Open Letter From A Working Mum
An open and honest letter from one working mother reader.
The first open letter from one of our readers that went viral, starting a series of open letters, back in 2016.
Where do I start, at times I feel very much alone as my husband’s job means he works such long hours. When I wake up he is probably half way across the country already, he is a very hardworking man for our little family. We have two children Oliver who is 10 and Haydon who is 4 and has just started school. As any parent knows this is an exciting yet stressful time for parent and child, throw in a full time job, a premiership football academy and traffic jams that’s basically my life!
I work full time 9 to 5, 5 days a week and unfortunately where I work being late isn’t an option! In fact I have recently received an informal ‘telling off’ for being one minute late in October. If I am late again then it will be escalated by Human Resources and the disciplinary procedure process will begin. It WILL happen; it’s only a matter of time before it does. It is always the ones without children who dictate the rules, the ones that don’t know what it’s like trying to persuade a four year old to get dressed in the mornings. The ones that don’t have to deal with tantrums, arguments and kids not wanting to go to school. If I am lucky I have roughly 5 minutes to get myself showered, dressed throw some foundation on to cover the dark circles and off to face another day at the office.
My average day starts at 6.30am and after battling though the traffic to collect the boys from after school club we are lucky to be home for 6.00pm (that’s if we don’t have football training) My job is stressful and full on at times but I never let work interfere with my home life.
On the issue of being ‘late’ for work what are my options for this not to happen again. Put them in breakfast club at additional cost and make them leave the house even earlier? My youngest son was only four in June, he struggles already falling asleep on the way home most nights. I drive to near the school and walk them the final few minutes to the external gate. The internal gate isn’t opened or manned by a teacher until 8.40am. My children are precious as are all children; do my senior management think it would be acceptable for me to leave them alone to make sure I am not late?
The teacher comes strolling out with her coffee like she has all the time in the world to open the gate. It seems like she is set on slow motion mode, it’s now 8.45 she is late. Her being late now means no doubt I will be late. My heart is racing my mind thinking ahead of what the traffic will be like on the final leg of my journey to work. I look around and see the other parents stood chatting, laughing generally being social towards each other. No one else around me seems to be worried about time constraints like I am. I dash back across the road and head towards the car, as I near work I desperately try to fish out my clocking in card out of my handbag as this can save precious seconds once at the office. I reach the gatehouse and in front of me is a lorry; I am stuck until the driver finally moves off towards the weigh bridge. It’s now 8.58 I need park the car and jog the final stretch to the clock in machine before it ticks around to 9.01!
5.30pm and I reach the school through the traffic to find two very tired boys approaching me, we go home, have tea, do homework , reading and have a bath. By this time it’s already nearing bed time. My husband is still not home, if they are lucky they may see him just before they drift off to sleep.
The cost of being a working parent is high in my opinion, you don’t get to see all of the assembly’s/plays that the other parents regularly attend. Nor can I be part of their schools PTA, they need parents who are available during the day on a regular basis. Before I have left the house I have already spent £80.00 for the week in after school club fees for the privilege of working full time. As the schools also have so many holidays which clearly can’t be covered by annual leave the cost per week to me is £165.00 for childcare which covers my normal working hours.
Up until recently I have also owned my own horse as well but the increasing pressure of the workplace combined with three football training sessions a week for my oldest son, national matches on the weekends plus all the reading and learning for my youngest has as meant that I have had to put my own interests on hold. I am sure any parent would do the same in a heartbeat, but I must admit this has been extremely tough for me. I have owned my own horse since I was 17, suddenly now at 37 I am horseless.
There is no two ways about it my life is stressful, both myself and my husband work extremely hard for our family. I think working parents need much more support from companies and be slightly flexible (especially on being one minute late!!) Juggling children and working full time is difficult especially with my husband not being around during the week. For any single parents out there you have my upmost respect.
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