Tag Archives: working dad

A C-section, Bottle feeding, Nursery using Working Mum

I am really bloody angry.  I’m fed up to the back teeth of people who write articles, blogs or tweets about something that they can take the moral high ground on.  Something they do/don’t do, but they know darn well others do/don’t.

  • Breastfeeding/Bottle feeding
  •  Natural Childbirth/C-sections
  •  Nursery or Childminders/Stay at home care
  •  Stay at home parents and Working parents

The Perfect Scenario – so we are told

You have a baby naturally (no drugs), you sail through breastfeeding (feed as late as possible, but not too late – there’s a whole other brigade ready to leap on you if you do), you Stay at Home until your child is in school (if you don’t do SOMETHING once they’ve started school you WILL be vilified – “What do you do all day?”), you then make sure that your work to homelife balance is just right so you can stay on everyones side.

Life doesn’t work like that.

Nor should it.

I don’t want to live in a world where everyone does the same thing.  I want to live in a world where everyone gets to do what they want to do, they have choice.  Sometimes that choice doesn’t seem like a choice at all, it’s what they have to do, but then we need to make sure that it still works, that its still safe and right.  Hey, and if you get the perfect scenario and it works for you I’m really pleased for you.  Maybe a little bit jealous.Angel Mother

I really don’t give a shit if you breastfeed or not.  I’m pro breastfeeding, I think if you can, you should. If you can’t then bottle feeding is the next best thing.  Give it a good shot. Don’t give it a good shot (especially if it’s a psychological reason), I really don’t care.

Have a baby as safely as you can.

Homebirths sound awesome to me. Could I have done it?  No way. I don’t have that much faith in myself to be able to remain calm.  Every likely situation that may go wrong will be sitting there, right in front of my head.  Wasn’t right for me.  It may be right for you.  Go for it. Gather the information, talk to people, make the decision.

Go to hospital if you like. If that will make you happy, have your lovely baby in the hospital.  Have a go without drugs?  Why not, it’s what we are designed for.

Don’t fancy the pain? Cool. Have some drugs.

Can’t deliver your baby naturally?  Gave it a good shot?  You’re in luck, we have the very best of care in hospitals.  You can have a c-section.

Want to head straight for an elective c-section?  Ooh, controversial.  You must have your reasons. You know the risks, you’ve weighed them up.  Go for it.  You just want the best for you and your baby.  Happy mother, happy baby. I get it.

I could go on.  I might.

The whole SAHM vs Working mum malarkey is starting to really piss me off.  Some people work and some people don’t.  Some people HAVE TO work. Some people don’t. Some people like working outside the home. Some people really enjoying looking after their children full time.  Some people like to mix the two of them up.  GET OVER IT!

Some of us put our children in nursery.  Some of us don’t have the choice.  Some of us are vigilant and would not bat an eyelid at having to take our children out of any situation where we think there might be any danger or where there is inappropriate care.  We are paying attention.  We just think that people should be given the choice and that choice should be safe and right.

I get that the Perfect Scenario is good.

I don’t get that variations on it are bad.

And just for the record.  Every time you post your opinion on something that you know is the opposite of what someone else does, you are putting them down.  You are making yourself feel better about your decisions by making other people feel bad. End of.

However, offering support, supporting those that make different decisions and might be struggling with that and being sympathetic to that, well that costs nothing. It’s actually quite nice.

“You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”

Bear that in mind next time.

The Working Mum vs The Working Dad

No, I won’t be embarking on an “us against them” post, although I will be pointing out a few things that should remind us all that the battle for equal rights is not over just yet.

I am a working mum.  I don’t have the choice, unfortunately, so I’m not sure that if we were able to live on a single income I would be working.  I know the 4 days I do at the moment doesn’t feel right for my family, but it does work for my employer, so at least someone is winning.

I am lucky though (and unlucky) as my husband is an actor and he has a sporadic working life.  Generally he works around 2 days a week, but often we will have weeks on end where he is working more than that.  We have a few emergency options open to us and I just have to take leave from work occasionally.  However, he does do childcare 2 days a week most of the time.  I love those 2 days. I can come and go to work like a normal person.

I have blogged before about the stress of doing the nursery, school run and dash to work (and then all in reverse on the way home) on the 2 days I have to do it.  Just 2 days seems like it’s okay really, but I dread those 2 days so much I can’t tell you.  My stomach in knots that I won’t make drop offs or be late for work or the worse one, that I will get stuck in traffic and my two children who are in two different places will be stuck there with no one to pick them up.  I can’t park near work (although I do pay to use a car park that costs me £10 a day if I am feeling particularly pressurised) so I drive so far and then use a Brompton folding bike the rest of the way.  Occasionally, if I’m sneaky, I can work out when a few people who have car parking spaces at my office are off and I can nick their space.  This makes things so much easier and cheaper and lifts a level of stress from me.

Recently at work I realised that it was mostly the mothers amongst us that were in charge of pick ups and drop offs from school, breakfast clubs, after school clubs or nurseries.  Most of the men, particularly those in a more senior position, were not.  They  didn’t really “get” our situation at all.  I get blank looks when I mention my parking problems or the stress of my 2 days.  When pressed they say “Oh yeah, I understand, my wife has the same problem”.  Ahhh, no.  You don’t understand, because it’s not you.  You aren’t going through this, you have no bloody idea.parents at work

Before you say it, it really isn’t bloody MY CHOICE. Yes, I wanted children, yes all of those women wanted children, but so did their husbands.  Why is it that the husbands aren’t also being responsible for the childcare?  Well, it’s down to our working culture primarily and until that changes, we haven’t got much hope.

A male colleague of mine has recently started doing the nursery run in the morning before work.  He lives very close to work and the nursery is nearby, so it’s not quite the juggling act others have, but none the less, he has to do this because his wife is a lawyer who has got a new job since maternity leave which is quite a distance away.

He has regularly arrived in to work late in the morning, to be greeted by me cheerily saying “Good afternoon”.  Helpful I know!!   He has sat down at his desk with a massive hurumphh, looking exhausted before he’s even started work.  He looked at me the other day quite forlornly.  “It’s a nightmare”!

“What is?”

“Trying to get two small children out of a house and to nursery before work”.

“Yes, isn’t it”.

“Finally got shoes on both of them and then eldest pushed the youngest one off the front step just as we were going to the car”.

“Yes, they do that.”

“I had to comfort her, get the first aid kit out. She refused to get up.  I got angry. It was horrible”

“It usually is”.

“I’m counting the days until I don’t have to do this anymore,  when we move and get that au-pair.  I can’t stand it. I’ve not even started work and I need a lie down”.  Ahh an Au-pair.  Yes, that would be helpful.

And here in lies the problem.  I need ALL male employees at my work to do this for, say, a period of 6 months.  To step into their helpful wives shoes, whether they are Stay at home mums, part-time employees or full-time employees, I need all my bosses to experience the pain in the arse that is childcare.  And I’m not suggesting this because I want to punish them or I think we deserve a medal or because I want special treatment.  I want this because if they realised what a bloody malarkey it was we may see a bit more equality and help in the work place.  Until more dad’s start doing this (and I know there are lots that do, unfortunately just not where I work!) we are never going to change a thing.

So, what might change if this childcare situation was more evenly distributed?

  • More emphasis on parking facilities for working mums and dads who are in charge of childcare.
  • Senior meetings or away days that don’t start at 8am and finish at 6pm (or at least a bit more notice of them.  Better still, I’d like to see a senior male manager leave at 4.30pm to go and do pickup so the rest of use don’t look like we are uncommitted)
  • An end to working long hours in order to impress people.  Let’s finish off the report at home, hey?
  • More crèche/nurseries in workplaces or nearby
  • Being able to work from home (biggy for me and my employer is very against this).  If you’ve got children and have worked at the business for XX number of years, this should be offered.  I’d happily fill in forms, write a business case and jump through hoops to allow me to have this flexibility. Especially when both my children are at school and then at an after school club. I could drop off and be at my desk by 9am and work until 5pm.
  • Flexible working hours for ALL employees. Why does it only get offered to women after maternity leave?  Surely that’s wrong.

So, there you have it.  It’s not very eloquent or a very well written rant, but it’s a rant none the less.  I am tired of it all.

Let’s get more equality back in the work place for all parents.