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My dream job involves tea and cake and some colouring in.

In My Story on January 28, 2013 at 5:16 pm

In the first of A Woman’s Place case study, we hear from Brigitte who volunteers as a means to re-igniting her career.

Brigitte, 42 lives in Queens Park, Brighton. She has two children age 11 and 7.

She used to work as a massage therapist and before that, a teacher.

 Do you work now?

I volunteer for the Red Cross between 5 and 10 hours a week.   I do various dogsbody office-minion style duties revealing my true ineptitude.

I also volunteer doing severely under qualified counselling and care to the elderly, infirm, vulnerable and mildly insane.

I’m also making a paltry superficial use of three years of massage training.

I see you volunteer, do you want paid work?    Yes I do  but I’m a bit scared and possibly lazy. I don’t think I’ll find the right job with the right hours and salary.

What would be the job description that you want?

I can’t describe the job I want. Think it probably involves tea and cake. Maybe some colouring in.

Are you hoping to get a job?

I think so. I really want a job to come and find me.

If you do have a job is it your dream job or just something to pay the bills, something you’ve  retrained to do or the only one you could find?

Initially I felt volunteering would give me confidence and ease me gently back into the world of work and give me the opportunity to develop new skills or rediscover old ones. Now feel stagnant again. I’m just coasting along again in an indecisive smog.

Please let me know what you feel you have sacrificed to create your work/family balance. Have you found a balance?

I feel thoroughly unbalanced.  I feel like I have completely sacrificed any chance of a career, but due to self-sabotage and indecision and twirling around in long hippy skirts not thinking about the future.

And maybe my reliance and dependence on the development my spouses potential career has not helped me to concentrate on my career.

Do you worry that your career has  stalled. Do you mind?

As someone who’s not too daft, my lack of work related achievement makes me cringe with embarrassment and disappointment.

However I do have a belief in being available to my children.

As I have no family close by, it would have meant finding serious child care costing serious amounts of money that on any salary I could command would be quite frankly, pointless.

After realising that my first child hated being left without me, I was too weak, sleep deprived and ultimately traumatised by his upset to pursue leaving him again.

This altered and cemented my whole view of going ‘back’ to work.

 What would help you get the work you want?

I’m beyond help.

A great talent.

A quiet confidence.

Self motivation.

An inexhaustible energy.

Office hours in school time only. And to work from home at other times.

I would need family members only to look after my kids to alleviate me of any guilt.

I would need to go back a decade or more and give myself a good talking to about getting a ‘real’ job to come back to.




What do we show our children?

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm

I’ve just had a good chat with a friend. She had a top-notch job in finance before having her children. Since moving out of London, she’s dedicated her life to bringing up her children. She’s made that decision with her husband and it’s what she thought was best for her family.

Now she feels she ought to get a job, to show her daughter and son a good example. She doesn’t want them to think that a woman’s job is at home while a man goes out to work. In reality, as she points out, she does have a job – childcare – she’s just not paid for it as it is her own children. If she took in some children as a childminder, then she would have a job.

I have similar issues. I tell my children about the great job I had in the past but she has no evidence of it. I battle hard not to point out that the mothers who do work full-time are not there when their children come home from school. I don’t want to be judgemental but I know, for me, that wasn’t the answer.

My mother worked in the City before giving up work for a while to have children. She subsequently worked in a much lower-skilled job, which was probably a waste of her talents. Yet, I work from home, get little status from the work I do and definitely few public pats on the back. I feel embarassed about the work I do now, rather than proud, though the reasons I do take less enjoyable work is for my children.

The sacrifice is there but I can’t burden my children with that knowledge. Meanwhile, what do I tell them about what Mummy does for a job?

Is a woman’s place really at home?

In Uncategorized on March 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Read this fascinating account in The Guardian of one woman who decided her place was not in her home with her children but up the road. Rahna Reiko Rizzuto  realised that the life of a full-time parent wasn’t for her – and as a result she was subjected to abuse and media vitriol.

She says her decision to be a part-time mother has turned out for the best for not just her – but her children and former husband.  She has the same amount of time with her children as many divorced fathers but has been viciously criticised as a bad mother for her choice.

Not many women would choose this path but I do admire her honesty and bravery in talking about it. It seems to me that as father’s become more involved with parenting, these kinds of choices may stop being so controversial and ultimately become just another way to run a family.

I’d be really interested to hear what anyone else thinks about Rahna’s choice?