I wanted to discuss a more serious topic today on this, Lo-Lo’s 5 month birthday and my 200th post- the work dilemma.
Bottom line is having kids is disruptive, no matter how much you want and love them. Both parties, both husband and wife are disrupted. Your personal life is completely changed and it is relentless, in one day it goes from however you used to be, to full on baby-time with the flick of a switch.
For the majority of women, your working life gets put on hold all of a sudden. When you do eventually go back there is someone about who’s smarter, keener, younger and who’s not thinking about getting home on time to be with their family. A lot of mums tell me that they become more efficient with the time they have which means they can actually get in and out of work ‘on time’. I can tell you there was hardly any wasting of time at work when I was there, but it is true that the goal posts have completely shifted. Your heart cries out for that tiny little life that you made, with their tiny hands, tiny feet, that person who you can completely cheer up just by holding them. They love their mummy and they love their daddy. How can you NOT be pulled to go back home?
Lots has been done to improve the situation of mothers who want to have a baby, i.e. being paid enhanced maternity pay while you’re gone, keeping your post open for you so you can return, the chance maybe to work 4 days a week. But by the same token you can’t help but realise that being a mother is a complete inconvenience to a business. I get it, I truly do. It’s difficult to run any business and not know if half your work force will suddenly all need to bugger off on maternity. Its not just continuity for your clients/peers, it’s depth of knowledge in your job and let’s not forget the huge amount of money (uhem) the company spends trying to find temporary cover for you AND your enhanced (uhem) pay.
That’s why you could argue it would be preferable to only employ men! None of that rubbish. Well… none of that rubbish directly. The men themselves may chose to have a family and may suddenly become a little altered in their habits at work. That’s because really, there is something much bigger than business in the world. And I guess that’s the bottom line of it all, however ‘inconvenient’ it is to a business, it’s critical for the continuation of man kind. You know – that whole life thing. So yep, it is quite nice that you can keep a post open for us once we come back after maternity leave, we’ve been busy trying to do something rather amazing. I appreciate that in order to stop us getting up the duff again too soon you subtly threaten us with having to pay back enhanced pay, I get why you do it. However let’s make sure we’re not punishing mothers for making their choices.
- The Truth About Maternity Leave in the UK (reed.co.uk)
- Longer Maternity Leave Not So Great for Women After All (ideas.time.com)
- Maternity benefit: young mothers an ‘easy target’ (irishtimes.com)