Babies are the new glass ceiling

There seems to be a perception (outside of female CEOs with a crèche built into their office like an en suite bathroom) that you cannot balance motherhood with a demanding career. As a woman who has worked hard to establish myself in work I found it difficult to comprehend that the moment I had a baby I was no longer deemed good enough to do a complex job. Now the main reason behind this is that we still live in an age where the male species (even those with children) think that mothers will be spend their day obsessed by the well being of their child, counting down the minutes until home time or running out of the office early because they can’t bear to be apart from their pride and joy a minute more. Now this does happen in real life with a small minority of women but it seems to be enough to tar us all with the same brush.

Word in the office is that children can hinder your career – a woman’s not a man’s but there doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation why. As it stands I only work 4 days a week because it is cheaper for me to stay at home rather than pay the crèche for an extra day, however, when I have mentioned that I am going for promotion (whilst working part time) I have been met with an interesting view from male colleagues who think that it is nigh on impossible to do a “real” job in 4 days. Because if you work part time the work you carry out is deemed to be ‘not as important’ as a full time man’s job but it does give you more time to do other jobs such as hovering, shopping and dusting. I was floored when those words were uttered because he was being serious. Women can be multi skilled across home and in certain parts of business but are not capable of being multi skilled at the top levels working less than 37 hours a week.

There is enough guilt placed on mothers who want to spend time with their children but have worked hard to build a career and don’t want to lose their skills without being told that the decision to have it both has been taken out of your hands by someone who thinks they know better. It is a known fact that mothers are the best at multi skilling, can organize tasks weeks in advance and don’t drop the ball when things come out of left field because if we were to fail at the million things that we have to contend with on a daily basis the world would cease to exist.

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Save the date

In nine weeks time my baby girl turns one and I can’t help but think that someone has stood on my metaphorical sky+ remote and hit fast forward by mistake. I think all parents go through a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ first three months because you are so overwhelmed with emotion, shock and the number of intruders (I mean visitors) that you glide through the days in a baby brain haze. As soon as you snap out of that you realise that you only have three months left before the juggling act of babies, business and life really kicks in. So you try to cram everything in so you can create the ideal visage of the ‘have it all’ mummy to tell your work colleagues when conversation runs dry in the office. After the nine month mark you feel settled, and dare I say it, in control. So what I don’t understand is why after the ten month mark do people start asking you when you are thinking about having another baby?

In the past week I have had people come on to me to find out when I have put a ‘save the date’ card in my diary to try for the next one. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t really go more than two years between children because I will find it a struggle, I’ve been told that if I do it now I can go back to my career before I get too old (I’m 31!!!) and the best one, if I do it now at least I can draw a line under it and get my life back before it’s too late. Who knew that people were so interested in my contribution to the world’s population?!

I can now see why so many single women over a certain age get frustrated when they are constantly asked about their desire to procreate – it must be like a Bridget Jones film just without the humour because babies are a sensitive subject. It’s not as if women can go on Tesco Direct and order one but you swear listening to most people (who feel it’s their duty to give you the facts) that it is that easy to bring another into the world. I have just about caught up on sleep from the first six months of Peppa Pig at three in the morning, how about letting me get my brain back in gear before I throw myself into the nocturnal wonderland of a newborn again.

I feel that between house hunting, planning Evie’s first birthday, Christmas, work and breathing that I need to draw up an 18 month project plan and present it to him with big red circles marking the days that I want him to be free. Oh, and he needs a rather large pay rise because bringing up two children under the age of three won’t be cheap especially as I am putting my career on hold to raise a future Queen and world leader.