It sucks being one of the only mums in my circle of friends.
Not only do they not understand why I can’t bring my toddler to a boutique beer garden but our areas of common interests are becoming less common. So when my close friend recently announced she was pregnant, I was happy for her and selfishly glad for me.
After attending a girls’ catch up to celebrate her news, the conversation touched on whether my friend would return to work. Needless to say I was surprised when two of my friends confessed they didn’t like part time working mothers – especially since I am one.
Even before kids, I’ve always viewed working mums positively. I worked with both full time and part time working mums and never experienced issues with the quantity or quality of their work.
And if I’m being completely honest, the balancing act of work and kids looked stressful and the reality certainly hasn’t disappointed.
You would think that working part time mums would have enough to worry about with work, childcare/school drop offs and running a household without having to face this attitude in the work place but it’s one that, after speaking to other working mums, is regularly faced.
Mothers confess times they felt like terrible mothers. Post continues after video…
What is most surprising is that it’s other women expressing this opinion. The very same women, who hope to have children in the future and so arguably, have a vested interest in supporting working mums in the workplace.
Instead, the exact opposite seems to be happening. On asking my friends what led to their dislike, their key gripe was NOT the quality of work but rather the inability to contact working mums’ on their days off. And on some level, they perceive working mums as less committed.
To say that I was shocked they valued accessibility over work performance is an understatement. And this criticism doesn’t pass the smell test for me.
Surely, the sum total of a working mum’s contribution to the work place isn’t whether they can be contacted on their days off? It also begs the question of where they draw the line on contacting colleagues who aren’t in the office – do they expect colleagues to be available when they take annual leave or sick leave?
I’m fairly certain that I’m not in the minority of working on my day off since making the change to part time work.
And whilst I understand that it’s sometimes necessary to do this, I also don’t think it’s unfair to expect that non urgent enquiries wait until I get back in the office. After all, unlike my annual leave and sick leave, my non-working days are days that I’m not paid for.
At a time when working mums are rated as some of the most productive employees in the workplace, this hasn't translated into being viewed as a valuable team player within paid employment.