I write this as a personal appeal on behalf of working parents across the world.
As a society, in the last few years we have shown a newfound respect for parents. And courtesy of COVID-19, lockdown has shown everyone that for working parents the 'juggle is real'.
Our colleagues have had no choice but to sit front row and witness the chaos that is being a working parent. Yet we haven’t acknowledged the reality that a working parent’s job really starts when they close their laptop.
Watch Mamamia Out Loud host Holly Wainwright discusses why parental equality isn't just a woman's issue. Post continues below.
Since having my son three years ago, I work a four-day week. Not a choice I made lightly, but quite literally because if I put my son into childcare one extra day per week, I’d barely see any of my salary per month.
Let that sink in for a minute.
It might be a gripe I have with the government but it’s something companies and those who haven’t yet had children need to recognise. Most part-time working parents have proportionally had the decision made for them. We’ve been given no choice but to have one less day of eating a meal in peace and having adult conversations.
Now I feel the need to clarify, I love my son. I whole heartedly love being a Mum and I will hopefully have more kids one day. Being a parent is hands down the best thing I’ve done in my entire life.
But I’ve lost count of the number of times direct reports, peers and managers have signed off that last email or meeting at the end of my working week with “enjoy your day off”.
At first, I’d reply with, “I’ll swap your eight-hour day for my 15-hour one” or “clearly you haven’t been around toddlers in a while”.
But these days I just smile and subtly shake my head.
Yes, I get to go to the playground or the beach and enjoy play dates with other parents but that’s a total of maybe three hours in the entire day. And that’s only if the weather is nice.
I also do an average of four loads of washing, a food shop, clean and as soon as I’ve finished, I start tidying all over again.