(yes I'm a bit late again with this one)
Today's blog challenge was to pick a song for the post title. I had no idea where I was going to go with this until I realised that E's current favourite song actually fits nicely with a post I've had in my head for a while.
A post about going back to work.
M is now seven months old so I can feel the end of maternity leave looming into view. Not going back just isn't an option for us, and it does make me rather proud when E says "Mummy does science!". I love that in her mind, scientists are perfectly normal looking women, not crazy haired men bent on evil conspiracies. I hope that both my daughters will grow up thinking they can do any job they choose, get to any level, so long as they work hard enough for it. Except that, increasingly, I don't really believe that and a little part of me worries that I'm setting them up for a fall.
Put simply, if I worked the same hours my husband does, we couldn't cope. One of us has to make compromises, and because he earns far more than I do, it has to be me. Without 24/7 childcare there needs to be one of us who can leave early at short notice, run out in the middle of the day when nursery calls, or take the following two days off to watch Cbeebies with a bucket. Essential for a parent, not great for an employee.
I'm very lucky to have been able to stay in my job but work part time since having E. The down side is that it's always the interesting stuff and the things that could help progress my own career that get shunted out. So promotion is unlikely and anyway, being part time wouldn't be desirable for those jobs. So I find myself static, doing the same thing I've been doing for the last decade. Going elsewhere isn't an option either, turning a full time job into a part time one is pretty rare, finding a part time professional job is all but impossible in many fields.
Perhaps I'm fretting about this because I have a birthday looming. I'm really a very grown up age now and I feel I should have achieved more. But for many families something has to give. Someone has to accept that they can't have the career, or get to the level, that they want and in most (although by no means all) cases that's the woman. Ultimately it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. The kids are worth it a million times over and of course I get to spend far more time with them than my husband does, stuck at his desk or in late running meetings. I also know that I'll be glad to be back talking science not nappies, even just having twenty, uninterrupted minutes to read a book on a crowded commuter train will be a treat. In the grand scheme of things, not achieving my full potential at work isn't the end of the world. I have a heck of a lot really, I just somehow need to stopping feeling under pressure to have it all.
PS. In an attempt to end on a cheerier note and in case you were wondering how come E's favourite song is Under Pressure - take a look at this clip from Happy Feet 2: