Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How a hot chocolate brought me joy

The Saturday paper contains a section on careers.  I read it in case the perfect job saying "needs no experience but a decade of being a stay-at-home mum would be looked upon highly favourably", suddenly appears.  They always have little articles about how to get jobs/write resumes etc.  This weekend contained an article on why women keep working even when the cost of childcare uses up all their earnings.  I'll share a little bit of the article with you.

Jade Jones ... a full-time radio producer spends almost all of her wage on childcare for her one and two year old daughters.  'As a woman, I wanted to be defined by more than one aspect of my life,' Jones says.  'I want to be mother and a damn good mother, but I also wanted to do something else that was important to me and I wanted to set an example to my girls.  You can be good at more than one thing.'


Juliet Bourke is a partner at Acquus Partners, a workplace change consultancy that specialises in work and family balance.  She believes that work is really about making us 'well-rounded individuals'.  'It's really about women's intellectual capabilities, stimulation, identity and engagement, as well as pay', she says... Families with two incomes are more economically resilient and people who successfully juggle family and work life are less stressed than those with a single focus for their attention.  


My Career section, Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 28,-29, 2010.


Articles like this always make me feel like I've been 'left behind' (and a bit of a bozo) by not juggling kids with work.

But then today I went shopping with my youngest child (3 1/2 yo) and we had a such a lovely time.  We bought clothes for her older brother, she didn't complain, she didn't cry and patiently wandered around with me.  She told me long, complicated stories about her made-up friend, Lolly, and I had great fun asking her questions.
Me: 'Where did you meet Lolly?'
A:  'Out on the street Mummy'
Me:  'How many brothers and sisters does Lolly have?'
A:   'She has three big brothers Mummy'

She was very excited to scrape the foam off the top of my hot chocolate (and then proceed to drink it all).

It is often tempting to put her in childcare and go and get a job so that I'm more 'well-rounded', not just defined by my children (according to the article).  But I wouldn't have missed today for the world.  It was fun and so precious.  It's lovely to get to enjoy having one child at home.  After my life being totally crazy for years an outing like this helps me remember the joy of just hanging out with my kids.

8 comments:

Louise said...

Thanks for this post- I often read but haven't yet commented. I read that article too, and felt many of the same things. I'm at the stage in my 'stay-at-home motherhood' where, 6 years in, I will not be able to automatically renew my registration as a health professional having been out of the game too long. In my more self-assured moments there is no way I'd give up the 6 years I've had with my 3 little girls just to keep a foot in the door. But recently it really has felt like the weekend papers are on a mission just to make me question my decisions! In the face of such persuasive statements as those quoted above, I'm reminded how important it is to be well thought out about our parenting decisions and the premises on which we base them. Otherwise I might just find myself convinced that I'm an unengaged, uninspiring, stressed doormat with no identity of my own and nothing of value to pass on to my daughters.

Love the hot chocolate moment. I had a couple of those today involving digging in the garden and drawing dolphins.

Meredith said...

They are persuasive arguments - but they only represent one side of the story. And their persuasiveness doesn't make the other side wrong.

Glad you enjoyed the hot chocolate. When my little Mr 5 Year Old and I go out for a hot chocolate I now buy him one of his own. Previously he would down his babycino and then drink half or more of my hot chocolate. I bypass the babycino now and order for two!

Kath said...

Sounds like the kind of day that makes you glad to be alive.
Kath

Motherhugger said...

Jen, may I remind you that you are bulking up your resume - with STUDY! And you are not solely focused on one thing - the family - you belong to a few communities where you have relationships and responsibilities. Which is pretty normal, I'd say. All those attributes being satisfied by working for pay are being satisfied in other ways. More flexible than working. Possibly more satisfying, and more creative. But no pay - which is a whole other issue.

I'm in the same position.

Joy was provided this morning by Anna's song and dance about 'I'm Anna the scientist' for Science Day. Life is a musical.

And yes. Being with one child is lovely.

Melissa said...

Hi Jenny,
That article really got to me on the weekend too :) Especially the bit about working parents being less stressed than the neurotic stay-at-homes (my subtext). Glad to hear you had a nice day with your little one, it's lovely when you get to spend time with just one, sort of like a holiday!

Jenny said...

Thanks for the encouragements!

I was a little intrigued by the article because it seemed to be written by someone who thinks that mums who don't work in paid employment are sitting around just looking at their child all day.

Jenny said...

Oh and I have a lot of women friends who are VERY stressed juggling work and a family - so I'm not sure who the consultant in the article was talking to because I think she missed that group of people.

Catherine said...

Every time I have a sick child who needs to stay home from school, I'm very glad I don't have to ring my employer with apologies that I won't be coming to work. Does every working mum need a stay at home grandparent?