Male Managers and Working Mothers

>>  Thursday, August 02, 2012

Excuse me if I'm a bit angry already but.....

Male Managers know jack shit about the lives of Working Mothers.

I think I could probably finish there and leave most of the female working readership nodding but I will expand...

A male manager may have children, he's probably done bath time, reading and got up first on a Sunday morning to let his tired wife lie in. Hell, I'll bet he's probably even looked after the children for entire days when his wife went away on that hen weekend, so he understands working parenthood right? WRONG.

When a man goes to work, he's at work.  He is not usually the person to take the phone call from school then have to do the rush ring round to see if a relative can get there or if they need to leave work NOW to do a pick up. 

When the man gets the opportunity to go on a conference or training is his very first thought "isn't that enrichment week at school and there's a dentist appointment around that time too".  I'll guarantee you it isn't.

So when I tell my male manager that flexible working hours are more important to me than anything, and the answer I get is 'you should go contracting' I know he doesn't get it.  A contractor (in my job) tends to travel around for contracts, get there early and finish late....err, breakfast needs to happen, school run or at least leave the house late enough to ensure COG is out of bed and will make the bus. 

The days I work from home I stop work about 3:45pm to do mum stuff, I then restart work again later and usually end up working more hours than if I'd been in the office.  My home office is permanently 'on'.  But I can answer the 'Mum, where's the fire extinguisher?' questions with the speed they deserve.

For me all the money in the world might buy childcare, but it wouldn't buy any of those years of being there back ever....working and mumming is a balance and sometimes that flexibility makes the difference between being able to manage it and still do a fantastic job at both and having a dirge time at work and a life of guilt at home.

And the person that holds the key to that is the manager.  So often the male manager that really just doesn't 'get' it because men (unless they are 100% single parent) will never understand the total gravity of  'the parental buck falls with me'.

So Mr Manager please stop telling me I could work 'anywhere', I could do 'any job' because what I need is the flexible job, close to home that allows me to keep juggling all those balls.


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