Article by Gillian Dunphy (Recruitment Consultant)
As we approach Mother’s Day, it’s got me thinking about how things have changed over the years.
In my mother’s day women were expected to stay at home and look after the children, the house and the husband. There were even books written on the subject about how to be the perfect wife and mother. Check out the 1955 guide for women on “How to be a good wife”, for a laugh, or some tips, which ever takes your fancy!
Now, however, we are expected to have careers, make just as much money as men, raise our families, look after our fabulous homes (that we can’t really afford), stay fit and healthy and not turn into a complete raving lunatic in the meantime!
But is this realistic? Does this rare breed exist? The elusive “Supermom”?
It’s a jungle out there and I’m not sure this species exists.
Our jungle is made up of single mothers, mothers that choose to do it alone, mothers that are dealing with difficulties both financially and emotionally, mothers with support, mothers without support, mothers with sick children and mothers who are sick themselves.
Mothers doing their best whilst all the time under pressure from social media to compete with the latest Instagram “influencer” sporting a model physique, accessorised by beautifully groomed and well behaved children, living on a diet of poached eggs and avocado toast.
Personally, I don’t know about you but I’m lucky if I get us all up dressed and out of the house in time for school and work each morning, wearing matching shoes (not wearing breakfast) and with the correct list of books, gear, food, drinks, gadgets.
I’m lucky if I keep the kids fed and the pets alive (and often the other way round). I’m lucky if I get through the working day and the work I need to do without shouting at anyone or trying to cut up their food, albeit fueled by copious amounts of coffee.
I work in the recruitment industry and while I love this business, it can be highly challenging and frustrating. However, it can be highly rewarding and I love the constant interaction with with so many different people and getting to know their personalities. We are all different and need to be treated accordingly. As recruiters we try to understand the person, where they are coming from, what their needs are and of course, what are their fears.
In this business, I understand when a mother is considering a job move. She is doing it for so many more reasons than money.
She is doing it to give her family a better life and she needs to consider so many factors in the process. Will it fit with childcare/school runs/school holidays? Does it give her career progression so that she feels valued and rewarded – but not too much that she will never see her family ever again? Will she be paid enough, and her value rewarded? Will she be listened to and her opinion considered? Will she be enough?
And then there’s the guilt. Don’t get me started on the guilt…. I think it’s the biggest and most underlying emotion that every mother feels at the end of every day. Did I do enough today? Am I failing my children? Am I failing my job? Can I do it all tomorrow?
You know what? We can. All we have to do is believe in ourselves.
So what, if we might shed a tear or two in the toilet some days thinking it can’t be done?
So what if we feed the kids beans on toast and let them stay up late just to keep them happy and sane?
So what if we don’t please everyone every day at work or get all the top promotions?
Every day we try our best. We do it because we are mothers and we work hard because we love our kids. And at the end of the day that’s all that they want from us.
So to all mothers this Mothers Day: YOU ARE AMAZING. Every one of you. Remember the people we choose to surround ourselves with make all the difference in surviving working motherhood.
So straighten your crowns ladies and keep on going, and going… Remember a mothers work is never done.
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