OPINION: Being a mum can be considered a job and also a career
- Credit: Ruth Davies
“What do you do?”
A question which can make or break a conversation at the best of times but when you apply 'mother' as your answer it often feels uneasily received.
For those who can’t hack the notion of a woman choosing to do the school run over the board room we often hear the back-up question of “but apart from that”
And what are we supposed to say? I mean, it’s not like birthing actual people before bringing them up to be decent human beings could be enough – there’s got to be something else right?
The truth is there doesn’t have to be and were my family more financially able I’d choose this path in a heartbeat.
I work because I have to but the dream for me was to raise children barefoot while I baked and cleaned and picked them up from school.
Asked what my ambitions were as a twentysomething working in the city and my honest answer was always this, much to the chagrin of my male bosses who’d always known I was a bad bet because of my child bearing years in the offing.
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I was made to feel guilty for not wanting a career then and now, with a career I’ve carved for myself around my family, I’m also made to feel like I’m making things give because shouldn’t I be devoted to being a mother. Sometimes for women it really feels like we can’t win.
As a mother I’m valuable to humanity if I stay at home, more than lots of eyes dare to see.
I’m also of value to an employer however, more so than before babies, since I became a mother.
Because I raise children and because I have different dimensions in my life it makes me more productive, more capable and with more foresight.
Mothers, before we become them and after, are often written off as workers and yet held in contempt when we don’t leave the home for a paid role. It can be very confusing.
Thank goodness women know and have forged on regardless making working women with and without children the back bone of many employed jobs.
I have a friend who works in not just one but four main roles.
She is a television director, restauranteur and hotelier as well as being a hands on mum to two lively children.
She says women in the workforce have always been important and able to offer something else to a role that men cannot but as a mother she takes more than this into her traditional jobs too.
Directing the cast of The Only Way Is Essex recently, perhaps not your standard traditional job, she found herself wrapping a towel around the cold cast members as they came out of the cold North Norfolk sea during filming – this is a mother’s instinct to protect and look after and she says it’s the reason she is so successful.
Being a mother has taught her ways to behave that make her great at her job and from looking after employees in her restaurant as the people she genuinely cares for and not just her workers, to knowing how to treat people as human beings who need care on set, she gets more back
Hannah, the first female director of Top Gear no less, merges her worlds beautifully in only the way a mother could and did just that when inviting her current cast to Norfolk to film her show recently.
They stayed at the Dial House in Reepham and dined at Farmyard (both co-owned and run by her) – all this in a day’s work where she picked up the kids from school. Well, she’s doing something right here isn’t she?
I have working mum friends in all sorts of roles from a single mum to three children under five blending her world of motherhood with CSI work, to a teacher friend who brings her children to school with her in order to get the job done on both levels.
It doesn’t just happen, we make it happen. We are women, we are mothers, this is what we’re good at. People say, the same people who don’t like to accept “just a mum” or “working full time while my kids are at after school clubs” who say “but something always has to give”.
Not if you’re a mum it doesn’t, when we’re juggling, be that in our homes 24/7 or out at work, we don’t drop balls very often and the thing is, when we do, we pick them right back up again.
Now what could be more of an ambition goal for our children to see than their mothers bossing whichever pathway for parenting they’ve chosen?
Mothers are not more or less because they do or don’t work. Mothers are assets to society.
Ruth Davies has a parenting blog at www.rocknrollerbaby.co.uk