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05 March 2020

I always remember my mum telling me that if people waited for the right time, where all the planets aligned, then hardly anyone would have children.

I always knew I would have to work when I had kids and that was ok. I could make it work. At first, I worked round my husband’s shifts. It was hard. Disruptive nights, on my feet instructing all day and then no family time because of our opposite work hours.

When my kids went to school, I applied for a role within the company that meant I could work round the school run. My original role was working with children and young people, it was outside, and I could help them build their confidence and conquer fears. The new role was working inside, in an office, helping schools and youth groups plan their visits and design the activity programme to get the most from their visits.

It was very different, but I enjoyed it and it worked. It gave me the balance I needed. I had to work, and, bonus, no childcare costs!

Being a working mum with a husband who works shifts can be tiring. Some weeks I’m on my own and on the go from 7am to 9pm. Get the kids ready for school, go straight to work after dropping them off (hope the teacher doesn’t need to see me). I usually work all through and eat lunch at my desk. I choose not to have a lunch break so I can always pick my children up. I grab the kids from school with snack in hand (so as not to have a hangry daughter) then we head off to any club that that afternoon or evening may hold:

  • Martial Arts
  • Football
  • Futsal
  • Swimming
  • More football

Whether we come home in between clubs or after I always try to feed my clan something nutritious. I then listen to them read individually and some days I even make sure they’ve washed! Then there is the washing, cleaning, shopping, washing up – the list goes on!

Sometimes I even try to sleep at night!

It was hard work… It is hard.

My son (10) has viral asthma. If he gets ill in winter, he can be really ill. This means time off for him and for me. Most of the time I am lucky. I can work from home.

My children both play football. However, my daughter (7) plays football 3 times a week in 3 different locations. She wants to be a footballer and all her coaches believe she could be if she carries on training hard. I need to be around for both of them. I want to be around for them. I want to watch them play football and swim and give them cuddles when they are sick.

People ask me about promotions or different jobs and even though I want to progress, all the jobs or promotions that I like all require being on call or working long days. But it is my choice not to apply. It doesn’t mean it is an easy decision, but it does mean I get the balance I need for my family.

People think it’s harder for working mums than working dads and in some cases this could be true. But I am glad that there is still choice, man or woman. You can be a ‘stay at home’ parent or a working parent. It’s about choice.

This International Women’s Day, I’d like to take some to give a shoutout to all of the working mums out there.

#EachForEqual


Click here to read more of our International Women’s Day blogs.