Let me count the ways working mothers are meant to feel grateful.
Landing a part-time job.
Landing any job after three, five, seven years out of the workforce.
Working four days a week when you’re paid for three, or five days a week when you are paid for four (it’s part-time, shut-up, there aren’t many jobs like that around).
Leaving one hour early on a Wednesday to go to a parent/teacher interview (but staying back at least an hour, maybe two, for the whole next working week to show you are serious about your job).
Being able to communicate with work all night and on your days off, particularly with colleagues who email at 10.34pm.
Being able to communicate with work all morning and on your days off, particularly with colleagues who email at 5.17am.
Part-time work has long been seen as the Holy Grail of the work/life balance. Yet studies show that part-time work for women only serves to make life busier (they take on more household duties as well as working). Added to that round-the-clock franticness, is that their work status, compared to their partners, becomes less equal. You’ve seen it before, the more “flexible” you are the more rigid a partner’s work becomes as they start moving on up the career ladder, earning more money, working longer hours and being able to contribute to the household less.
Your life becomes busier when you work part-time. Image via iStock.
Part timers may see their career trajectory wilt and become adept at cleaning shower screens, they may also see less hours a week at work equal more menial positions.
Or, if you are returning to work after time out to look after children, a complete disappearing act of your work experience. One minute you are an advertising account manager who has years of experience liaising with clients, overseeing complex projects, managing staff, budgets, deadlines, hooking new business, winning industry awards, then ABRACADABRA, five years later (after your husband leaves you for his boss - true story) you return to work as an office assistant.
DailyLife reported just this week on a job ad for an editorial assistant at a magazine that put mothers with deep experience in the workforce on the same skill level as a new graduate.
The job ad read in part:
Would suit a grad, but also a mum looking to return to the workforce.
"How is it that having children, and taking some time out of the workforce to care for them, suddenly voids a woman's entire career history to such an extent that she's no more valuable than someone fresh out of uni without a single day of experience?," Kasey Edwards asks.
How is it exactly? Did staying home with babies delete parts of their brains reserved for learning, skills, education and how to get someone to buy you a complicated coffee on the coffee run?
I'm currently employed full-time. I've had three kids and I've spent nearly 14 years employed part-time and working for myself writing two novels. On a handful of occasions over the years I've been introduced at a social or, even, work event, to a colleague.
"How is it that having children, and taking some time out of the workforce to care for them, suddenly voids a woman's entire career history?" Image via iStock.
They'd say they've never seen me before and I knew why.