E had been grumpy all morning, I think at having been woken up, as she hasn’t yet adjusted to the clock change. This manifested itself in general clinginess, teeth cleaning difficulty and crying. Standard toddler stuff. I don’t shout at her but it does make for a manic start to the day. But I dropped her off at nursery, and thought to myself ‘Thank goodness I can now get to work where I know what I’m doing.’
And today at work has been one of those pissy ones we all have, things not done, or not done well, or wrong messages put out, or assumptions made erroneously, and nitpicky nonsense. On my way home from work this evening, I thought to myself, ‘Thank goodness I’m on my home now where I feel I know what I’m doing.’ When I got in E was crying, due to being exhausted. Yet by now, I felt I was able to deal with her.
It’s not normal for me to feel this way. I don’t have a life where the promise of a thing is better than the actual reality. Today was just one of those days. But it did make me smile for a bit.
Two articles in the news today discussed work and parenting. Both were guilty of stupid generalisations. The first article was a fluffy piece of nonsense about Lily Allen, who said that babies were boring. And that we are all deluded if we think that giving up work to have children is fun and challenging and so on. Well duh! Babies can be boring, being stuck at home with one can be boring but you can do things in the meantime to exercise your mind. And we’re all different, there are bound to be loads of people (men and women) who wouldn’t find being stuck at home with a baby all day to be dull. But others do.
The other article was some research that stated that women who don’t have children resent women who do because we work shorter hours. Or, more likely, that they perceive us to work shorter hours. I don’t know why this had to be a gender issue, if you read the report, it said the same about men which is one reason why many men find it difficult to request flexible working hours to be more family oriented.
Anyway. We have some childfree people in our office. I believe they’re both childfree by choice. I’ve never asked them if they resent my perceived shorter working hours but they both know I’m full time and that I work long days four days a week instead of normal ones five days a week. I doubt they resent my hours because a) they aren’t stupid and b) they both have family commitments of their own – just not their own children. People I know in our wider organisation who have flexible hours do things like working at 7am, or late into the night – technology has enabled us to do this. They aren’t working less, just worse hours.
I imagine what the research has highlighted is that some employers don’t manage working hours very well – perhaps denying holiday to childfree people, or not allowing adequate time off to deal with caring responsibilities for parents or other relatives. Why we can’t discuss this sensibly I don’t know, it doesn’t have to be a gender issue, or even a parenting issue. There’s a new scheme called Eldercare which has started to campaign for decent time off for caring responsibilities. I think it sounds like a good idea.
In the meantime, E is asleep, work is over for the day and I sit down to the computer to look at my writing. Thank goodness I can now do this where I know what I’m doing…