Stories of being a working mum

guiltymotherhelenReal parenting, Working MotherhoodLeave a Comment

At the start of March we launched a campaign – This is what a working mum looks like, hoping to acknowledge and celebrate working motherhood in all it’s various forms (#allmumsareworkingmums). We hoped to capture the breath taking highs, the sometimes harsh realities, the moments that might have otherwise been missed. And to bring us together, to share our stories of being a working mum and demonstrate how incredible we are.

We obviously could never imagined how March would turn out, and actually we’ve been blown away by how this campaign has turned out too. Your stories and pictures from the daily prompts have made us laugh out loud, cry into our morning coffee, feel reassured we’re not alone, reflect, nod vigorously in agreement, approach our days differently. SO many joined in, the hashtag was used nearly 1000 times, the honesty and creativity was just ace.

So, THANK YOU. Thank you if you joined in, thank you if you spread the word, thank you if you’re reading this now. You can still pop onto Instagram and use the hashtag to read how others interpreted the prompts on any day when you feel like you’re battling through working motherhood alone. Hell you can still use the prompts to do this challenge at any time on your own or with some fellow mum friends, it doesn’t need to be in March, it’s a beautiful way to document your world and feel all the positive benefits that come from a bit of journalling.

And what did we discover from reading all these posts? That we are busy, oh so busy. Keeping up with the challenge itself became indicative of how much we all have to juggle and that sometimes that is hard to handle. That we are talented. Oh my goodness the range of work everyone is doing, from doctors, to business owners to writers to teachers to raising the future on a full time basis whilst also finding capacity to share with others how to do it (!), the list just goes on. That there is SO MUCH LOVE. This is probably my lasting impression, the feeling of pure, unadulterated love.

In no particular order here are a just a few snippets of a campaign that really did demonstrate what a working mum looks like in 2020:

Pic Joshua Coleman via Unsplash

DAY 28. THE DOUBLE WORKLOAD. I am a woman of many hats. Not actual hats. Work hats. People talk about having to swap one for another as they slip into different roles. I don’t think this happens for me, instead I think my hats seem to stack up on top of each other. Just because I’m at work, doesn’t mean my parenting hat is off. And sadly, the reverse is true too. Double, triple, sometimes quadrupling the standard workload. Writing and marketing books on top of the day job and parenting has definitely added to my hat collection, but I don’t regret that for a second.

Sometimes though, I feel like I’m disappearing under my hats and I can’t remember the last time I felt I could really let my hat-free hair down. I’m really working this metaphor! It’s tough but actually, deep down, I think wearing multiple hats suits me, as long as I don’t get crushed. Nicky Gilbody, Author, Speech and Language Therapist

DAY 12. LEADERSHIP. I looked for images and most were of men when I typed in leader, but I know that I and most women I know are leaders in the workplace, and in the home. I have high hopes that for my daughter this will be more recognised, and that for her generation phrases such as ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ will no longer be necessary in relation to her gender, because we truly will live in an equal world where family is recognised in business. I am Planty

I often get asked what my advice is on certain things…my answer for a lot of things is often very simply what I know, play. For five minutes a day. Just play. Child feeling low on confidence? Play a game and tell them they’re wonderful. You feeling like you’ve been ignoring them and stuck on the telly a lot recently? Then have a quick play together. You’re feeling a bit ‘meh’, then have a tickle fight with the kids. Behaviour at home suddenly a bit of a challenge? Play some board games or turn taking games together as a family.
I’m not an expert on anything. Especially parenting. Because I don’t really think such a thing exists, as every family and child is different. But I do know this. Play makes a difference. To everything. It’s the best thing you can ever give your little one. A bit of play time with you. And don’t forget five minutes is enough!
Five Minute Mum

DAY 14. GUILT. I’ve felt guilty about so much in my life.
Feeling guilty, I have come to realise, is a total waste of time. It robs me of enjoyment in the now. So when I notice guilt, I ask myself, what need of mine is not being met right now for me to be experiencing this feeling.
Just acknowledging that unmet need stops the guilt-wallowing. And even better, it allows forgiveness (of myself usually), and a way to move out of guilt.
Calm at Home

DAY 3. MY WORK. I’m Rachel. I’m a breast cancer research scientist and mum to Sam (5) and Jack and Meg (2 year old twins)… I work at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre which is at The Christie Hospital, and my research focusses on developing new treatments for women with secondary breast cancer.
I love my job and I work full time for various reasons, ranging from the practical (money), to the work-related (it’s hard to do academic science in less than full time – hats off to anyone who does), to the family-related (I don’t want a “day off” in the week on my own with two two year olds, I’d be knackered ?).
Dr Rachel Eyre

It was so hard to choose even just a few examples for this blog post, seriously I could have spent a week on this and still not got bored of hearing all the stories of being a working mum.

Feels like it is something we should definitely do again next year in March with some new prompts.

Ahh then we can also look back and say, “wow, remember when we weren’t able to leave the house whilst that was going on…” because all this current craziness will be but a distant memory.

Helen x

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