First of all, I’d like to really apologise for posting this blog so late in the day [I’m starting to write this at approx 23.59GMT] I went to visit my mom-in-law thinking I would be able to use her computer to write this post only to find that her computer wasn’t actually working. As you can tell by the title, this is kind of a mummy blog but even if you’re not a mum – don’t switch off on me because I’m sure you will be one day. I’ve been having conversations with some other mums that I’m around and realised that the main desire, despite what any of us were doing before, is to stay at home with our kids, and it made me wonder. If that’s the status quo amongst my group of friends, how many other mothers are suffering in silence working a 9-5?
I explained briefly in the about me page that my motivation for climbing into the world of blogging and youtube was so I could:
1. DO something with my creative talent. I’m not the greatest at anything I do but I love to read and write and I genuinely love fashion and all things creative
2. SO I could hopefully make a living out of it to ensure that I could stay at home with my children
That said, my mentality was not always this way.
I had my first son at nineteen and the stigma that came along with that was unshakeable. I felt like I had failed myself, my mum and the child that I hadn’t even met yet. I remember when I told my mum about the baby. Although I didn’t necessarily want to keep it, I had already made up my mind that I was going to go through with the pregnancy because the idea of abortion was just too inhumane for me. I can understand how she may have felt at the time but literally, all she could talk about was my education. ‘What about college?’, ‘What about uni?’, ‘You’ve still got a a long way to go’, and it wasn’t just coming from her, I felt like I was getting it from all angles. I even beat up myself.
Prior to becoming a teenage mum, I had always looked at other girls in my age group with disdain, so the same critisicing and judgemental attitude I had towards them, I applied to myself.
Anyway, I’ll go into more details about that another time but what I really wanted to get at was that, because of all this pressure I was feeling from outside and within, I felt that I needed to prove myself. That I wasn’t just a teenage mum. That I still had goals and aspirations.
My son was born in July of 2008 and I started my ‘working mom life’ when I went back to college literally two months later in September. At the time it was so hard. I was sitting in the classroom secretly chuffed with myself that I had made it but secretly longing to be with my little boy. Looking back now I think I was crazy. It wouldn’t have killed me to wait a year but I felt I had something to prove.
It goes without saying that I didn’t do well or even pass the course that I had started because it was overwhelming. Art and design courses are no joke. Writing an essay is one thing but imagine having to think of and draw 100 different designs at a time based on a single concept. It is sooo time consuming. A commodity that I didn’t readily have. I can’t blame it all on my responsibilities because there were other factors that contributed to my failure – like alcohol and non stop raving but that’s another blog for another day. What I will say though, was that all of that external behaviour was a manifestation of what I was feeling inside.
Anyway, fast forward a few years and I remember receiving an email from a company I was subscribed to called Fashion Enter. It was a call for the first apprentices at ASOS.com. I remember reading the email and almost casting it to one side because I had told myself, if anyone would get it it definately wouldn’t be me. The competition would be way too high – but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I remember reading the email again and again. By this time I had given my life to CHRIST so everything was different at this time and I couldn’t help but think, should I just step out in faith?…
Upon leaving ASOS, I worked with the likes of Allsaints, Marks and Spencer, Whistles, Ted Baker, New Look and Topshop. People always tell me I have an enviable CV, but noone understands the struggles I went through to do these jobs. I feel like each job had it’s own challenges.
The second time round at Allsaints I was placed in the role of a Junior Garment Technician on a whole department because the main technician was signed off sick for a few months. I always say being thrown in at the deep end gave me the most experience, but there was so much work to do, I would either leave the office at crazy hours like 8pm or literally take some of the work home and stay up all night and do it. That said, I loved that job so much I really didn’t want to leave but I felt so much pressure at the fact that I was hardly seeing or spending time with Kae.
Not to go through every job experience because this post is already becoming quite long but at one of the above jobs I mentioned, I remember having THE worst experience. At this point, I was married so secretly I felt even more pressure to get home and be a wife but overall, the experience was horrible because I felt like my manager demonised me if I ever had to leave work or was unable to come in because of an emergency. I’ve never known anything like it. I remember very early on in the job – maybe the first week I had started. I was called home from Kae’s school to say that he had some sort of vomiting episode and would have to be home for two days whilst he was still infectious. I was so scared to tell my manager because already I had experienced the kind of person she was and the reaction she would have but I had no choice. This was the school’s procedure. Then I remember a few weeks after that me falling ill myself. You would have thought I had been caught stealing from the office, because on my return, one day – and I hadn’t even fully got myself together yet, she called a meeting with herself and my supervisor and she explained to me that it was kind of a stage one meeting because of my absences and lateness. OK hold up – lateness?
I get into the office at 8.50am and I start at 9am so how on earth am I ever late? Not only that but I explained to her at my interview that I had to drop Kae to breakfast club in the morning and that there is only one train I can catch between then and 8am to get me there for 8.50am. If I miss that train I would get there for 9.15 or maybe even 20. So everyday, I would literally sprint to the station from the bus stop and sprint to work from the station – and here she was telling me I was being reprimanded for being late. Apparently – the work ethic of that particular place was that if you are really serious about your job you’ll be there half an hour earlier – working and not leave exactly on time. I was mortified and I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes making my face hot. I had wanted this job for as long as I could remember and I was killing myself day in day out just to get there and back home – tired, to start my other duties and I felt like she was rubbishing all my efforts to my face.
This went on for the whole time I was there and I remember not long after me starting the job, I began to hate it. I dreaded getting up in the morning, I dreaded seeing my manager’s face, hearing her snide remarks and comments, and the judgements that I wasn’t serious about the job because I had no choice as a parent to take days off to look after my child. It was getting me so down even my husband advised me to quit.
I had taken a 6K pay cut just to work at this place – that’s how much I wanted it and after just a few short weeks I realised I had made a mistake.
I do not believe that any woman, no matter what role she’s working in a company, should ever feel demonised about her responsibilities as a parent. For me, it was difficult but for the first time ever, I made the decision to quit and I have never felt so liberated to leave a job.
I’ve spoken alot already and I don’t even feel like I’ve said all I have to say – but really. If you’re a working mum going through the same experiences or maybe the same emotions just ask yourself. At the end of your life, what would you be happier with? The job roles you had or spending time with your kids? – actually teaching them and helping them grow up. One thing I realised when I was working that horrible job was that GOD forbid, if I was to die, despite all the fuss she was making about me taking a few days off for Kae, they would just get up and replace me, just like that. The welfare of my child means nothing to her, the success of my marriage means nothing to her and my mental or emotional health, unless it’s affecting my work means nothing to her. Why sacrifice so much of myself and my wellbeing for a paycheck? Life is so much richer than that and when I say rich I mean in people. It’s the people you love and care about that make life worth living.
Now don’t get me wrong, I know in this day and age especially money is a big factor. Bills are high, rents are high and the price of basic food and clothing are inflating – but weigh up the cost. Who is really winning or losing in your 9-5 situation at the moment? If it’s you and your kids then you need to make changes because truth is tomorrow is not promised to anyone. If the worst should happen, your kids won’t be reading a speech documenting all your work achievements. They’ll be reminiscing on time spent with you.
This is such a major subject for me so I’ll probably come back to it and deal with different parts of it but overall – If your heart’s desire is to be a full time mum, do whatever you can to make it happen and you won’t regret it.