I try to live and let live, but then every so often my choices and my integrity – or those of my loved ones – are called into disrepute either directly or indirectly, and I have no choice but to use my voice, my excellent grasp of grammar, and my redheaded fiery nature, to scream back at the perpetrators.
I wasn’t going to write a response to Kelly Brook’s stupid comments, but then I saw Samantha Brick’s wholehearted support for them and got a bit riled all over again.
Why? Well because having just dropped my two children off at nursery, I now have exactly 3 hours in which to sort out an order that’s gone awry thanks to a supplier stopping trading and neglecting to tell me, package up orders from yesterday, drive 7 miles to the post office to send them, walk to the sorting office to collect a delivery of boxes for my gift sets, put cheques in the bank, do some work on the website, publish a sponsored blog post (which some would then determine makes me a sell-out because they don’t seem to grasp the fact that it’s fine to earn a living from a blog you work your arse off to maintain), chase unpaid invoices, tidy the house, film some videos, and do some AdWords training so that I can attempt to boost my shop’s visibility when I have no marketing budget to hire an agency to do all this stuff for me so that I can focus on what I’m actually good at.
Then I have to pick Toby up from nursery 6 miles away and take him to school 3.5 miles away for a settling in session. That gives me 1 hour 45 minutes minus travelling time to catch up on my emails, write some more blog posts, buy milk, and respond to messages on social media. I then have to pick Toby up at 3:15, drive back to nursery to get Martha, home for 4:15, cook supper while breaking up their inevitable post-nursery/school tired and grumpy sibling fights, bribe them to eat their food before they can choose a film, break up a fight over which film to watch, then keep half an eye on them while scheduling content to go out over the rest of the week, check for new orders, hang out the day’s laundry and put a new load on, then get PJs out ready for the nightly bedtime fight.
You know what I was doing last year? All of the above, but while working 9-5:30 Monday to Friday, with the children in nursery 7:45-6, and being chastised by the likes of Kelly and Samantha for not being at my desk at least 15 minutes BEFORE my contracted start time. Short of dumping my children outside of a closed nursery and hoping they didn’t leg it across the farm and into the nearest tractor before any staff arrived, I had no choice but to do the up to 1 hour commute in a 45 minute time window, while praying that there wouldn’t either be a crash that held me up even more, or be involved in a crash myself, as was a close call on too many occasions to think about.
I suggested changing my hours by just 15 minutes to give me extra time – and no Kelly and Samantha that didn’t mean working 25 minutes less than my non-parent colleagues, it meant working until 15 minutes after they all left. This was denied. I suggested I work from home once a week and did a longer day, enabling me to do slightly shorter days the rest of the week. This was denied.
So you know what I did? I quit. I walked away and I made it my mission to not only make my wonderful business a huge success, but to do whatever I could to give parents the skills, confidence, and respect they bloody well deserve, in order to balance careers and parenthood.
People like you two, Kelly and Samantha, are pissing all over that and quite frankly you’re poison.
I can guarantee to you that NO parent wants to have to take time off unless they have to. No parent wants their child to be ill, no parent wants to have to take a few days off in the knowledge that when they return their workload will have doubled. No parent wants to feel less of a valuable employee because they chose to procreate and were fortunate enough to be able to do so. I can also guarantee that most parents will risk destroying their own health and wellbeing by striving to be everything to everyone. They will skip meals, they will work until late in the night, they will work when they’re ill, they will offer a hundred flexible ways to do things in order to juggle every single one of their responsibilities and you know something? They are absolute bloody heroes.
You two seem to think that women should choose between motherhood and careers, as if it’s that simple!
- “Screw the years of work and thousands of pounds I spent getting a degree, I’m a mum now”
- “Never mind that my mental health is suffering because I find motherhood so damn hard that I need some ‘me’ between cleaning poo off of clothes and wiping snotty noses”
- “Forget the fact that without my wage we can barely afford to feed the family – nutrition is so overrated!”
Many women have to work, whether it’s to pay the bills or to save their sanity, so don’t you dare demonise them.
My husband works full time, has flexible hours to enable him to attend school meetings and the such, has worked from home while a poorly child sleeps next to him on the sofa; he does a very demanding job and he does it really well, while having the flexibility to be a father too. Is he on the receiving end of these bullshit comments about being a working dad? Of course not, and nor should he be.
Women who drag other women through the dirt are more of a problem in our society than mums who work, of that I am sure. Samantha Brick openly says in her article that she will not hire mums in top positions and that is disgraceful. She should be ashamed of being an active participant in causing the huge gender pay gap, of discrimination, sexism, of being a vile cretin who I am ashamed to share the same gender as.
If the fire was already lit in my belly, it’s now an inferno. I will do everything in my power to help break down this attitude, to empower all parents to be whatever they choose to be, and to train those who choose to take a step into the digital world in which I work. I will create child-friendly workshops through Apples & Pips so that parents who are at home with their mini humans can come and gain skills while knowing that their little ones are being professionally cared for in the next room. I will provide work experience opportunities and apprenticeships that are as flexible as this digital age allows.
The excuses for inflexibility are getting weaker and weaker and I want to be a part of the movement to prove that not only can parents raise children, but they can do so while breaking glass ceilings and using the shards to slash prejudices and carve a new set of rules that give equal opportunities to everyone.
Let’s all be pissed off at the airtime given to these idiots, and let’s use that anger to effect change.