If as a stay at home parent, you are anything like me then every few months you have a little wobble. Perhaps you have had a crappy day. Perhaps you are skint. Perhaps you are simply bored. You open up the internet and start scrolling through jobs in your area. You widen the search parameters. You lower your expectations. You close your web browser, frustrated and demoralised. You wonder if flexible working is actually a thing and if you are being unreasonable and unrealistic to expect to see more of it. You see this happened to me this morning. I had a little wobble over whether or not being a full time stay at home parent was for me and I started having a little look for suitable jobs in my area and found nothing. Not one. Not one single job that would enable me to take my daughter to nursery and pick her up again. It isn’t like I have a particularly niche set of skills either, I could do anything from admin to marketing to events. I could be a PA, a secretary, a receptionist or anything in that general area but nothing within a 30 mile radius had hours that suited my family.
Come on employers, you are missing a trick here. When you become a parent, you don’t lose all of your hard earned skills they just lie dormant. Companies are missing out on some serious talent (I’m not talking about me here, obviously) because they refuse to make working flexibly or working from home more easily accessible. There is a rise of ‘mumtrepreneurs’ because they have done exactly the same as me and have seen that it is too difficult to try and find a job that fits around their family, so they have created their own business or income stream. These mums are tenacious, they are driven, they are creative, talented and overall amazing but most of all they are undervalued. All schools are pretty much 9-3 so why are there no jobs that are 10-2 with a gap for a few hours of family time and then a few hours of additional evening work… say 7-9? You wouldn’t need a lunch break and I can think of many people who would benefit from this kind of set up.
The market is saturated with ‘mummy blogs’ because we are all sat here desperate for a creative outlet, desperate to use our brains and be heard but no one is listening. Of course a lot of mums (or parents in general) are making a living from blogging, vlogging, writing mum books and numerous other things and of course everyone could try their hand at this but that isn’t the only answer. Flexible working is.
It sounds a bit ungrateful doesn’t it, wanting a job to fit in with my life and not the other way around. We are trained to believe from an early age that work is something not to be enjoyed, something that takes us away from our precious family time and takes over our lives. I am in a very fortunate position where I don’t need to work, but I do want to. I want to do something. My daughter now goes to nursery one and a half days a week (which I could increase if I were to get a job) and I would love to find something to stimulate my rapidly deteriorating brain. You can’t keep pouring from a cup that is empty and my cup mamas, is running dangerously low.
This isn’t just me moaning that mums (and dads) need better hours but that everyone needs more accommodating hours, including those without children. I am not saying LESS hours, I am saying BETTER hours. Everyone has a life outside of work and getting the balance right is so important. Surely if the work is getting done on a daily basis, does it matter exactly what time this is happening? Of course I appreciate that phones need to be manned at certain times and I understand the time constraints of deadlines but there is a way to make things better for everyone. It just needs someone to implement it.