Being a Working Mother

Now that the children are back at school, women all over the country will be juggling work commitments with the school run. An increasing number of fathers are starting to share responsibility, but childcare is still predominantly seen as the mother’s job.

Assuming that none of us are really ‘Supermum’ in disguise, how do we cope with the double role?  Half of our workforce at The Resource Centre are working mothers and we combine work and family life with a sensible, straight forward approach.

The Emergence of the Working Mother

It used to be straightforward — not fair, but straightforward. The husband went out to work and the wife looked after the children. In any case, if any further childcare was needed, there were usually grandparents close by.

There are very good reasons why that’s no longer the case. Quite apart from the recognition by most women that they have as much right as men to a career, it’s become increasingly difficult to manage on one salary. In any case, many mothers don’t have the choice. A report last year suggested that a third of working mothers are the family’s main breadwinner.

Professional childcare can help, and is pretty much essential these days, whether it’s from nurseries or after-school carers. It can be expensive, though. So how can a mother cope with work as well as her children?

How to Make a Go of Being a Working Mother

It isn’t easy to combine the two roles, but there’s no reason why, with a bit of flexibility and creativity, you shouldn’t get it right. And the good news is that you’re not going to be psychologically damaging your children. A study reported in the Telegraph two years ago found teenagers whose mothers worked displayed no more anti-social behaviours (such as smoking) than those whose mothers stayed at home.

One crucial thing is to make the most of the time you do share with your children, whether that’s evenings, weekends or holidays. That’s the time to enjoy family life, not to catch up on work, whatever the pressure. Your children may have been away from you all day, but it’s important they know that’s their time with you.

Working practices today are changing (slowly, but they’re changing) to be more flexible, more accepting of the need for a work-life balance. Above all, if you find the means to work for yourself, many of the jobs done online or on the end of a phone can be fitted around the needs of your role as a mother.

Your children are crucial to your life, but your career can be important too. With good planning and commitment, there’s no reason why you can’t give your attention to both.

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