Being a working mum often feels like you’re being pulled in two directions.
You want to focus at work and do your very best to prove yourself in your role after returning from maternity leave. But you feel judged for always leaving work on time to pick up your child from daycare. Your heart sinks if the phone rings, asking you to pick up your child from nursery because they are poorly.
When you’re at home with your child you try to give them your all but feel guilty about checking your emails or doing a bit of work to catch up on your job. Both ‘jobs’ feel like they are full time and you are doing your utmost to keep the plates spinning and give each your best. But the truth is it’s not always easy.
A working mum’s facebook post goes viral
Recently a Facebook post from Adele Barbaro (aka The Real Muma) exposing the realities of what it’s like to be a working mum went viral as over 17 thousand mums liked the post, nodding in agreement. It began:
You know the new mum at work? (Insert eye roll)
The one that is leaving early because day care has called…… again. The Mum that only talks about her kids in the lunch room.
That Mum who is forever taking days off. And the one, that has a shorter working week and gets an extra day off?Don’t judge.
The reason that post went viral is because we’ve all been that working mum. We might only work two days a week but you can bet your bottom dollar they will fall on the days our child is poorly and needs picking up from nursery. Or that we’ll find ourselves rocking a sleepless child at 3 am the evening before we have to go to work and wonder how on earth we’re going to manage to function in the office the next day.
At the office we’re aware of our part time or new mum-at-work status. We bend over backwards to work harder and smarter to make up for it but still feel the eye rolls from our colleagues because we leave work on the dot to get to childcare on time.
Our colleagues might only see that we work 2.5 days and forget we only get paid for 2.5 days too. And as for the other half of the working week. If only they knew how much ‘work’ we put in then too.
Barbaro details this in her Facebook post including a snap of herself looking less than polished, snuggling her tired baby. She writes:
And on their ‘day off’? Well, this is what it often looks like. This is what they are up to when they are not at work.
There’s no coffee with friends or shopping sprees, beach trips or salon visits.
It’s being rundown with hairy legs, mum buns and boogie filled snuggles. It’s selfless and can be bloody relentless.’
Other working mums replied in support
In response to Barbaro’s post one mum wrote:
Being a working mum means you have two jobs. One is full time, even if your paying one isn’t. You’re doing a good job because you are doing your best.
At the beginning it’s relentless. Huge hugs to all those mommas and pappas in work today after a rough night. It’s my ‘day off’ today, which means juggling appointments, mountains of washing, activities for two kids and – maybe – brushing me teeth.
The reality of being a working mum
The truth is that there really are no ‘days off’ for working mums, especially while their kids are very little. Sometimes there are not even any hours off as working mums lurch from a busy day at work and are catapulted into an evening rocking a crying child. And then there’s the chores, all the admin and countless tasks to fit in too.
One thing’s for sure – working mums are not slackers. They don’t view a day at work as a day off childcare. They probably think about and plan and do work when they have days looking after their children and they are doing their utmost to juggle things to make it all work.
The relentless slog when things are at their hardest in terms of juggling kids and work is short lived. While we’re in the thick of it with the sleepless nights, the childcare juggling and burning candles at both ends, to make it work everything is easier if we find an employer and a workplace who understands.
A recent survey by NUK revealed that a whopping 69% of mums feel that they haven’t got their work/family life balance right.
The mums surveyed said that they felt that more opportunities for flexible working, to be able to work from home and part time working options would make a difference. Above all it was clear that mums want to feel valued and understood. Mums might have to work their hours and leave on time to pick up their child, they might have to take time off occasionally when childcare plans falls through and their child is ill, but they will be some of the most hardworking and loyal employees too.
And yet mums get it done like no one else
Writing for The Huffington Post , Sophia Walker rallies for employers everywhere to stand up and notice working mothers, writing:
If I’ve learnt anything in the past year, it’s that if you want something done – ask a busy mum!
They are multi-taskers like no others, they will get s**t done and they’ll do it to perfection.
Even after a night when they’ve been up in the early hours rocking a crying infant back to sleep.
So here’s a big up to all the working mamas out there. We salute you.