
I’ve worked for as long as I can remember, only taking a short break to throw myself into motherhood when my two youngest, less than 17 months apart, were small. I loved it; don’t get me wrong, but I was never going to be a Coffee Morning Mum. I tried, but always ended up arranging events and lunches and seemed to be the “go to” person for the school calendar for the other mothers.
Oh, but I wasn’t perfect… far from it. I do recall driving my son to school one day, commenting on the fact that everyone we passed appeared to be wearing jeans that morning.
My son, the sudden realisation flashing across his face, declared “Oh no! We forgot! It’s our school’s Jeans for Genes Day”, a date whose calendar entry had completely passed me by. Thankfully, he took it all with a pinch of salt, and didn’t reprimand me as he forlornly dragged himself into school in his uniform (even if he the only one to wear it that day).
But I still gave him the charity £1.00 for the privilege.
I never went down the Nanny route either; I had to do things myself. With a husband away half the month, it just wouldn’t have been fair. Or maybe that was the control freak in me, or, dare I say it, the constant “fear of failure”.
Working gave me purpose, a respect amongst others and, in hindsight, actually made me a better Mother, not only more fulfilled but a whole lot more organised. And that’s because you have to be.
Being in events has been the best job to have though, the ability to work remotely when not onsite and there’s lots of us. Working, juggling. We understand each other, we have empathy. We are efficient.
Now, here I am as an employer, we respect this flexibility; it’s never been a 9-5 culture in the events world, it’s about evolution.
We have taken on people that are not just millennials; we may be seen as luddites with technology but we’ve learned along the way; we continue to learn and embrace courses to top up our knowledge. Our own children as they grow are excited by this, that their parents are actually asking THEM how to do things on the computer and attending class. But we are the thinkers and the ones who can act on our feet. We can present and discuss in a board room without the need for a spreadsheet or memory stick. Our memory stick is internal.
I’ve gone through it all, from organising my daughter’s school prom (because I negotiated a great deal from a venue) to re -learning long multiplication so that I could help my youngest with homework.
I think you really can do both with damage limitation. Being a mother and a career driven woman don’t have to be mutually exclusive. However, I could try and persuade you for hours that it’s achievable! Maybe it’s best to hear it from one who knows… my own millennial and advocate:
“It’s an unusual and interesting dynamic to have had my mother around full time to raise both my brother, sister and I, but begin to work incrementally as we became more adept to looking after ourselves and each other.
Obviously trying to recall in retrospect how I felt when my mother started to work during my childhood will most likely be clouded by bias so all I could discuss accurately is how I feel about her professional life and how it feeds into my relationship with her now.
I’m in awe of her. I’m in awe of how she continues to care for our family so diligently and with so much grace. I’m in awe of how she handles her professional life so assiduously.
Of course she has less time to cater to my every need, my siblings’ every whim and my father’s appetite but I don’t feel any less cared for. In fact it’s this formative time of my life, being on the cusp of graduating from university, that I need to be exposed so closely to women such as my mother. She doesn’t pay attention to any antiquated roles of women in the family, she does what needs to be done whilst still remaining an emblem of benevolence.
I feel privileged to have a mother that carries herself the way that mine does in both spheres of work and family life. She’s an inspiration to me and I can only hope to be a fragment of the woman that she is. “
I’ll take that…
I rest my case.
By Donna Shaw – Founder