I often talk about work-life balance here on my blog and that is possibly because it is something that is new to me and I am still trying to figure it all out.
Since returning to my profession in a part time capacity I have noticed that I do not feel any different to how I felt when I worked full time. In fact, I feel as though I am better at my job - I am far more organised and make a point of being a good communicator to my colleagues to ensure that any problems which may occur on a day when I am not there are able to be dealt with. However, in recent weeks I have had the feeling that my contribution is valued less because I am part time. I feel as though I am given less challenging work and that my workload is vetoed more stringently to ensure that I can 'manage' the load. While I am sure that in some cases this is necessary, I feel that I am being held back ever so slightly.
I am the first to admit that our pregnancy was not well timed. I was most definitely not where I had planned for my carrer to be when I fell pregnant. In fact, I was three weeks into a brand new job and it was quite literally the worst timing that was possible. Like many things that we don't think we will get through - I got through it. I came out the other side and I am OK, but I don't think my career progression is. Now I feel like I am paddling through mud and feel as though unless I go back full time, I may well be paddling through mud for years to come. Especially considering I am planning on having more children.
At this point dear reader you might be thinking - so what - what does it matter if you are going to have more children? Work will just become less and less important to you - right? Possibly - yes. However I am pretty sure that as long as I need to go there each day, I am going to want to be stimulated and challenged during the hours that I am there. You see - I am not someone who can just go, do a job and then come home again. I like to get involved, make a difference and be really fulfilled in all aspects of my life. My brain cannot sit idle for too long...the ticking starts to annoy me after a while.
Is it too much to ask to be given opportunities to do exactly the same work as you would do if you where there 5 days per week when you are only there 3? I don't think so - I know I am certainly capable of it. I do think it is a form of mild discrimination.
I must admit that I do have it very good. I have a very good employer and have been granted to blessing of being able to continue to breastfeed my child during working hours (He attends childcare onsite) and am not disadvantaged in any other way because I work part time. However, it is this small aspect of capability that irritates me and leaves me wanting to leave altogether. Why should I be valued less because I choose to do a little for me (Work in my chosen field) and also be a mother?
I have noticed this topic of work life balance come up in a number of different forums in the past few weeks and I was reminded of it by an article by my favourite journalist in her column this past weekend. She writes about the virtues of this post feminist world we live in and how the generation of young women encroaching on childbearing age have a path paved by their feminist predecessors which has given them the freedom of being able to "have it all". We have these wonderful employee poilicies that promote and allow work life balance and disallow discrimination on the grounds of being a woman. However, the path for true equality in terms of career progression without sacrifice on some part is still quite murky. Is it really possible to take 12 months off work to spend with your child during a time when they are so vulnerable to attachment and then return part time and expect to still achieve those same things you had dreams of achieving before you had the baby? From my own person experience I think not. ( You can read the full article Here!)
An even more disturbing aspect of this reality was brought to my attention by Amy Tieman (Mojo Mom) in her podcast entitled "Mojo Mom and Paula Spencer of Momfidence and Caring.com" who talks about her experience of hearing that young university women had decided to not have children altogether because of the impact it wuold have on thier future career and the fact that the working world is not very inviting and inclusive to working moms.
It is sad that young women are growing up in a world that values work more than the beauty and fulfillment of granting human life.
I agree in entirity that there needs to be balance between work and life. I also think that it is important for mom's who choose to work for their own sense of self are able to do so. But at what expense because it seems to me that something has to give.
For me - well it is time to reassses my work values because I know that I value my family and my child far more highly.
So off I go to work to simlply do my job and be happy while I am there - anything else that happens along the way is a bonus. My more important job and the one I need to invest more in is at home.
This post was written for the Steady Mom Mom's 30 minnute blog Challenge.