THIS WEEK WE'RE THRILLED TO HAVE A GUEST BLOG POST FROM JESSICA CHIVERS. JESSICA IS THE THINKING WOMAN'S COACH AND HER BOOK MOTHERS WORK! WILL SOON BE PUBLISHED BY HAY HOUSE, HELPING MUMS TO GET A GRIP ON GUILT AND MAKE A SMOOTH RETURN TO WORK.
“But you don’t need the money so why are you doing it?” is a common reaction to a mum bemoaning the difficulties of combining paid work, a caring role and household duties (the so called ‘triple bind’ of working motherhood).
But that misses the point of why many women go to work, mother or not.
In a survey of 200 working mothers I discovered money really isn’t the be-all and end-all of working.
But then I think we all knew that anyway.
Given the option to escape a demanding preschooler, service your brain cells, go to the toilet in peace and get apreciated for doing something well that you enjoy, surely you’d grab it with both hands?
Whilst many mothers want this, the financial cost of working can be prohibitive. The average annual cost of a nanny outside London is £22,220 gross. That’s about £93/day with four weeks holiday pay (NannyTax wage survey 2009). Not bad for the nanny. But fairly grim for the want-to-be-working mum. When writing my book, Mothers Work! I met several mums who’d love to go back to work, but can’t make it pay. Like the cook with three children under five, and the events manager who couldn’t finance the childcare for the long hours the job demands.
So what can we do about this? One: we need to get creative about the way we organise childcare. Two: we need to become better negotiators. That includes pay rises, pitching for promotions and asking for flexible working.
It’s been said that men will apply for a job if they can do 30% of it. Whereas women who can do 70% of the job will um and ahhh over the 30% they can’t do.
As women,we need to claim back our confidence and ask for what we want. That might mean asking dare I say it (*mock shock horror, Edward Munch hands of face pose*) daddy to ask his employer about flexible working so he can do more of the childcare. Or having the brass neck cheek to demonstrate why a pay rise is in order in the middle of a recession. I could go on.
Think of the money gained if you could work one day a week at home (OK, it would actually be two evenings - there’s no way you’d get more than an hour’s work done with a toddler – the guilt would get you before he got bored of the telly). And think of the extra saved for a rainy day if fathers were ‘working from home’ on another day too.
For some there may be the option of roping in the friend or rellie who thinks being around children all day every day is such a good thing that they question why you’re working when you don’t need to....
Do what you need to do and ask for what you want!
THANKS JESSICA - INSPIRING WORDS AS ALWAYS. FIND OUT MUCH MORE ABOUT JESSICA ON HER FABULOUS WEBSITE (PACKED WITH TIPS AND INSPIRATION)!