No? I didn’t think so. But a certain Kelly Brook seems to think you might be. So much for the sisterhood!
Miss Brook’s mass generalisation of working mothers really annoyed me. Partly because it was a generalisation. How dare she declare all mothers as unprofessional or using kids as an excuse to be tardy, unproductive, or get out of commitments.
Yeah, some might. But I’m sure plenty of child-free employees have found their own excuses to do the same. Some people are lazy and unprofessional and don’t need to bare children to prove it.
Why is it that mothers have to be in the firing line? I don’t hear anyone moaning at pet owners who have vet appointments to sort when their furry friend gets ill. Oh, hang on, a colleague ran a long distance race and now can’t come in because they’ve hurt their leg. How unprofessional!
Guess what. Unpredictable stuff happens!
Why, because they are human. We are all human. And sometimes our personal and professional lives clash. We have to juggle. We have to assess a situation and make a decision.
But let me tell you something, kelly. I may ‘leave early’, but I also arrive early.
I may not be able to attend all of the various evening socials or events, but I’m probably on my laptop after sorting food, helping with homework and doing bath time, whilst others enjoy free cocktails and canapés.
I may have an ‘extra day off’, but I promise you I’m not spending it going for long lazy lunches or pamper sessions. More like school runs, swimming lessons, Tesco trips and cleaning.
I may have to be late every now and then because of a child, but there are so many more times I have to look that child in the eye and tell him I can’t make a performance or event because I have to work. That goes for employed and self-employed parents.
Being a mother has made me so much more productive and focussed. I don’t have time for idle office BS but I still put in a shift – with overtime!
You see, Kelly, we are raising the next generation of adults. Future doctors, politicians, builders, even models/tv presenters. The people who will be looking after you in your old age.
We have to teach them about the importance of family, the importance of self, all whilst maintaining their professionalism.
We need to encourage employers to understand that presenteeism can be damaging. As long as the job is getting done to that person’s best ability, then that’s all that matters. Not ticking boxes to keep bitter colleagues happy.
Now that doesn’t mean it’s ok to turn up late to meetings or miss a deadline. What it means is being more open to flexibility. For EVERY employee, not just those who happen to be mothers.
This is why flexible working for all is so important. It stops this toxic jealousy and misunderstanding of working parenthood.
It stops this mis-treatment of mothers.
It can contribute to closing the gender pay gap.
It can help people to manage their mental health.
It helps people, all people, to find ‘balance’, or juggle, as I prefer to see it.
It stops people with no experience of being a working parent from sharing their invalid, unwanted, damaging, opinions on to mothers who are simply doing their best.