It’s after midnight, and like any mum whose baby wakes somewhere between 1am and 5am, I’m tucked up in bed, fast asleep, getting some precious zzz’s in before it all kicks off. Except of course I’m not – I’m sitting up watching tv, finishing a glass of wine, and tapping out words on the internet. And I know I’m not alone, because I’m chatting online to twenty or thirty other mums in various virtual parenting groups at the same time (multi-tasking, that’s what mothers do!)
We are the post-having-it-all generation; we now know that’s a myth (please tell me if you have found otherwise!) so we’re the trying-our-best-not-to-completely-mess-up generation.
We are inundated with studies and statistics about what we as parents should or shouldn’t be doing; what Peppa Pig; larger class sizes; sugary drinks; Facebook and creches are doing to our kids, and we’re working harder than ever to counteract the negatives.
We try to read the right books, to not make the mistakes our parents made, to buy everything on the never-ending list of must-have baby products, in the vain hope that it will get the little ones to feel happier, stay safe, and grow up into well-rounded kids who are confident and secure and don’t hate us (too much) when they are teenagers.
And as for working mums – we have the endless guilt, the self-doubt, the selective retention of facts quoted in studies about the impact of working parents on small children. And to make it just a little more challenging, instead of supporting one another, we often resort to judging our peers – working mums judging stay-at-home-mums and vice versa, colleagues at loggerheads over perception of work being done or not done, women being written off by employers as soon as they announce that the stork is planning a visit.
Maybe it’s a mysoginistic conspiracy – pit women against one another so they don’t rise up and take over? But seriously, women; parents; working parents; and everyone who cares about the future of our society should care about how we’re going about raising our children and running our businesses – the two are not mutually exclusive. But there is no cohesive support-structure in place for working mums, each one is left to fight her corner on her own, like looking for working hours that allow her to meet the needs of her children without compromising on work.
I’ve been searching for an online group to chat about the challenges facing working mums, to swap tips, a place to look for and to provide advice for dealing with workplace obstacles, childcare dilemmas and that ever-present guilt… so far I haven’t found one, so this is an attempt to share some thoughts on this topic and maybe generate a discussion with others in a similar situation.
Now definitely time to get some sleep.
A good chunk of time after this was written, Aedín from the lovely Minis and Mum blog set up a linky for bloggers to share their first ever posts. I really like this idea – the first post any blogger writes is such a jump into the unknown, but realistically, many are read by very few people. So if you’d like to see some more first post, click on the thumbnails below: