How I make it work ….. my mum!
The final interview in the current series of ‘how I make it work’ — where people tell us how they make their work and life work — is with my mum! I am one of three children and here Mum talks about how she juggled looking after all of us and managing her work. She also reflects on how things are different now compared to when we were little.
1. Tell us about yourself and your family.
I’m 69 years old and have three married children and 7 grandchildren.
2. What work did you do?
For most of my working life I worked in academic administration — in two universities, a college of further education, two secondary schools and two primary schools. I stopped working when my first child was born and was a stay-at-home mum until I returned on a part-time basis when my third child was at school.
3. What was the best thing about it?
The work was always varied, interesting and I felt my contribution was valued and appreciated. I enjoyed working in an environment where making a profit wasn’t the driving force. When I returned to work my children were still at school so I was able to work part-time and term time only.
4. What was the hardest thing?
Working in a school office is demanding and you are constantly interrupted but there is always a vast amount of paperwork/computer work to fit in as well.
5. How did you make it work?
Occasionally I had to stay late to get the work finished but I was lucky that my husband was often working from home. I didn’t mind doing extra hours to get work finished as my employers were always very flexible and understanding when I needed to change my hours/days to fit in with my family commitments.
6. Do you think things have changed since then?
For me personally I think things would be different now as, because of the increased use of technology, I would be able to finish work on my home computer and not have to stay at work to finish certain tasks.
7. Do you have any advice or tips?
Society’s attitudes are changing and most mothers would expect to continue with their careers very soon after the birth of their children. I think it is important for mothers who are working that they accept any offers of help and not take full responsibility for all aspects of work and home life. Both parents should share responsibility and try to be there for their children before and after work. When previous generations of mothers took a long career break to look after their young children, this often meant that fathers had to work longer hours or take on extra work so they had less quality time with their children. Many of the current generation of grandparents are able and willing to help with childcare which, in my view, is beneficial to all concerned. It helps with childcare costs and grandparents get to spend special time with their grandchildren.
Thanks Mum! I’ve certainly benefitted from grandparents helping out with childcare!
If you have a story like this that you would like to share please let us know.