I’ve been a WAHM and blogger for around 4 and a half years now and feel like I’ve established a really genuine, real, and honest following. Just like me I suppose!
I try not to sugar coat what I write about; what I share with you. My paid work is honest and slotted into my feed naturally (I hope!) and I share parts of my life in the hope of supporting just one other parent out there. Giving them a boost to know they’re not alone in the mayhem of motherhood.
This brings me on to a recent post I shared on Instagram and Facebook. A post filled with honesty.
You all know I have a pretty hectic life. I work from home running Lamb & Bear, working on paid/unpaid campaigns and projects. As well as my own posts, updating you all on what we’re up to, how we’re feeling etc. I run my small business, Ada & Alfred, by myself. Designing, marketing, packing orders, admin. All of it. So it’s inevitable that cracks will begin to form.
We all crumble at times.
In this post I spoke about how I’m struggling to juggle it all and how I’m desperate to get into a better work/home routine. The boys haven’t been going to bed until 9/10pm, and of course it’s been the school holidays, so my working hours have been reduced dramatically.
My working hours. No one else’s.
I shared how I was feeling with you to show you that us ‘influencers’ (cringe) don’t have these perfect lives. We are real people with real emotions. We have struggles beyond what you see on ‘the grid’.
The post in question received an array of support and kindness towards my struggles. And I’m truly grateful to everyone who gave me a pat on the back for how much I’ve taken on in the last few years. Your words genuinely keep me going.
A few comments (which were in no way negative and were most definitely written as support) got me thinking about working mums and the pressures that come with it.
You’re expected to get back to work; provide for your family. Yet, you’re doused in guilt because you’re leaving your babies.
A couple of people suggested I give up working, as I clearly have too much going on and “somethings got to give”.
I was a little shocked if I’m honest. Shocked that the solution should be giving up. Giving up on everything I had worked for; blood, sweat and tears. Lots of tears.
Yes I’m a mother, yes my children will only be young once. But I’m also an adult, a female, a person. I am more than a mother. I am me.
I’ve put my career on hold for a few years now. After being made redundant when I was 9 weeks pregnant with Bear I chose to stay at home and grow my brand around my parenting duties, allowing my husband to start a new career after also being made redundant in the same year. Yeah, luck was totally on our side that year…
He’s now a qualified electrician and I’m incredibly proud of him. He’s got to start again after redundancy and we’re slowly getting back on track.
But what about me?
Why should I give up trying to have my own career because I’m a mother? I am not solely responsible for our children, it is a joint effort.
Yes my husband provides for us financially, but guess what? I’d like to do that too.
It saddens me that a solution to my problems with being a work at home mum, is to simply give up. Put work on hold and just be with my babies.
For me that’s absolutely not an option. They’re 5 and 2 and I’ve done my ‘maternity leave’.
What about suggesting the childcare is spread a little more between both parents? I don’t know, maybe my partner could finish work early 1 day a week and be at the school gate to pick up Lamb. Allowing me to actually work a full day and not just during school hours.
Or, I leave him to deal with bedtime and I head out somewhere to work, undisturbed.
You know what, I bet there’s thousand of dads who are equally frustrated about the lack of flexibility in the workplace. Dads who’d love to take on some of the childcare and allow their partners to get back into work. Dads who’d love to be more hands on.
But sadly, the working environment rarely encourages this.
I know the comments about giving up weren’t meant to offend, but in all honesty they did sting a little. It just reminded me how much a mother’s career isn’t prioritised. That I’m a work at home mum, but expected to do every school run, pack every lunch box, iron every school shirt. (Yeah right, as if I iron!)
You get the idea.
So although your suggestion of putting my ‘work’ on hold might of come from a kind place, maybe think about how much emotion, time, and tears someone has put into their ‘work’ before simply telling them to give it up. Also, you know, bills and stuff.
Being a mother is so much more than being ‘present’. The way I want my boys to see me is exactly how I grew up seeing my own mother.
Intelligent, independent and most importantly inspiring.
She was the first person in our family to gain a degree from university. I was the second.
She juggled her university work with 3 young children at home and passed with flying colours. Then went on to become a wonderful teacher, able to gain the trust and respect of both her colleagues and pupils.
It can’t of been easy, but she did it and she inspired me.
Here I am, a degree under my belt, 2 young children and a self-employed business owner.
It’s not easy, but do you think I should just give all of that up because I’m struggling?
Or should I power through, seek a little more support and come up with a plan that means I can continue with my career and hopefully show my sons that the women of the world can provide too. And not that women are just meant for the home.
You know, if we told all working mums to give up when things got too much, we’d end up with a world dominated by powerful men and inequality.