I’m not often terribly unlucky with comments on my social medias or blog, in fact I think there have only been a few occasions when I have really faced the wrath of trolls and hatefuelled keyboard warriors, it’s generally been avoided. There was a comment last week though that, whilst not trolling in the usual sense, pulled me up short because it was rather… harsh. The comment read “You keep saying that you have given up traditional work to spend more time with your kids, but you’re never with your children, you seem to be off to events all the time and now your husband is doing everything whilst you work. You’re not in it for your kids, you’re in it for money.”
I’m sure some of you will look and think WOW I can’t believe someone sent you that, and then some of you will probably be nodding along in silent agreement because, well I guess it’s partially true, no matter how harsh it might sound.
Here’s the thing, when I worked at Mothercare, even though it was only part time, I lacked the flexibility that I have now. I am 100% more busy than I was before, and I absolutely work longer hours, I’m away from the kids on occasion for more time (like now as I travel to Cardiff to have brunch with Teresa Palmer in the run up to Sky’s new TV series Discovery of Witches) BUT with one major difference: If I decide that I think I need to be with my children – be it for a school event or because they are poorly – I can be. I can be totally flexible around them. I can involve them in my work and I can create work around them, their needs and in some instances, create work exclusively for the purpose of making them smile such as my dinosaur vlog with Toby last week.
Blogging has certainly taken my life by storm and it means that I am incredibly busy in order to try and grow my business, but with it has come the most amazing things – I am now able to dictate my own schedule.
As for my husband now does everything for the kids, this is the part of that that I really found interesting. I don’t think it’s very often that men say this to men is it? “I’m sorry mate but you’re letting your wife do absolutely everything for those kids whilst you work, despite leaving your job to work for yourself to be more flexible. You’re in it for the money.” – sounds odd in the reverse doesn’t it? One of the most wonderful things about having this career is that it has allowed my husband to leave employment and be at home – it’s not a case of him doing everything, it’s a case of us having a.) the flexibility to do what we want, when we want without having to ask his employers if it’s ok and b.) us being together more as a family. Yes, I can be working whilst Adam does the school run but the children are getting to spend more time with Daddy than ever and because I’m getting more done, I’m spending less time doing things when I want to be with them. This year, we’ve been able to book mini breaks and holidays without having to consult anyone but the boy’s schools and knowing that I will be able to continuing working whilst on holiday because of the nature of my job.
Yes, I’m in it for the money as well as the flexibility, anyone who tells you they aren’t is a total fibber because NO ONE works for shits and giggles, no one. If we weren’t all dependent on money and everything was free we would spend most of our lives snuggled in bed watching movies or playing with our children in beautiful woodland locations. The thing is that I could do something like I was doing at Mothercare and have less time still with my children even though I’m at events, busy a lot and working almost constantly because my work involves my family, 90% of the paid work I do requires I have the children in my pictures, with me trialling things and going out. The posts you read, they are largely written either whilst they are at school/preschool or in bed and I simply do not work on a weekend unless it’s absolutely necessary or it’s something that I know the kids will love (like a day trip or big weekend away). I never miss things for school or preschool (even when it means I have to take a very late night on the chin).
I also hope that the children will grow up to remember that their mum worked bloody hard, went to things she didn’t always want to go to and did her best to make sure that they could have everything they needed, and beyond that most things they wanted (ahem, no Reuben, we can’t go to Center Parcs, North America and Tokyo in the same month bud.)
To clarify, I’m not bragging or looking for you to throw me an award so I can continue my Oscar award speech, not at all. My point is this: a working mum is doing what she thinks is best by her children. Today and tomorrow I won’t be there for the bedtime routine and I won’t be there for the morning routine but I will be there for the weekend and most of next week, or all of it if one of the children is feeling unwell – I will be able to say I’m not working for love nor money on this date because the children have XYZ. I took the choice to, at first, take a leap into a world where there is no security and very little financial reward to begin with so that I could be with my children, so that if they needed me I could be there 24/7 at the click of a mouse.
These kinds of comments are the ones that divide us and cause issues for working mothers, especially when they work for themselves and they are trying their hardest to ensure that their careers work FOR their family and they don’t work for their careers as much as they might if they worked for a massive corporation.