Women Don't Want to Be Labelled As Just Mum
It’s weird, of all the challenges, insecurities and guilt that come with becoming a new mum, this was the hardest for me to deal with. The idea that suddenly being a mum is all you are. The idea that your previous personality or identify vanishes overnight and is replaced with this monochromatic definition of a parent. Questions from well-meaning guests at a dinner party asking, “what did you do before…” as if that was a past-life and of course I wouldn’t still be doing the same thing now.
Maybe I am over-sensitive and I’m sure most of the guilt associated with being a working mother is self-inflicted. Just as the perfect woman as defined by glossy magazines is unobtainable, so is the perfect mother. However, as much as I am aware of this and tell myself constantly that by working I am instilling strong positive values for my daughter, and that a “happy mum is a happy baby” – the reality is that I feel selfish for going back to work after six weeks. And in turn, a bad mother.
Which is frankly ridiculous, as more and more women are returning to work after having children. A recent survey of 1,094 working parents in London showed that 37.6% work full-time and 35.9% worked part-time. Likewise, more women are the main breadwinner, resulting in a greater number of men now working part-time to share parenting.
One of the biggest challenges is that while we are used to separating children and business, the two tend to be mutually exclusive. Which is why, nine months after having my first child, we are launching Cuckooz Nest – a hybrid workspace with creche, providing all the benefits of a flexible co-working space with the added peace of mind that your child is in the same building. Our goal: to allow you to transition seamlessly between work and life, empowering parents to pursue big careers without compromising parenthood.
This is my small contribution to the working mum revolution that is happening quietly across the UK #youcanhaveitall #WOMUM. Perhaps now is the time to make a badge that you can wear to dinner parties and put an end to old fashioned stereotypes and awkward conversations.