This Mother’s Day, as so many mum’s were impacted by the pandemic, we NEED to talk about parenting
This Sunday is Mother’s Day in the UK. The day when traditionally mother’s get cards, flowers, perhaps chocolates and maybe even more rare – 5 minutes peace.
Since the last Mother’s Day there has been a significant impact on mums during the pandemic. My own experience saw me shifting my business hours to the evenings so that I could look after my children. There was no way that I could work AND watch my children at the same time.
For others it meant quitting work altogether by either leaving their employed positions or closing their business entirely.
Yet, I cannot help thinking that we will have learnt nothing from the lockdowns. And, once again, we will be making the same sacrifice as before.
The Parenting Dilemma
For Mr Katie and I we raise our children.
We each take our fair share of cuddles, poonami changing, lego building, naughty step duty and night-time wake up calls. At this stage you may be waiting for me to say that I am “fortunate” or “lucky” to find such a man. And whilst I am indeed fortunate and lucky, even Mr Katie would agree that when it comes to him “mucking in” there is no fortune or luck – it’s parenting.
Yet alas, this equality only happens in the early mornings, evenings and weekends.
At the start of the pandemic (which feels like 400 years ago) it made sense for Mr Katie – as he was not furloughed – to continue going to work and me to fit work around childcare. However, I cannot help but assume that if I was in full-time employment it would be me that would still have to take the time off from work and pause my career to look after our children.
Because I’m a woman.
And he’s a man.
Regardless of our tag team lifestyle, society still favours the man as the breadwinner, and the woman fitting around it.
The Need for Change
We need to change the narrative.
We need to stop assuming that it is the mother that is going to put her career on pause to look after her children. Instead, we need to encourage a society where it is acceptable for both mum AND dad to be parents. It shouldn’t be frowned upon if a man request to take time to do their share of the childcare. Nor should a woman feel guilty for wanting to get to the top of her career or succeed in business.
If we had had the opportunity to share the childcare responsibilities, I believe that my business wouldn’t have been impacted as much as it had done.
I wouldn’t have had to cram my entire business into 3 hours on an evening, not fully concentrating because I was that tired from childcare (I have absolutely no idea how teachers and nursery nurses keep up!).
The mental health of parents would also not be pushed to breaking point, creating a further issue that will and is coming to haunt us in the future.
This goes beyond baby changing in the female bathrooms only (another pet peeve of mine).
And so as Mother’s Day approaches I think I speak for many, if not all women, when I say that perhaps this time around cards and flowers may not be enough.