|Am I professional?|
Dear Kelly Brook,
I would like to drop a quick note to you about those comments that you made about mothers being unprofessional compared to their childless colleagues if they have childcare issues.
I'll share the day I had yesterday with you. I am a freelance writer having left my office job last year. Sounds like a walk in the park working from home around two small kids?
I know how in demand writing gigs are and I have to go up against a number of writers with no children and thus more managable time.
I had my 11 month old baby yet I juggled 3 deadlines and even chose to take on some urgent quick turn around work that afternoon too, three loads of washing and then worked up until the kids bedtime.
I know I have to put in more effort, work harder and be more reliable all because I am a mother. I still took time out to play, put him down for a nap and dropped my other son off at nursery. I presume this makes me unprofessional working with my childcare issue?!
I still had everything submitted on time and done well. Unprofessional or not I made it work what gives you the right to say what is and isn't professional?
I know mums who have been up all night yet leave the house at 5am to go into work. I know mums who work all through the night and stay up for near on 3 days straight looking after the children with no help.
You see most of us are only working to pay the childcare bill we only have to pay beacuse we are told to go back to work after having a baby. It takes military presecion just to get to the office in the first place.
As a mother you could be up all night with a fussy baby or an ill toddler yet we will still 99% make it in and complete our shift.
When I was working in the office I felt the seismatic shift in attitudes towards me after I had a baby. I worked over time, through my lunch and took out of hours work as I felt I had to prove myself once again because I was a mother.
I used to leave the house 2 hours before a shift walk 2 miles to nursery then go in and do a 9 hour shift on little to no sleep.
As women in the workplace we already go into the office with a loaded weapon because we have a vagina with potential employers wondering when we are going to shoot babies out compared to our male colleagues.
But guess what men become parents too. They take time off too and have to leave early because of a urgent pick up request are they too unprofessional? Me and my partner balance our working time with our children it isn't just down to me as the mother we are a team.
As mothers we know we are seen to get the best deal with many choosing to work flexiable hours or agreed hours around childcare. Holidays can tend to favour those with children such as Christmas leaving our childless colleagues picking up the slack.
You see I've been on both sides of the equation pre and post children. I know how frustrating it can be from both sides.
Would you being say this about a colleague taking time off as their dog was sick? Or needing to look after an elderly relative I wonder? Why is it only mothers you've chosen to "out".
Every working parent tends to have childcare worked our to an inch of it's life but there are times where there is an emergency. Children get ill. Partners cannot get off work so yes, we may need to leave early. I am sorry you view this an unprofessional should I instead leave my sick child at nursery and wait for social services to call me or call a random stranger off the street so I can remain "professional"?
You see when something like this happens there is then the looks from collegues, the comments and you know when you next go back in once again you are needing to go above and beyond to prove yourself knowing everyone thinks you are a liability just for reproducing and having responsibilities.
We talk alot about "the sisterhood" women supporting women so we can gain equality especially within the workplace. But it's your comments and attitude that are stopping this. Women should not tear women down because they have children or don't have children. Mothers and non- mothers should not be pitted against each other in the workplace we instead should work together to find a balance. Give and take so everyone gets a fair deal children or not.
Women will never be equal when we choose to destroy one another rather than build up and support one another especially in the workplace.
We also need to ensure we are including men in the conversation about childcare in the workplace too.
Why didn't you pick up on dads going to collect their sick children or leaving early to collect them from school? Why just the mothers? The responsibility for a child doesn't automatically fall to the mother.
I guess I want to thank you for saying what you did as at least we can begin to start a discussion about these issues in the workplace but don't place guilt at the door of mothers and parents who already have to prove themselves because of yourself and others and what you have made us out to be.
From an unprofessional mum of two who occasionally has the odd childcare issue.