A mother’s dilema

I love my work. I love doing all the werkshop things as well.  And of course I love my family.

However, I struggle.

I want to be there for my kids, but I also want to work. Kids have (lots of) holidays. Kids get poorly.

It’s often difficult to make it work legistically and quite often people run a mile when I state my terms of working.  I’m sure I’ll get there someday.

However, if I’m in this position.  I’m sure many other working parents are too.  I never stop thinking how I could try to make it work better for myself and then consequently other parents too.  There must be a better way that doesn’t involve setting up a franchise to sell baby stuff to locals or friends.  Yuk.

I’m sure if we looked into it deeply we would find a lot more.  For example, I know that in the past when I applied for work I felt I couldn’t tell people about my personal needs (ie. flexibility, work from home sometimes, etc).  I think recruitment agencies are especially responsible for not putting enough of us working parents forward for opportunities.  Louise Hewitt expressed it as well.  So hopefully it’s not just myself and her.

I know that as I build up my own freelance work and projects I’ll increasingly be in a stronger postion, but ain’t it hard?

The point of this?

Keen to hear from others in similar position, thoughts and stories.  I’m sure things can be improved and am working towards and experimenting with this at Lewes Werks.  It’s sometimes nice to know that I’m not the only one in this position 🙂

7 comments on “A mother’s dilema

  1. -

    The big problem is the lack of support (financial and otherwise) generally for parents.

    With the creation of Child Tax Credits (CTC) the government basically announced that the priority is for parents to return to work as soon as possible after the birth of a child (and generate taxes/NIC contributions). This basically means then putting that child/children into some form of paid childcare (again, generating more taxes) because a significant proportion of the working population are unlikely to have family members available to assist with this (especially with the ever rising age of retirement).

    The statuatory pay for those who choose to remain looking after their children is pitiful and currently only available for the mother yet the cost of childcare is prohibitive for those who choose to work less than full-time.

    Flexible working conditions are really down to the individual employer and at the moment are treated more as a privelage than a right, yet at the same time studies demonstrate the long-term importance of a close family unit in the early years of childhood.

    Graaa. So basically, being a parent would suck if it wasn’t for the children who (at times) make it all worthwhile 😉

  2. -

    Yes, what Cole said.
    To have my next bubba (due in 6 weeks, a ha ha ha…) I have had to take the big brother out of his nursery for 6 months until I can take on full-time work again. But just so we can live, I shall have to work evenings and weekends as well on smaller projects and try to be available on the phone as and when.
    This is the downside of being freelance. I get bugger all from the government beyond Maternity Allowance (6 weeks of £165) and the child tax/working tax credits are far too complicated to work out when self-employed. I know too many people who have had to pay back ‘overpay’ leaving them even more screwed than before.

  3. -

    We are lucky enough to be able to call upon grand-parents from time to time but it is still not easy to keep those plates spinning!

    I admire what you are doing. Keep up the good work – forging your own path is the only way really. That or reduce your living costs so that you don’t have to work so much 🙂

    Which reminds me – have you read
    “How to be free” (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0141022027/theidle-21)?

    Or, in fact, “The Idle Parent” (http://idler.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=76)?

    Both books are by the same author, Tom Hodgkinson, and approach this common parenting problem in a refreshing yet obvious way – slow down, reduce reliance on an income and have more time to do more. Not that I’m one to talk!

  4. -

    Ah, Rosie – but you do *sooo* much.

    How about a collective. An association of freelancers who pitch under a single name and dole out the work to whoever can managed it.

    Criteria? You have to be a parent with children under 16, you have to be willing to do babysitting while co-workers take on roles (for which you’ll earn sitting credits for yourself that can be redeemed for reciprocal sitting), and you have to actively participate in finding work and marketing the collective.

    We could even set up a creche at the werks!

    Hmm, now where’s that health and safety manual?

    Hang on in there grl.


  5. -

    Hi Rosie,
    I think your doing an amazing job and perhaps you have not gained much in terms of money, but in my opinion what you’ve contributed to people’s lives is enormous!

    I’ve been freelancing and part time working for seven years now as my kids are 6 and 7. Some years its been great, some years lean.
    Its been hard though I’ve been lucky as I’ve had a fall back income coming from my partner who also happens to be incredibly supportive and helpful in real terms.

    OK, so babystuff maybe not my cup of tea either, but I also think its great that women are getting out there and selling anything. Who cares what they business it is, at least they are having a go!

    I’ve always liked the idea of a workspace where mums with a business(of any kind) could make use of office facilities and also there would be some child minding facility. There would be printers and computers etc, plus a place to meet clients. It could also be a virtual office.
    In Australia, women are the fast growth area for small business. Food for thought anyhow.

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