A conversation I had this week summed up so many I’ve had since I’ve been back at work. Them: ‘But don’t you just want a job now that means you can leave on time? And if your baby’s sick don’t you want to be able to take a day off at short notice?’ Me: ‘Yes, and yes.’ Them: ‘So that’s surely your priority now? So maybe it’s time to settle for something which will allow flexibility in hours, first and foremost?’ Me: ‘Er…’
Of course, having a baby focuses your mind on the important role family plays in your life, and how your job’s ultimately there to provide money to support you and said family. That’s unequivocal. But I refuse to subscribe to the equation which seems to boil down to ‘no children = enjoy work OR children = don’t enjoy work’.
Work is different when you have a child – especially one you’re responsible for picking up and dropping off at exact times. No longer can I faff at the end of the day and stay a bit longer – if I’m not gone by 5.40 on my ‘early’ leaving days, I won’t make it back in time. And an after work drink with a client or colleague is more of a long-lead operation than a casual email the day before. Add to that the seed of parental anxiety that’s now ever-present in the back of my mind, and probably always will be. Continue reading