Tag Archives: work
Like the writer of this piece, Amy Gray, I don’t feel ‘working mother’s guilt’. I may feel guilty about other things (like when I demonstrate poor language choices by swearing at other drivers in Canberra’s annoying traffic!), but I don’t feel guilty about working to earn money so we have a roof over our head. I’m a widow. I don’t have a big fat pension to lean on and we hadn’t paid off our house when DH died. Like my mother, I’m giving my daughter an example of how to work and how to be a mother, and that neither is a walk in the park, yet both can be enormously rewarding on many different levels.
My paternal grandmother was widowed young with two small children. She also worked and had support from her mother with childcare. I have support from paid childcare. Believe me, I appreciate the fantastic young women and men who run exciting activities after school. I couldn’t come up with that variety of activities (soccer, monkey bars, tag, cricket, craft, etc.) for DD and me to do on our own – some things need a number of kids to make it work. DD loves being with other kids. She’s extroverted and very sociable. Hence the endless cries for playdates on the weekend.
Well, that’s what Dr Barry Walters says.
“I see many, many women with diabetes, high blood pressure and all sorts of medical problems and, of course, the older the woman is, the more likely she’s got medical problems,” he said. [...]
But that’s just the start of it. You see, that means the older mum’s offspring will have to look after an elderly mother when they are starting out in adult life.
“They (their children) are starting out in life, having a family, working, getting mortgages and have to deal with geriatric parents,” he said. “It’s just not fair.” [...]
“I’m looking at 20 years down the track. We’ve got 20 year olds with mothers who have had heart attacks, strokes and are on dialysis for kidney failure for diabetes.”
Dr Walters, perhaps you should be having a word with the “Selfish Fathers” who can’t commit to a marriage with children until they’re in their late 30s because they have spent a couple of decades thinking that some hotter, better woman will turn up, or who thinks that kids are a millstone round their neck or will drain their savings or get in the way of them partying.
Why am I an older mother? Because I was on medication for quite a few years after I was married that had serious implications for any foetus I might carry. I was sensible and chose to not get pregnant while there was a chance of that happening. Crazy, I know. It had nothing to do with how much we wanted a child or how much money we’d saved or how many overseas trips we’d taken. It was a health matter.
Surely there are people who look forward to kids going on holidays? People other than teachers, I should add, given that I used to be a teacher and enjoyed the hols waaaaaaay more than the kids.
OTOH, as a working mum with no hubby to help out with entertainment of The Small Person aka DD, I have to really put on my thinking cap as well as calling in the troops for assistance.
DD is going to have a holiday interstate for a week without her mummy. Can you believe it? She managed OK in the June holidays and this time she will travel on the plane with her uncle, whom she adores. She gets to spend a couple of days with him and his wife plus the much-loved dog (feelings sort of reciprocated) and the chooks (chook poop is reviled). Then she goes to my mum’s place. I will fly there the next week to have a few days with Mum and then bring DD back to Canberra.
OK, one week down. What about the next week? Well, there is a long weekend for the second weekend in the school holidays. I am looking at what’s on at the National Gallery of Australia , National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Australia, and more.
Next bit – Tues. 11 to Fri. 14 October. DD is a people-person. She is extroverted with a hint of shyness, rather like her mama LOL, and really, really needs to spend time with kids. I think I will take her to vacation care. She has been there before, she had lots of fun playing in the playground with the other kids, made new friends, made a heap of craft works, played with a Wii game for the first time ever, and apparently learnt about Angry Birds.
And the last weekend of the holidays. Hmmm. What shall we do? I think I’ll try to arrange a playdate one day, maybe a sleepover. On to the phones and e-mail!
ETA: This planning must be in the air! Go and visit the lovely Little Gumnut blog .
The suicide prevention group R U OK? conducted a survey of 800 people (if you want to know more about that group, go to their website at http://www.ruokday.com.au/content/home.aspx) .The highest risk group for extreme stress at work was middle-age single parents. Oh great, sighs the middle-aged widow here. Just what I didn’t want to know.
But I can see why it is so. No denying it. It is the stress of getting not only oneself up and going in the morning, but also a child (who may or may not be co-operative ), the desire to do a great job at the workplace and to contribute to society through one’s work, and the desire to be a really good mum and family member. The stress of being the only person who is keeping track of a child/children’s progress, time commitments, needs and wants. The lack of downtime as an adult to do rewarding leisure activities that do not directly involve a child.
Can I add that it is not helpful for judgmental people to say “Well, you shouldn’t work until your child is old enough to look after herself/himself”? If I didn’t work, I wouldn’t be able to pay my mortgage. I would have to go on the waiting list for public housing, which is currently a 2 year wait. I would have to find a place to rent, which would take up a large amount of any welfare benefits I may receive. And DD’s life would be put in turmoil with a change of domicile, school, leisure activities and closeness to family and friends. I’m not going to do that.
This is research from the NY think-tank, the Centre for Work-Life Policy. 43% of Generation X women (born between 1965 and 1978, my generation) do not have children. I find it interesting that the article sees this as a choice and a preferred choice at that, rather than the usual comments one hears of “There are no worthy men around!” I can think of quite a few Gen X women who would have loved to have children but so far have not found a partner with whom they would like to have children, and they do not want to have a child on their own via assisted reproduction technology. Sure, I see that most of us were aware of how much we could achieve and we totally went for it! We could do anything, take on any career, and we believed (still believe) in people being promoted due to their merits rather than just because they’re a bloke.
Ninety-one percent of the surveyed women in relationships were part of dual-earning couples, and 19 per cent out-earned their husbands. Similarly, 74 per cent considered themselves ambitious, compared to 65 per cent of women from the baby-boom generation.
Things are hectic here. Two loads of washing done after coming home from work. One load in the clothes dryer (school clothes I should have done on the weekend but completely forgot). DD has been washed, dressed in pyjamas, fed, read to, done spelling with and lots of kisses.
I have about 2000 words to write by Thursday on fanfic, not to mention several articles I have to speed read.
There’s a pile of washing up, thanks to the dishwasher that decided to cark it a couple of weeks ago. My study is piled high with boxes because I did a half-arsed tidy up of the family room.
I have 3 pairs of tracky daks to hem for DD (who are these gigantic children they were made for?) and also have to wash, dry and hem two pairs of jeans for me. I have to mend a pair of black pants for work – darn seams coming apart after one wear. Pathetic standard of finishing.
Somewhere in that I have to find time to do my rehab exercises, try to calm my mind and spirit before going to bed (ADD means meditation is rarely successful) and then the mad day starts again.
New international research shows working mums spend 15 hours a week looking after their children but it also underscores the difficult balancing act they face in the workforce. Working mothers are spending 137 minutes directly caring for their children on average per day, while fathers spend 69 minutes, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found. [...]
The report analysed how much time parents spent caring for their child as a “primary activity” – including dressing, feeding and playing – and excluded time when the parent’s main focus was on other activities.
Once again, I am thankful to have an employer who allows me to have flexible work hours, while I ensure that I am here at core times and maintain professional standards and high expectations of myself. It takes two – the employer and the employee – to make this work.