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Working mums get all the shit and end up with no career

(438 Posts)
farewellfigure Wed 29-Apr-15 12:27:08

Hi. I really don't know if I've just a bee in my bonnet or whether workplaces in general really are unfair and women get such a raw deal. It's all very emotional at the moment as our department has just announced that 2 out of 10 of us will be made redundant in the next month. I'm applying for an admin/assistant role in my DS's school and I really hope I get it. I'm actually really excited but I can't help pondering over the fact I will become the cliché of a career woman who has to give it all up.

Anyway, at work, there are 3 designers who are part time, and 2 part time writers. We are all mums who had careers... we were managers, department heads etc. Then we had babies and came back part time and weren't allowed to be managers any more. And how about the men we used to manage whose wives had babies? They are now managers, department heads etc. It drives me NUTS. In DS's school, there are so many mums who had careers, and are now dinner ladies, TAs, admin assistants etc, it's just not funny. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those jobs whatsoever. But it just seems so unfair to me. I know having children is a choice, and I chose to do it. And I chose to go back part time. Yes... all my choices because I actually wanted to see my DS a bit every day and have a relationship with him. But basically I waved good bye to my career and now it looks like I'll have to wave good bye to the job as well.

There are 2 young women in the office who will probably get to keep their jobs when the redundancies come because they are young and full time and 'fresh'. WIBU to say to them, 'When your time comes, and you choose to have babies, come back full time. Put your DCs in nursery all day every day and keep your management roles. Otherwise you can kiss good bye to your high-flying careers and do what all the other overlooked mums end up doing'. Bitter? Me? Just a wee bit. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts and maybe a bit of perspective! And I'm giving myself a biscuit. Is that allowed?

Reginafalangie Wed 29-Apr-15 12:37:11

Isn't it a choice to give up the full time career?

My exh went back part time after my mat leave as I returned to full time. He was faced with a lower position and obviously lower pay as his job was not doable on a part time basis.

Surely it is not about being a women but more about choosing to be the one who goes back part time and becomes the main carer?

PtolemysNeedle Wed 29-Apr-15 12:42:54

Maybe lots of the mums that had careers and are now working in schools are happy with that arrangement. You are possibly projecting your own feelings onto other people's happy situations, although if you are choosing to do the same and you really want a school job too, I'm not seeing what your problem is.

A lot of women do give up careers, but personally, I feel lucky that I've been able to do that and I can work shorter hours for less money in exchange for time with the children I chose to have and want to bring up.

The key thing is choice. If people want to have a full time high flying career as well as having lost of time with their children, then they are expecting too much. There are only so many hours in a day. But I don't see that it has to be a bad thing that we can't have it all, I think it means we need to get our expectations in check and choose our priorities. People don't have to have children if they would rather concentrate on a career, and that's just fine.

farewellfigure Wed 29-Apr-15 12:46:17

Yes, you're probably right. It just makes me cringe to see the absolute cliché of an ex career woman taking on a part-time local job. When we were all late twenties, the women had all the top jobs because we deserved them. Because we worked bloody hard and were more mature and did a better job. The men were all out drinking most nights, living the high-life making mistakes at work, and generally dicking around. Then we came back from maternity leave and the blokes had all become fathers, matured, and had the management roles. OK so it's a bit of a generalisation but where I work at least, it's pretty much accurate. I guess if the blokes had decided to be SAHDs then it would be the other way around.

Jackieharris Wed 29-Apr-15 12:47:18

Agree op.

I think more young women need to be warned well in advance about the dilemma they will face when they have dcs. A lot of women seem to be blind sighted by it.

I wanted to and was successful at working full time (35hrs, mf 9-5) with a young dc. I was still later made redundant after mat leave with my second. People now expect me to want a 'mummy track' pt job (not career) and it really pisses me off!!

I don't see why I shouldn't work ft when 95% of fathers work ft. No one tells them they are abandoning their dcs!

I calculated I spent 50 hours pwk one to one time with dc1 when I was working ft. That's hardly never seeing them!

It's shit and it's sexist.

I really hope things have drastically changed by the time my dd is my age. I don't want to see all her education wasted and her unhappily stuck at home just because she's capable of gestating a child!

Wishful80smontage Wed 29-Apr-15 12:47:26

When I returned after mat leave I was treated differently I was passed over when plum training or project opportunities came up and it made me very fed up and actually stressed due to all the politics in my office.
I'm lucky enough that voluntary redundancy has come up for me at a good time and the package is enough for me to have a couple years off and retrain but if not I would have continued to be unhappy in my role.
Think its awful actually that as soon as you have a child you are treated differently in some jobs especially when people don't have many options available - flexi- hours, affordable childcare etc. There are enough barriers to returning to work without the extra flack you get for trying to find a balance between work and a family.

Jackieharris Wed 29-Apr-15 12:49:07

People don't have to have children if they would rather concentrate on a career, and that's just fine.

Tell that to the men!

Men get both.

thecatfromjapan Wed 29-Apr-15 12:50:10


And we need to talk about it more - in visible places - because the story out there is that things have never been so good for women. And it's all down to choice.

It isn't.

It's actually really quite crap.

shewept Wed 29-Apr-15 12:52:18

I kept my career on track and had kids. But I stayed ft. It's about choices.

I think the main problem isn't about being a woman or a mother. It's about being part time. Many jobs can't be done pt but also a lot of pt staff are overlooked.

Men who are pt experience the same, in the environments i have worked in.

Breadrocks Wed 29-Apr-15 12:53:07

It's is a choice, but a crap one. More 'high flying' jobs should be part time.
If men have birth and were the primary caters that would be the case, let's not kid ourselves that they'd all become school admins and dinner men.

Breadrocks Wed 29-Apr-15 12:53:37

gave birth!

Breadrocks Wed 29-Apr-15 12:54:33

carers what is wrong with my typing today!

shewept Wed 29-Apr-15 12:55:29

Men get both of their dp is sahm or pt, usually. If that doesn't suit, then get the man to go pt. Then the woman can have her career and kids.

Most women, not all, want to be the sahm. So it suits for the man to keep his career. What your role will be when your babies are born is a family decision.

Crabstick Wed 29-Apr-15 12:55:38

I've given up a good well paid career to be with my children. I now work weekends behind a bar and Marshall sporting events.. I actually prefer these jobs to my career. No stress and very social, I'm a much happier person.

farewellfigure Wed 29-Apr-15 12:55:49

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees the inequality! I thought it was because I'm 'in it' and feeling quite raw at the moment. Of course it might be that I don't get made redundant, but it's really not looking good. To be honest, as a pt worker I get all the shit jobs anyway and a HUGE fuss is made every time I have to 'hand something over' so I might be better off out of there anyway.

Reginafalangie Wed 29-Apr-15 12:57:44

Maybe if more men became the main carers and worked part time then the part time job prospects would change however most women choose to become the main carers and work part time so that is not going to change anytime soon.

I think it is only seen as gender specific because more women choose to be the main carer than men, I actually don't think it is about gender and more about available part time jobs/career prospects.

BoyScout Wed 29-Apr-15 12:59:27

It's a shit choice. Keep your career but don't see you children as much as you'd like or ditch the career and spend more time with them.

But what's the answer? If a business can sustain a manager on part time hours then it should but the truth is for many is that they need the senior people to be there daily. It's not unreasonable.

You're angry, and rightly so, because you're part of a generation that was led to believe you could easily have a career and a family and its not true.

Reginafalangie Wed 29-Apr-15 13:00:53

It's a shit choice. Keep your career but don't see you children as much as you'd like or ditch the career and spend more time with them.

Are men not faced with the same choice?

LaurieMarlow Wed 29-Apr-15 13:01:05

I couldn't agree more OP. It's a depressing situation.

On the part time point that shewept raises, my job involves lots of travel, lots of extra hours and evening work. I decided to go down to 4 days because I wanted to safeguard at least some time with my son. I'm pretty sure I couldn't manage my role full time plus motherhood, because the expectations (particularly in terms of time) are so high.

YawnyMcYawn Wed 29-Apr-15 13:03:03

Until there's a properly level playing field where there's an expectation that men will share the childcare rights and responsibilities equally, this will continue to be the case. In yhe 90s when mine were little, I knew of 1 SAHD and he was viewed with suspicion and sometimes derision by the mums at playgroup etc. Thank goodness times are changing but I would be having a long conversation with a daughter who wanted to take a career break. I think you're right OP.

shewept Wed 29-Apr-15 13:05:02

I like jackies post.

As a working mum I often found myself on the end of peoples nastiness. I have been called a bad mum, told i should never have had kids. These are relatives and were (at the time friends and colleagues).

Now the kids are older and I have a well paid job I am told by people I am lucky to be in the position I am in. I am not lucky. Those 10 years while the kids were young were very difficult. It was bloody hard to balance it all and yes there were somethings I missed and I did wish I was at home more during the day. But I am glad I did. The Kids are very happy kids, we are very close. Financially we are secure. But it wasn't luck that got me there.

Being a parent is one of the most difficult things you can do. Whatever you decide to do with your job. The simple fact is you can't have it all.

ReluctantCamper Wed 29-Apr-15 13:05:18

YANBU. I work part time. I choose to do it, I don't think I understood quite what it would do to my career, but I want that time with my DCs. The thing that would get to me if I let myself dwell on it is working for thoroughly mediocre men who are where they are because they're the right age, the right gender, and full time.

I try not to think about it too much though, because I need and enjoy my job and being bitter wouldn't help.

Jackieharris Wed 29-Apr-15 13:06:13

Most women, not all, want to be the sahm.

Huh? confused
Where are you getting that from?

I never wanted to be a sahm.

The vast majority of mums I've ever spoken to want a job (not necessarily a career) certainly once their dcs are school age.

shewept Wed 29-Apr-15 13:07:21

Until there's a properly level playing field where there's an expectation that men will share the childcare rights and responsibilities equally, this will continue to be the case.

This is a difficult one, because it also counts on women to happily pass up the chance of being a sahm. And lots don't want to.

chocoluvva Wed 29-Apr-15 13:08:07

Do you think part of the problem is that fathers who have careers won't work part time or ask to work part time?

Sounds like your optimum situation would be to have a 'career' job four days a week and your DC's father to do the same. To some extent your difficulty is that you perhaps feel you can't both work full time, so if your partner won't/can't work part time then you have to.

I wonder if most men/a lot of men don't want to be part time carers. They just don't enjoy it so work full time instead - obviously I'm only talking about couples who have a choice -. I could be wrong.

The notion of being the main carer is obviously problematic if you want to genuinely share the care of your children. IYSWIM

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