Juggling

I mentioned I’d been reading Gaby Hinsliff’s Half a Wife book since doing the blog experiment. It’s an interesting read, despite being focused on the middle classes, and offers a number of good solutions that parents, employers and governments should all act on together. If the evidence she produces in the book is correct, the economy should leap and family life should improve. But mainly, as I said, for middle class employment prospects on both sides, I think. Still, it’s a start.

This week another woman in the boardroom started lecturing the rest of us on how we should all follow her up the career ladder. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve reached saturation point over the coverage of the death of a certain woman this week but I’m bloody sick to death with successful people telling me how I should be like them and smash ceilings or do amazing things. Don’t get me wrong, unlike the dead woman, I AM a feminist and proud of it but there has to be more to it than getting your feet under the boardroom table. For a start, the main way to get there is to indulge in bitching, office politics and arse licking in ways that I frankly cannot be bothered with.

A few years ago, when I worked in a bookshop, I was encouraged to go on a management fast track training scheme thing. It was sold to me as “when you’re a manager you get to tell people what to do and you don’t have to do any work.” Which sounds crap to me. I like doing things. Supervising is dull. I didn’t get the position. (It also sounds like bad management technique…)

Anyway, it’s easier for women to make the decision not to follow this path because it’s expected that women will want to spend time with their baby. But what about the men who want to do this? Do they actually like the office politics and bitching for access to the boardroom or would they prefer time with the baby too? It’s harder to ask for this I guess.

Here, I’ve taken a good look at our situation and decided to ask to work compressed hours. So far, we’ve paid deposits of two weeks nursery care for E, then several weeks care, then a further two week deposit when we wanted to put her in for another day while S goes to his job and then two weeks of care for that too. All this and S hasn’t been paid yet. (I’m not complaining about the nursery’s methods – it’s pretty normal to want a deposit and there was an error in setting up S’s payroll, just one of those things. But that’s a lot of money to pay up front. Lucky we have some reserves. Who knows what other people do – presumably they go to Wonga. There were grants for unemployed people to use as a deposit for childcare on getting a job until this government abolished them. Of course they did. *insert suitable sweary description of their short sighted wilfully ignorant ideologically driven incompetence here*)

I’m waiting to hear about compressed hours but I have faith that my employers will allow this as they are family friendly (fingers crossed anyway). This way, we could save a day’s childcare and E only gets to go to nursery for two and a half days. So we wait.

In the meantime, E has picked up another virus or something at nursery and has spent the last four days seeping green snot-like goo from her eyes. It’s truly revolting but she’s been chirpy and cheerful all the time, so except for getting very tired from it all, it seems not to have had an effect on her. On the plus side, she did sleep till 7.40am on Sunday so we had a little lie in. I have spent this time wondering whether to take her to the doctor and instead keep bothering my sister for advice. I don’t think they’ll do anything but I feel like I ought to take her, if only to assuage my parental guilt. This is silly. For a start, I think she’s actually on the mend. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t wiped her nose 43 times a day though it can only be about a month ago.

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