Why mums deserve #WorkThatWorks

Foam letters WTW on a bathroom wall

Us mums weren’t always mums. Before motherhood, most of us did Very Important Stuff. We ran businesses, did research and built things. We created brands and wrote proposals. We made sales and made money. We were busy. We worked hard.

Then we had babies and we worked even harder. We walked around our houses in a sleep-induced daze, wearing yesterday’s pyjamas covered in baby puke and thought, “This is the toughest job I’ve ever had.”

Even though motherhood was exhausting and pretty disgusting, we still kind of loved it. But that didn’t mean we had forgotten about all the Very Important Stuff that we used to do. We missed working sometimes and wanted to keep doing it – but in a way allowed us to keep doing our mum job too.

But we found out that could be really, really hard.

A few of us got lucky. Our employers recognised the importance of balancing work and family life, and we were able to come to arrangements that worked for everyone. But most of our employers wanted us to work for a specific amount of time in a specific place every week day, which was going to make it basically impossible for us to be employed and still, you know, see our kids. When we asked if they would consider more flexible ways of working, they seemed confused.

“You want to work flexible hours? But everyone in the company works from 9-5,” they said.

“But there’s no need for everyone to work the same hours, really,” we said. “We could work early in the morning or late at night. Or we could work a long day one day and a shorter day the next. Does it really matter as long as the job gets done? Plus we would be happier if we could fit work around childcare duties, and happy employees are more productive.”

“You’ll need to work from our offices,” they said.

“But we could work just as easily from home, which would cut out the time we waste on commuting, leaving us with more time to get things done,” we said.

The employers looked puzzled. “We don’t see how this could work,” they said.

That’s when we kind of lost it.

“Really? It’s pretty straightforward. We keep doing the work that we always did – the work we’re pretty f***ing good at, we might add – just not necessarily in one building from 9-5. You benefit from all the good work that we do. We get to have satisfying careers while still being a kick a** mums. We both win.”

The employers were silent while they thought this over.

“So we’ll see you at 9am on Monday?” they said.

Sound familiar? I’m to have a fairly lucky flexible employer, but many mums struggle to find jobs that give them the work-life balance that they need.

Join the #WorkThatWorks movement with Digital Mums to show your support for flexible working. As they say, “It’s time for a serious cultural change to the way that we work in Britain for the good of mums, businesses and the economy as a whole.”

18 Comment

  1. It really would be good. Employers would get a dedication an commitment from mothers if they allowed them to work hours that work. It can too often feel like an either/or situation where we have to choose work over getting enough family time. It is the same for men too though. I know many men that would love to work less or different hours eg a long day then a short one so that they can see their children. But that way lies the first to the redundancy list. Great post #coolmumclub

  2. In this day and age you’d think more employers would get on board and allow flexible working. So much work can be done from home. We have PCs, laptops, tablets, even smartphones. Almost everyone has access to WiFi. I don’t see why some tasks can’t be performed outside the office. #ablogginggoodtime

  3. Working in a school isn’t great for flexibility of working really but I am very very lucky as my new employer is more flexible and we are not forced to stay on the premises from 8 – 4 like in my old role. We are allowed to plan at home. So I can sometimes leave soon after the children have gone at 3. That means I do get to see my kids. In the UK teaching was brutal it was expected to be at work before 8 and most didn’t leave until 6. Where is the work/life balance?
    Great post! 🌟 Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime 🎉

  4. flexible working is the future as the next generation don’t want to work how we have.my boss has been great and I work very flexibly – today’s my day off. I’m working to embed flexibility in the company – for everyone. this is a great piece that covers an important topic #ablogginggood time

  5. I had to give up my job because I wasn’t allowed to go part-time. It was a bit different for me because I was a teacher and responsible for whole school teaching and learning. I was leaving the house at 6:30am before my children woke up and getting home at 6pm as they went to bed. I then worked until 10:30pm marking and planning and one whole day at the weekend. I loved my job and I hated that I had to walk away from it but it wasn’t fair on my family. We need more flexi working! #ablogginggoodtime

  6. This really sounds like the kind of work I need to look for. As an ex career girl turned SAHM I need to do something in the future, but I hate the thought of being away from the girls more and more. Maybe I need to go off and investigate further….
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub – I’m off to investigate and pinning this to my career inspiration board as a reminder!

  7. I love this. Flexible hours are great for everyone and there is no need for everyone to be on duty all at the same time in an office, or in many other kinds of jobs. Work culture needs to calm down.
    #ablogginggoodtime

  8. Yeah, it is ridiculous how few employers are willing to be flexible and have family friendly working hours. When you consider what a huge percentage of the workforce parents make up it just doesn’t make sense! I really hope it gets shaken up pretty soon – it’s 2016 now, isn’t it about time?!

  9. I’ve always been a bit baffled by the whole flexible working thing as I work in an industry that has specific hours and I’m customer facing so I have to kind of work when the customers want to be served, and I have to be on the premises to do that. I am very lucky in that I have been able to return just two days a week, but that is about as flexible as it gets in my line of work and I can imagine so many people that must be facing the same issues. I love that you’re putting this on the agenda and trying to raise the bar for flexible working. In this day and age where so many of us have to work to pay the bills and the astronomical mortgage, more needs to be done to make the work life balance a bit more – well – balanced! x #coolmumclub

  10. An issue that definitely needs raising more. Well done #ablgginggoodtime

  11. You and I are on the same page this week I think! I worked full-time when my eldest was young and spent a fortune on childcare then stopped work when I had my youngest. There were many reasons for this but my decision was largely influenced by the fact that 12 years ago my company at the time were not really ready to embrace the notion of flexible working. Now 12 years on whilst I still clearly have the same skills, re-entering the job market is tough. I don’t want to return to the same job or have the same responsibilities but probably like many others would love to find something “flexible”. There are so many of us mothers with invaluable skills and experience. The WorkThatWorks campaign is fantastic. #PoCoLo

  12. I almost so lucky to work for a firm that totally understands family situations. I had to take time off work last year when my Mum underwent chemotherapy (she looked after LO in the mornings when I worked). My work were so understanding in that they kept my job open, managed without me AND let me return to work on reduced hours. I didn’t go back to my normal hours until 11 months later. For that I will be eternally grateful. Not only did it help me out with my childcare problem but it gave me th chance to be there for my LO while he had to witness his Nan’s illness. More companies need to be this way. In this day and age it’s ridiculous that it’s not just part and parcel of each job. #pocolo

  13. What a great campaign. I’m lucky that my work is *fairly* flexible, although currently working from home is impossible as I am supervising a construction project on site. But my working day is pretty flexible, providing I work the core hours, and cover my contracted hours over the course of the month. Even where I am, though, I find I’m constantly having to justify myself, and explain to others why I’m leaving early (because I worked late yesterday) or why I’m not in tomorrow (because I have a day in credit from last week). On the whole, though, my boss values me and knows I will bugger off if I don’t have flexible working!
    #eatsleepblogrt

  14. Here here! I work the equivalent hours of a full time job but from home between nursery and school pick ups and drop offs etc etc. Luckily my employer is myself!! #coolmumclub

  15. I’m with you it’s about what you do and getting the job done, not about being at a desk between certain hours. I’m convinced part time mums are more efficient workers – they certainly were on my team – because they’re used to doing 101 things at once, prioritising their time and making sure things happen. Hopefully one day, employers will realise this too – good luck, go get ’em! Thanks for sharing with #PoCoLo

  16. Too right! I couldn’t agree more. Just because you don’t work in an office or between 9-5 doesn’t mean you can’t do a good job.
    This is a great post and thanks for raising the issue and linking to #pocolo .

  17. Flexible working, whats that?! I wish that was even an option for me. The campaign sounds great though and I agree most businesses could be a bit more flexible and encourage home working #eatsleepblogrt

  18. Totally agree with this! Employer attitudes need to change. Imagine also if you’re a dad asking for flexible work! The employer doesn’t just look at you confused but adds ‘but what’s your wife doing?’ As if that’s relevant. Great post.
    #eatsleepblogrt

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