Mama guilt – a dog called Bob

In case you missed the blahblah memo, I’ve started working full time, and with the change in routine I’ve developed a healthy dose of working-mother guilt. Before I was a mum full time, a wife full time, a freelance worker (so, somewhere between ‘every waking minute’ and ‘not at all’); and yet somehow I felt like half of nothing. Now I feel fulfilled, there is guilt for dessert. Almost like a woman with kids isn’t a proper mother unless she puts part of herself away and leaves it there until her kids give their blessing for her to go and retrieve it, many years later when it may no longer be there. I’m not saying this is how it is, just how I feel.

Where does our identity come from in our 30s when so much of our 20s is centred around a working persona? I’ve been wrangling with this for some time now, in my search for work satisfaction – be it part-time or freelance. The right job came along, but with it full time hours. I talked it over with the girls who are excited to go to before and after school care (so far…). It will mean a lot to me, personally, to have a separate identity outside the home again.

Even freelancing, my work in the home office was always without clear boundaries, with loads of washing here, pickups there, and hours that extended late into the night at my computer. My thoughts on working identity are a post for another day. Right now? This little worker bee is loaded up with guilt about how much I love being back at work in an office.

Sitting at my desk at 9 each morning feels so natural for me, it’s like I stepped back in time 10 years and misplaced a couple of kids along the way.

Working mother guilt. My new buddy, like a pet dog that lives in my handbag. We’ll call him Bob. Bob catches the train with me every day. He barked like an annoying MOFO when I missed the first infants’ sports carnival on Day 3. He made me buy lots of charity pens and daffodils on Daffodil Day, in case each seller at 200 m intervals in the city thought I hadn’t bought anything, since I purchased from the first schoolgirls I saw off the train that morning. (Does anyone else’s brain work this way?!)

Bob tells me going to the gym would be a selfish indulgence now I’m gone so much. Bob is probably letting my littlest get away with a bit more bad behaviour than usual, and a bit more clingy ‘mummy’ behaviour too, because, transition. Change. I did it to her. Stupid dog. Bob even tells me to eat Tim Tams in the office far too often, and I’m sure he’s the evil little bugger who arranged for my skin to breakout. That dog has powers. Powers to the nth arsehole degree.

 

My stupid mummy-guilt dog Bob. Ugly little shit.

My stupid mummy-guilt dog Bob. Ugly little shit.

I’d euthanase the dog, but I don’t need to. I just feed him a lovely barista-made coffee, a toilet break with a closed door and nobody yelling, and a healthy dose of work respect, and POOF! He’s gone. His stupid fluffy little head tucks back into the recesses of my handbag.

That’s right, people. I said RESPECT. That’s what’s been missing, and what I’ve found back at work. The jury’s still out, but it *may* be even more important than money.

Among the other perks, aside from a choice of coffee, respect, lunch breaks, shops, RESPECT and the knowledge that my brain won’t atrophy, is the train. My spoilt 20s-self thought the train was a hardship to be endured. Now it’s an uninterrupted 40 mins of quiet time, just for me, twice a day, when I couldn’t be doing washing or sweating it out in a Pump class even if I wanted to. Take THAT, Bob.

I’m excited about this new bend in the lane. Bob is a fluffy dog, small and manageable. I’ll turn him into a football at some point, when I’m ready to let him go.

Do you carry around a mother-guilt dog in your handbag? What do you feed him to shut him up? 

I’m ALIVE! Like Frankenstein

Like Frankenstein, I also have those plugs on my neck, but instead of screws they’re more like stress pimples. I have all the hotness.

I’m now a working girl, like Dolly Parton, back 9-5, making a living, but without the double-G rack. The boob part is an important detail too, because my balance in heels isn’t what it once was, and the balance-shifting qualities of Dolly’s chest would have me nose-to-pavement in a flash. I’m about to start moaning about Mondays, hooting about humpdays, and thank effing it’s Fridays like the rest of the train-commuting chain-gang.

Combine this guy...

Combine this guy…

With this girl... (Minus the rack), you get ME!

With this girl… (Minus the rack), you get ME!

I’ll tell you something else. It’s a secret, because it’s comes with a DELICIOUS dollop of guilt: I’m excited. I love working, and I already love this job. I miss my girls, and they miss me, but I’m there every night by baths and dinner. We’re hugging each other harder, too.

Do you remember why you started your blog? I remember.

I had a lull in my freelance work around September last year, and I was going crazy without work to pour my brain into. I needed an outlet to write, without locking myself into a room, away from my family, to attempt a book. Blogging seemed more social and bite-sized. Before I started, I’d never read a blog. I had no idea about the supportive and welcoming community, or the friendships to be made.

This blog sprog is not really a baby anymore, and I’ve had to think about his daycare now I’ve got such working time commitments, and time away from the girls. Before this job happened I’d thought about stopping, mainly because of guilt around commenting. I love to read blogs, but writing comments takes time, as you’d know if you’ve been doing this a while. I want to get back to commenting for the bursting need to say something about a post, rather than a feeling it’s a commitment that I just can’t manage. I won’t ever, ever leave a comment that says ‘Nice post. Good one’. So it takes time. It stopped me from writing, for a bit, because I knew I had no time in the following days for follow-up.

BUT I CAN’T STOP. I’LL BURST. If my first few days of public transport are any indication, I would also punch a commuter. Blogging is kind of my yoga. When I can’t get to yoga.

I still read, but it’s on a train, when people are bumping me (HUMANITY! ugh) and my iPhone eats my comments before they’re sent. I still want to write. But I don’t want anyone to feel they HAVE to leave a comment. Comment, don’t comment. (Though in the timeless words of Justine Clarke – I love it, I love it, I really really do.) Read, don’t read. I’ll just keep doing it because I have to write, and because I’ve met such wonderful people.

I’m going to write in the hope that I may not be struck by lightning and burned to ashes for being a blogging sinner, reminding myself that this IS a hobby. I’m fairly certain people who knit don’t throw their hands up and fling their scarves out the window because they’ve dropped one too many stitches and can’t handle the guilt or their inadequacy as a knitter. (Or maybe they do? I wouldn’t know. My scarves all come from online, in nice little online packages all tied up with metaphorical string.)

I’ll keep feeding the blog sprog when I can. I look forward to popping in to yours for a cuppa (or a wine) when our schedules next align.

xx

The best, the best, the best of me

I’ve got another confession to make. These words aren’t mine. Dave Grohl, Mr Foo Fighter God, you’ve called me out. Someone is getting the best, the best, the best, the best of me. Not in the way he thinks though. His jealousy is unwarranted. Grohly – I’m all yours.

I’m not entirely sure who that someone is yet. This week I’m in disk defrag mode, pulling all the bits apart and putting some bits back into the places where they should probably go… Hmmmm technical computer analogy not really working for this technomoron. In Face First speak, I’m trying to do THINGS, times MANY, and am only just pulling off little bits of little things. Kids, not yelling, sorting before and after school care, trotting off to interviews, and being PROFESSIONAL (ermergherd – wearing heels and smiling at the same time!! Don’t make me. I won’t.)

One of them is not blogging. I have about three draft posts glaring at me, saying ‘Hi! I’m in BITS! Will you please finish something?’ And I go back and yell at them ‘POSTS! Can’t you see I’m doing everything and my disk is being defragmented? Surely that means something to you since you live in a COMPUTER!? I will come back and complete you when the bits are in all the right places! And all the words are not being given to other people! OK?’ And they meekly agree that it sounds reasonable. Posts are good like that.

I won’t be writing my best post today, so I’m offering something from the past I quite liked. It’s long. Apologies. It was about a LONG DAY. (Bit like Stephen King’s The Long Walk). The future? There will be many, many words. Hopefully good ones, with all the bits in the right places.

‘Auspicious’ dates – heralding a load of crap?

The 12th of the 12th of 2012, what have you done for me lately? Apparently you were supposed to be some mystical karmic oooh-ahhh date of significance. All you brought me was a day of shitpoo.

I’m sorry I can’t express it more mature terms. I could try, but it would sound like ‘on this day of December, in the 12th year of the 21st century, I was arraigned with torrents of excrement, metaphorical in origin, which may or may not have been borne of a cosmic nature, heralding impending doom and the end of our time, or in fact may just have been another ordinary day worthy of flushing’. Utter rubbish.

So the Mayans stopped making their calendar. Maybe they just got bored. Seriously, if you just had to keep writing down numbers, over and over, wouldn’t you find something else to do and stop? Just because the calendar on your wall runs out at December 31, 2012, doesn’t mean there won’t BE a New Year’s Day. Of course there will be, full of headaches and regret. You just need to go down to Westfield and buy your 50% off 2013 calendar, as soon as your vision clears. It’s not the Mayans’ fault they didn’t have Westfield.

Source

This was my flushable day. It started with the dentist (again. If you want to see why this is AGAIN – see here). This is something of an ongoing saga for Little L, so some backstory: I hauled little L away from the last dentist who was about to extract the hurting tooth that had recently had baby root-canal, in the chair, telling me ‘every anaesthetic takes your child one step closer to the grave’ like she DIDN’T HAVE EARS. She was so traumatised from his treatment and ‘tap tap – yep I have to pull it out – here 5-year old girl, swallow a tablet goodbye’ I had to carry a sobbing child into this gorgeous children’s dentist last visit, while they gently coaxed her trust back. Too scared to be treated, we had to go back again today, while they did some safeguarding of some early decay on the top and had to put a filling in. Diabetes can TRASH your teeth. Who knew?! Not me.

Anyway, that done gently and nicely, we got on with the day. It went on in the usual as can be sometimes crappy fashion. Mini-fights, complaints, Mexican standoffs, whingeing etc. but then this afternoon playing up the road at a neighbour’s house WE LOST THEM. Little L and her friend took off out the front door which I hate them doing but they’ve done before to be cheeky, not telling us before they took off. I grabbed my bag and went to follow, knowing they are pretty careful when they cross our quiet road, but prepared for my ‘don’t do that!’ rant when we caught them up. We were chatting, saying goodbye while they had gone at 5-year old speed, so by the time we’d arrived in my front door and found nothing, and no answer, then raced back up the road to their place to see if they’d ducked around the back to trick us, hearts were pounding and parents were yelling. We were asking neighbours, yelling in the vacant lot, looking down the easement, and running breathless, of course thinking the worst… There have been reports before of cars trying to lure kids in the neighbourhood.
More frantic yelling, and they emerge, blessedly, sheepishly, from my house where they’ve been hiding in my bedroom. Hilarious. Starting to yell, instead we hug, so very relieved.

Recourse came later, and remorse, but little L’s remorse was extreme, and hysterical, with sobbing and screaming. Emotional outburst? Blood glucose check. Sure enough, she’s quite hypoglycaemic (very low blood sugar), and forgot (again) to mention she was feeling bad. Yay. Diabetes strikes again. Topping off a great day!

Just as she’s slowly climbing back towards the safe zone, above 4 and safe to leave unattended, a holler comes from the bathroom from little A: ‘muuuummmeeeeee the bath’s overflowing! Quick!’

Blessed I am. My cup overfloweth, as does my bath. The river in the bathroom was not too dire, and finally, all is peaceful as I lap my gin. I’m a spectacular human specimen today, and I’m high-fiving my superior and intelligent mothering skills. Not. Which is probably a good thing in light of what follows.

I watched a Stephen Hawking doco the other night suggesting that it would be a super-great idea (he didn’t use those words obviously, he’s a bit smart and sounds like a computer) if we looked for somewhere else to live other than Earth, what with the likelihood of it being smashed to smithereens by an asteroid, or being nuclear irradiated.  As he sensibly pointed out, INTELLIGENCE is not so important to survival, and may in fact be the key to our downfall. Amoeba and microbes have been getting by just fine for millions of years without intelligence, and yet dinosaurs with their tiny brains couldn’t make it through a little sauna time.

I think there’s something in this for all of us. Perhaps we need to get back to our petri-dishes of gin, and soak away our intelligence. Maybe then we’d stand a better chance of survival? I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on a red-hot life on Mars in a spacesuit, living in a bunker on dehydrated peas. As far as theories go, this is probably not quite SBS-standard, and I suspect Stephen Hawking may poke a couple of holes, but it’s good enough for me after today, and I’m off to soak it away with a tonic or three, splashing in gin.

xx

Is someone getting the best, the best, the best of you? 

Throwing myself on Rachel’s lounge at Theviblog today. You should too. It’s soft and comfy.

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Wednesday, bloody Wednesday

How was your day dear? Bloody, like mine? Did you get rejected for a job you really want, after getting down to the last two candidates? Did you make a gourmet dinner again, then have to whip up some tinned baked beans to get the small things to eat? Is your head thumping? Treat it to a bloody drink! It bloody deserves it.

While you’re at it, don’t get mad, get Mary. Wine is for wimps. Rum is for ruminators (the loud and bloody rowdy kind). Gin is for gimps. Get your grump into a big, hard, mean, spicy Bloody Mary.

Feeling grumpy? Have a bloody Bloody Mary then and stop your whinging.

Feeling grumpy? Have a bloody Bloody Mary then and stop your whinging.

This is how you do it, Face First style.

  • Pour vodka until somebody stops you
  • Ice is nice
  • Squeeze in a wedge of bloody lemon
  • Pepper and Salt
  • Celery bloody salt
  • A martha farking truckload of Tabasco
  • Lea and Perrins (YES fussy I am – it’s important) Woosta sauce: shake it till you should probably stop, then bloody shake it again
  • Top with tomato juice
  • When you think it’s all over, add a bit more Tabasco, just in case.

In case WHAT? I don’t bloody know! Stop asking me questions! Don’t you know I’m bad in interviews?

The good news for tomorrow is you can’t drink too many of these bloody things before you get full. Now you’ll have to move on to wine. You bloody wimp.

Tomorrow is another day. With pilates in it. Peace out, man. Yo.

xx

A tale of woe and customer service

Happy nearly Friday Loungers! Here’s a funny story for you. I’m actually, truly, so snowed with work I’ve gone and delved into the Face First archives for a delightful story of work hell for you this week.
Upon reflection, I’m SO VERY grateful to be snuggled up at my desk under a pile of paper in my ugg boots. Getting older can be a beautiful thing.

A bit what I look like right now, except not quite so much like a sheep.

I am doing great big leapy happy jumps of YAY to be hit up with an unrealistic deadline next week, because it means I am WORKING and working HARD. There’s nothing I love better. (OK – that’s kind of rubbish …  I can’t drink wine at the same time, so that kind of sux, and there are other things, like holidays and cocktails and swimming and reading in the sun and being on boats …) Anyway. Digressing. Working is pretty great.

The little trickle of opportunity is starting to flow again, and I’m feeling like hugging the world, I’m so grateful. Freelance work is such a capricious beast, it’s a bit like a Christmas present whenever a work offer pops up in your inbox.

This means I will be leaving you sad and lonely next week while I stick my bum in the air (and wave it around like I just don’t care … sorry. Sometimes my brain to keyboard filter needs a really big SMACK.) So don’t forget me.

Meanwhile, this lull has given me pause to reflect on the less savoury jobs I’ve had in my life. Strangely enough, most of them have been centred around customer service. From this we’ll conclude that I generally suck at people. Don’t argue with me. I do.

Job 1. Charcoal chicken shop. Time of employment: 3.25 hours

Do you have any idea how HOT it is in a chicken shop? Do you have any idea how heavy a rack of chickens is when they’re all raw, before they load them up onto the rack for roasting? Neither did I. My poor little flimsy 15-year old arms couldn’t quite cope, and I dropped the whole pole of pale wrinkly little squidgy smelly chickens into the ash and coals, covering them in black dust and turning myself into some kind of camouflaged warpainted black-faced child, complete with sweat streaks and bright white eyes of terror. The evil demented shop owner tried to get out of paying me my $17 for the days’ work, given I had cost him a rack of chickens. My dad went and yelled at him though. He showed him. Bastard.

 

Don’t they look cute and cosy all snuggled up together over the fire?

Job 2. Checkout chick. Time of employment: 1 year – 4 hrs per week = $20

Wow. I said WOW. Can you even believe the cash I was raking in? I trotted up to the local IGA two afternoons after school each week, to earn the princely sum of $20. There was a girl who worked there full-time, and we used to glare at each other in mutual disrespect, because I refused to take her lectures on the importance of the job seriously. Eventually I got into trouble because I couldn’t say no to selling whipped cream bulbs to all the local school boys who came in. How could I? They were cute! I pretended I had NO idea they weren’t using them to help their dear mothers bake cakes.

Useful for dispensing cream and …. ??

 

 Job 3. Pizza Hut call centre: Time of employment – 18 months

This was possibly the worst of the lot. I’ve never been abused or sworn at so much in my life as I have over pizza. And, as I’m pretty good and bad with confrontation at the same time, I never managed to deal with it properly. We were supposed to put them straight through to the managers, but because that’s exactly what these losers wanted; ‘My pizza’s late. Put me through to the manager’, that’s exactly what I refused to do. Oops. I was very cold and polite and tried to sort it out for them, but HATED the disrespect from people over pizza. I can recall on more than one occasion saying ‘Dude – it’s a PIZZA. Stop swearing at me.’ I’d be stubborn and pigheaded with them on the phone, but when I hung up I was usually shaking. When I eventually got really jaded by the job I’d just wait long enough until they swore, and then I’d hang up on them. I was allowed to do that. When someone asked if I was interested in applying for any Supervisor roles I said HELL NO – they ONLY get to talk to all the sweary angry people, all day. Like I said, me and people. Not a great combination.

This actually exists in the UK. Want to watch me vomit and die of heart failure at the same time??

Job 4. Black Stump – waitressing: Time of employment – 18 months? 

We had fun here – ‘At the Slack Dump, we’re Famous for our mistakes.’ I was a waitress,  my brother was a waiter, and my then boyfriend worked behind the bar. There was a good crowd of people there for a while and we did plenty of time at the pub after closing time. We were united by our horror at the appalling quality of the food we served at unnecessarily high prices. It was a good place for old people who wanted a ‘home-cooked’ style meal with their (frozen and boiled) corn on the cob, jacket potato, steak (generally overcooked and left to dry out on the bain marie) and cookie-cutter peas and carrots, but otherwise, we couldn’t really understand why people would come. But come they did, and the tips were GREAT. I was a pretty good waitress, and I banked all my pay and just lived off the tips. I went to a 21st one night at the last minute in my ‘Famous’ shirt – a black polo with big ugly orange lettering splashed across the chest (with additional splatters of sour cream). It was an awesome party, but you’ll be surprised to hear I did not pick up that night.

My next job was in publishing while I was still studying at uni, and I thought it was AWESOME to be going off to a proper desk while all my friends were trying not to get bailed up at service stations each night. I had officially arrived in GROWN-UP LAND.

What was your worst job ever? Does customer service really suck, or am I just a princess?

Come and take a seat in The Lounge. Add your link below. Tell us about your work tales of woe.

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Mumbot Version 2.0 – a work in progress

This is not me. This is, in fact, Nicole Kidman. Doing the acting.

Disappointing as it may be to That Man, there will never be anything Stepford about me. I can bake, but I don’t do it recreationally. I love to cook, but I don’t do it to impress work colleagues. I can dance, but I don’t do it sober in a floral frock. And pearls? I like them black.

I wrote last year about my immense frustration with being at home, and the fact I’d thoroughly misplaced my patience. Sadly this is not a victory post. In fact, today I’m dangerously close to taking myself off for some ‘Time out’ in the sandpit to try and breathe and feel some sand between my toes. It’s about as close to the beach and some ‘me time’ as I’m likely to get. HOWEVER – I think I may have found, if not the patience, then some trick around it. BALANCE. Or some approximation of it, anyway.

There are two invisible kids sitting on the heavy side. Can you see them?

For me, that balance is work. I’ve been working two days per week in the office, doing work I love, for about a month or so now. My permanence hasn’t been confirmed so I’m a bit hesitant about declaring the work drought over, though I’m super-optimistic and feeling less like a citrus-fruit than I was around October last year.

Today, as a home day, has been a TOUGH DAY. Often they’re not, and we hang out and are chilled and relaxed and play together nicely. Yes! I know how to share! This is not that day, however. Keeping me going is the promise of a cappuccino, a desk, and air-conditioning tomorrow. Little A, my pocket rocket, has today drawn with biro on the white wardrobe (‘couldn’t find any paper mum’), put lipstick on the dog, taken 15 minutes to go to the toilet at the gym with the ‘engaged’ lock on the door and me outside, then had a fight with me about seatbelts. Oh, and hurt herself 3 times (falling off things, getting feet stuck in things), and spilt 2 cups of water. It’s only 4pm. I’m so tense I could scream, and with much guilt, I admit I have been. Revision: 5 minutes later – I have just found her in the bathroom lathered in Lucas’ pawpaw cream and water, over her face, arms, hands and hair. WHHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! Attention? Me going to work? Maybe I should be sitting with her and a book or playing, but we are both so mad at each other we need a little space right now. Tomorrow is a fresh start and we had a chat and makeup cuddles at bed.

I’m relieved to be going to work tomorrow. People listen to me there, and say ‘thank you’, and suggest I go and make myself a cup of coffee before we do some work. I sit and eat lunch in a courtyard garden, and read my Kindle on the train, and wear nice clothes, and get PAID to do these things. The best part of all is, I miss my girls, and I kiss their little faces all over when I come home, and look forward to playing with them all the next day. Work 5 days? That’s hard. Two days? That feels like balance, and like fake patience, because it makes me fresh for the girls twice each week. It also feels selfish, but I’ve almost convinced myself it’s part of making me a better mother. Plus, money.

This Mumbot Version 2.0 I’m working on? There’s nothing Stepford about it. Like that Vegemite Version 2.0 (Cheesymite?) they brought out a year or so ago and had trouble naming, I’m a work-in-progress. There’s a slower, more planned and organised way I’d like to deal with and respond to the girls, without the heights of emotion and the urgency of being late. Now, if only I can get the littlest family member to play along …

xx

About soap, boxes and part-time work.

This is a long one … but bear with me if you can cos I’m standing (rarely) on a box made of soap. It will turn into bubbles again before too long. Also, sorry for swearing. For it seems that the word ‘part-time’ in our capitalist-driven culture is something of a dirty word.

I’ve been in the enviable position of freelancing from home on the days my girls have been in childcare, flat-out without a work lull for the past five years. With the economic downturn hitting my end of the food-chain post-July this year, I’ve realised how finding a part-time job in your professional field is like having Harrison Ford drop by and pop the holy grail in your letterbox.

‘Here honey – here’s your holy grail, with a part-time job sprinkled on top for added flavour.’

I know I’m whingeing. These jobs do exist, and there are flexible and fantastic employers out there. It’s just that maybe 10% of the awesome jobs I find advertised will consider part-time or contract arrangements. The competition for those roles is always fierce. As an editor and writer, rather than a firefighter or butcher, I find that a bit rigid, given that words work the same way no matter where I sit.

That sounds a little simplistic, I realise, and I do understand the employer’s perspective. I’ve been on the hiring side, and there’s less cohesion in having part-time or job-share arrangements, or situations where employees telecommute. They’re at times not on hand for last-minute meetings, or to take care of urgent work that needs a same-day turnaround if they’re only in Tuesdays and Thursdays. The reality is though, that retaining skilled staff and keeping them happy is difficult, and being a better scheduled and organised manager to facilitate such arrangements will likely produce the reward of loyal and hardworking staff.

Study results published in the SMH last week showed that 25 hours spent working from home is equivalent to 40 hours spent working in the office. I’d believe it, given the kind of possessed demon I am when at home working. I don’t take breaks, or Internet surf, or talk on the phone. I just power on through, because otherwise it’s my own sleep and TV time I’m eating into.

Encouragingly, the government is running a campaign launching this month, aiming to increase the number of teleworkers to 12% by 2020 which should improve the situation, theoretically, for workers physically unable to travel to work. It’s being backed by the PM also committing today to having 12% of public servants working from home. Figures from Michelle Grattan’s article today suggest “telework will deliver an extra $3.2 billion a year to GDP by 2020-21 and the equivalent of an extra 25,000 full-time jobs”.
It’s a good plan – less road congestion, better productivity, entry of previously excluded people to the workforce. However, it’s not going to have much effect if attitudes don’t change at management level.

As a society, we need to work smarter and harder, not longer, but acceptance of that needs to happen at a cultural level. There’s a perception in the top-tier accounting and law firms that as a grad employee it’s vital to be seen to be putting in the time. Whether or not you’re actually sitting at your desk playing solitaire until 9 pm is irrelevant, as long as your bum’s in that seat. These are the people that go on to make partner then hire the next generation of graduates. What a ridiculous system. I glad I jumped the law shark early, straight after uni.

Bum in seat = high-performer

I used to work in a full-time role where I was playfully jibbed with digs of ‘part-timer!’ if I left for my 1.5 hour commute at 5:30 too often. This was my first job, and my initiation into the culture of how much we valued the working mother. The few mums we had were an annoying 0.2 or 0.3 ‘head’ usually suffered if the team leader wasn’t allocated the resources of a ‘whole head’. They were handed the crap work nobody else wanted, because they had no leverage to complain. They were also no fun, mainly because they put their heads down and worked their arses off till it was time for afternoon pickup.

I’m a mum, and I’m proud of that. BUT I’m a person who spent a lot of time being educated, loves the challenge of work, and gets a buzz out of finishing something (you know, other than a load of washing. Blegh). Why did I do all that if I have to now go and earn money making sandwiches or in customer service? It’s not my forte – I’m not very good at ‘people’, particularly demanding ones. I get all sweary. Luckily I’m in the position of being able to wait and apply for one, maybe two jobs a month and wait for the right one, rather than having to take the only available part-time work because I need immediate income. Not everybody can, and I really feel for those women and hope they hold out hope for a job that feeds their self-respect and their professional dreams while they pay the bills.

Damn you L’Oreal, for turning a tagline into Kleenex.

Why do we deserve part time work? Because we’re L’Oreal. A part-time worker is usually a good worker. We’re not there to talk about our kids. In fact – we’d rather not. We’re there for a little ‘working holiday’. We work hard because we have a limited number of hours in which to get the job done, because kids don’t understand about ‘staying back’. We ARE fun. In fact, if you take us out for work drinks, we will probably party like it’s 2009. Just kick us when it’s time to back away from the tequila bottle. In a job-share you get two sets of ideas for the price of one, and two freshly energised people within the one working week, instead of one burnt out employee desperate for the weekend by Thursday morning. Telecommuting means you’ll get an extra two hours’ of productivity out of your person each day, working the time they’d otherwise spend swearing and singing GaGa songs in traffic. They arrive at their desk fresh and caffeinated in their best trackies and ugh boots, rather than stressed and frazzled, too late to grab any coffee till they waste 20 minutes ducking out for one at 10:30.

We are awesome. Hire us.
xx