Blogging all things parenting… and sometimes a bit in between ;)

All work and no play… the debate

on January 28, 2014

play theme game

Picture source: via Pinterest

This was going to be an attempt at a humourous little poem covering all the different ways a child learns by playing.  However, my #TheThemeGame with The Reading Residence and Redpeffer will now take on a more ‘debatable’ tone for the word ‘play’.

If you’ve read The Daily Mail article “Shift Victory for Working Mothers”, you will know that PC Michelle Chew has recently won a 3 year sexual discrimination battle with her police force.  An employment tribunal has decided that her force breached the 1975 Sexual Discrimination Act.

Now, as a working mum of a small child, I can definitely see both sides of this debate.

Before Child (BC) I would have been more than a little miffed if a colleague got what basically amounts to special treatment and ‘got out of’ covering unsociable shifts and yucky stupidly early starts (although you get that as a parent – but I digress).  You join a job knowing the hours and you have to take it on the chin.

But After Child (AC), I can totally see why a working mum (or parent, but this is obviously focussing on Mums) would want to work ‘normal hours’.

After my maternity leave I applied for a flexible shift pattern and was very fortunate to be able to pretty much choose my days and hours with minimal negotiation.  But I wasn’t silly. I gave a reasonable proposal, which obviously worked.

Ultimately, being a mum was one of the major reasons for me leaving my job that involved shifts.  I simply didn’t feel as passionate about my job since my life priorities changed AC.  Juggling childcare was also a major issues.  More importantly, I felt I was missing out on tea-times, bath times, bed times – bonding time.  You don’t get that back.

Where does this ruling stop though?

The article states that, “Women are more likely than men to be looking after children, so anything that disadvantages those with childcare responsibilities is discrimination against women.”

I might point out here that I worked full-time over an intensive 4 day week at first.  Now, I work part-time and I’m very glad that I do.  Part-time worker, still a full-time mummy as the label goes

I do fear that this ruling will cause bitterness, resentment and actually positively discriminate working mums…

What are your thoughts?



working99 with pen name

Read my indispensable guide to avoiding Working Mum Guilt’. Whether you are about to return or have already started back, this book offers practical solutions and feedback from real Mums with real families in real situations. Covering topics such as Post Natal Depression, childcare options, yours and your child’s development and time management – Ditch the guilt today! … and visit my facebook page or follow me on twitter @WorkingMumGuilt

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14 responses to “All work and no play… the debate

  1. Interesting post. Personally, I applied for flexible working, too, when my daughter arrived, and then resigned all together as I wanted to be her main carer and I couldn’t see a way of still giving the same 100% to my career as I had done. Right decision for me, but not everyone, and I know not everyone can do this. It’s hard as you can see both sides, and I think as a nation we need to prioritise lifestyle and family more over work, but we don’t and I don’t see that changing. Thanks for joining in with #TheThemeGame x

  2. Such a tricky subject area and I enjoyed your balanced argument. I think that we are not a very family focused society in the UK and unless that changes this issue will run and run. Focussing on families benefits everyone in the long run I think.

  3. My thoughts before Monkey would have been the same as your’s, after having him I feel very torn. I used to be in Export Sales, I’d decided that I probably wouldn’t work for a little while after my son was born. But I could never go back to my ‘job’, it involved travel abroad and I couldn’t afford the live in nanny I would have needed. #TheThemeGame

    • Very fair point. It is SO difficult for working mums to be apart from their babies due to work. Thankfully, I’ve only every missed bedtimes and never whole days due to work travel.

  4. Having been a full time, part time (ha!) and now stay at home mum, I can see all sides in this one, and it’s difficult. I was very lucky to be able to work flexibly, and I appreciated it, many aren’t so lucky. My views have changed BC and AC (!) but ultimately different careers will need different solutions – flexibility should be paramount though xx #TheThemeGame

  5. First time round I wasn’t allowed to go part time. It was just a flat out no. And I was also told full time means full time and I had to do all the extra bits and bobs expected of a full time teacher. It was so hard. This time round I’m part time and I am really enjoying it. I miss being part of the team and I do feel a bit of a spare part but I’ll come back to my career in a few years xxx

  6. Mummy Says says:

    Really hope the ruling doesn’t cause resentment and bitterness but sadly it is likely to. Really thoughtful post, thank you. I used to work shift work but wouldn’t return to it now I have children. I really admire people who do and manage to make it work. x #TheThemeGame

  7. I agree! I work part time but end up working more like 4/5ths rather than the 3/5th I get paid for, but I’m glad I get to keep up with my career and see my little boy.

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