Oh the joy of being ‘Mum’

I am going to try not to sound bitter in this next paragraph….

My cycle test to be a bikeability instructor for primary and secondary schools went well and they want me to do the full course. Downside being that, as a Mum of a 2 year old, childcare costs will mean my earnings are minimal. However this will improve as he gets closer to school age. Hubby doesnt understand this. Thinks I should stay at home until I am in a position to earn ‘decent money’. But when will that be…. when they turn 18? The fact is that jobs that fit around school time dont tend to be big earners. But when I have proposed to hubby that I take on the full-time breadwinner role and that he stays at home, he back-pedals faster than Chris Hoy in reverse. Why is it women who have to organise and deduct childcare from their salary thus limiting what they can actually do as a job?

So I guess my issue is not with parenthood but society’s historic approach to womanhood.

On a separate note, Oxfam emailed me about the appalling situation in South Sudan, which seems to be un-reported in the media. The country is nearing a famine and thousands of families are in refugee camps living in appalling conditions…… all because of war. If you can help please visit this site.

This blog is for Unicef. As i missed last night’s blog, £1 in the pot to Unicef.

Thanks for reading.

PS I did feel a bit of an idiot in my over-sized hi-vis gear and my panic buy helmet from Halfords, particularly when positioned next to  lycra clad and cycle shoe heeled streamlined instructor.

PPS, if you are in need of a laugh,check out the Sam Mendes film ‘Away We Go’.

 

 

 

 

 

The careers race – who will win?

My husband and I are engaging in a careers race. His body is broken and he needs to switch into the slow lane, my career has ground to a halt as most of you know thanks to the HMRC. But to get a job that makes childcare worthwhile, i need an experience level that i havent had the chance to attain. No wonder most women leave it til their forties before they have children, because then they at least stand half a chance of earning enough after childcare to make it worth their while (assuming they spent their twenties and thirties climbing the ladder). I spent my twenties and thirties in labour/toddler groups and voluntary roles  sandwiched between two dead-end jobs.

So when my husband eggs me on to go for the ‘big roles’ that I know i dont have a cat in hell’s chance of even getting to interview, i start to get frustrated by what is expected – Mum and career woman – aahh! I give it my best shot while cursing i wasnt born with a willy.

Then i moan at my husband for not focusing enough on his career change because of the continued effort to bring the pennies in – you cant really blame him for that can you?

All the while i wonder how many couples are going through the exact same issues and what, if anything, can be done about it?

At the moment we are taking the machine gun approach to job applications – a fast-track route to feeling rather shit about yourself rather quickly.

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

Maternity leave or better pay?

Today I broke the news to my boss about HMRC’s decision. The option to improve the salary was quickly squandered and the other alternative that he offered was to work from home, although he later back-tracked from that idea. So, since receiving the news from HMRC last Thursday, i will now be leaving my job next Thursday after four years (because i was due to finish for the school summer holidays anyway). I have yet to find out from HR  whether i will be required to return to complete outstanding notice in September, I hope not as I will incur further childcare costs that exceed my salary.

I was also interviewing for the maternity cover post for my colleague. Three candidates were interviewed. Myself and my colleague favoured the woman with the most experience and skills set. My boss wasnt so keen, feigning surprise at her independent school background saying she was “a little rough around the edges”. What he really disliked was the lack of a posh accent and her short skirt. If I was to be brutally honest, the woman he preferred was very pretty and lovely but with nowhere near the same skills-set or experience. He felt that she would be a better ‘fit’ within the department – more like he has one eye on the hareem of good-looking women he has in his office. The only problem is that women have children and need maternity leave and money for childcare – damned inconvenient.

When my Mum had me in 1980, there wasnt such a thing as maternity leave, but she did at least get paid enough to afford childcare when she returned to work a few weeks later. Supposedly in 2014 we have ‘moved on’ but what is the point of maternity leave if most mothers cant afford to return to work anyway?

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

 

Eco motorsport gets a Legge up

I am very pleased today about two things. The first that a friend from school has secured a drive to enhance her racing career, the second is that she will be driving in Formula E – an eco version of Formula One – about time too that these two boxes have been ticked – a woman at the top of motorsport and environmentally friendly racing.

Also any thing that makes the likes of Jeremy Clarkson squirm and grumble is a good thing. Not that I dont like the guy, i think he is quite entertaining, but he does come out with complete crap sometimes – a bit like Boris Johnson (just less frequent).

So well done to fellow school-mate Katherine Legge for continuing to push for a career in an industry that is more male dominated than a working men’s club and well done to her sponsors Amlin Aguri, for backing her.

And as for Formula E – what it lacks in sound and fumes it will more than make up for in edge-of-your-seat racing. Watch this space…..

This blog is for Unicef. Thanks for reading.

High-earning Mums Receiving Childcare (HMRC)

Further to yesterday’s post, my call to HMRC this morning left me with no other choice but to quit my job. It is not until something is taken away that you begin to realise how much it is appreciated in your life. This is the case with my job. I have been with the company for 4 years, enjoy working with the team, the variety of the workload and the work environment. The simple fact is i can no longer ‘afford’ to work there. Now HMRC have said our joint  income is  over the threshold, they will no longer contribute towards my childcare costs. My salary only exceeds my childcare costs by £50 and that is before fuel, so i would effectively be paying to go to work. It seems it is a luxury if you are a working mum earning less than £15 per hour to keep the wheels of your career turning, if you want o work before your child is at school and your husband earns at least 20k. In other words, unless you are earning megabucks, the Government want you to be a good wife and stay at home with the children.

As much as i love baby boy, i also enjoy some time at work and I am not altogether thrilled at the prospect of being at home 5 daus a week, but i have done it before when my daughter was my som’s age, so he may as well get the same level of attention. Some people would argue, ‘if you dont want to look after them full-time, why bother having kids’? Which has an element of truth, in an ideal world i would share this responsibility with my husband but  i can only justifiably do this if i can match his salary or exceed it. This is tricky when my CV already has gaps from previous spells of ull-time parenting.

I have just got to do what most mums have to do and ‘suck it up’ , whatever ‘it’ is. This scenario goes to show that Kirstie Allsopp’s view that young women are better getting married and having children in their twenties makes far more sense than spending years getting qualified, only for it to all fall by the wayside once children come along – because to work is a lifestyle choice, only worthwhile for Mums in the top income brackets.

Now…..where is my pinny?

The only Mums who can work are the HMRC – High-earning Mums Receiving Childcare

This blog is for Unicef – thanks for reading

The cry of the banshee

I have now spent 6 straight days as a single mother. Sure Daddy has been back since Thursday night, but other than helping out with the final moments of the bedtime routine, he has been busy catching up on all the  work he missed out while he was on his course. So, a hacking cough, mild nausea, a period, lack of sleep plus the constant demands of being a Mum are taxing to say the least. I was up half the night with baby boy vomiting everywhere and then my husband expects gratitude for having sorted their breakfast out the following morning so i could ‘lie-in’ til 8. Well i didnt feel like being grateful because why should he get thanks when i dont get any? Why is the woman expected to ‘pick up the tab’ regardless, but when the man does it he should get a fanfare. I could understand it if i had been at home all week, but actually i worked 3 days flat-out. But apparently that doesnt count as i earn ‘pittance’. It is not my fault that childcare costs come out of my wages and that fuel prices are so high. Maybe I would be better off staying at home full-time but where would that leave my cv after 2 years of doing jack? So i am doing what i’m sure a lot of Mums are doing and stomaching a crap salary just to keep the cv ticking over.

With a demanding male boss at work and one at home, is it any wonder that i almost called my boss by my husband’s name the other day, but thankfully i caught the first syllable before it was out.

Dont get me wrong, i love my husband and my children but sometimes they make me want to indulge in some primal screaming. Maybe that’s what the screaming banshee is really all about, a woman at night finally losing the plot. Technically, it’s meant to be the call of a vixen, maybe she feels pretty hacked off too.

Another £1 in the pot to Unicef for last night’s missed post. I have raised well over £100 now – at least this mindless ranting is put to some good use.

Thanks for reading.

Let’s hear it for the girls

Sorry I was absent last night. I hit my Thursday night wall again for the second time. I have this wonderful boss who is very charming and this helps in his powers of delegation. He askes me to focus on one project and then keeps adding to my task list, forgetting that I work 22 hours a week. I’m not the modern day Cinderella, my work more resembles the ugly stepsister trying to squeeze work into the petite shoe that is my part-time hours. I’m sure part-timers the world over are nodding their heads in sage agreement.  I also got a dose of what it is like to be a single working-mum, as hubby was away. Hence me hitting the deck as soon as possible. Single working mothers I bow down to you all in awe – hats off girls and keep up the good work!

Of course I also took advantage of hubby being away by organising a girls night in. I also gave myself a night-off from checking the nutritional info o the back of pre-prepared food, so just chucked some dips on the table and breadsticks and let the girls let rip. I had my fair share too plus a couple of glasses of wine. So I was incredibly puzzled when I found myself upchucking over the toilet bowl in the small hours – has my diet made my tummy completely intolerant of anything mildly rubbish? I don’t know, needless to say I haven’t touched the dips since, I am also a bit scared of the crisps …and rose wine.

In my bid  for the bed and rest, I missed the England Men’s football, what a shame….lost again.

But on the flip side, look how well the women are doing:

England’s Women are just one point away from next summer’s World Cup after a narrow 2-1 win in Ukraine.

Mark Sampson’s side have won all eight qualifiers to date and are five points clear of second-placed Wales with two Group 6 matches remaining. A draw in Wales in August will seal a place at Canada 2015. (source: thefa.com)

Read more here

I am already looking forward to next year when I am hopeful the women can show the guys how it is done….and on (shock horror) less than £300k a week (or whatever Rooney earns).

I shall tell that to my daughter when I pick her up from football after school today, she is gradually receiving more passes from the boys having inspired the girls to get involved, come on we are in 2014 people!

As I missed last night’s post another £1 to Unicef. If you can donate to the campaign – great!

Thanks for reading.