Many mums don’t realise it, but running a household is a lot like running an enterprise. You have all the same responsibilities as a departmental manager or CEO, but the disadvantage that those under you have no real incentive to obey your commands, and quite often no ability to even accurately understand them.
Therefore I think it is natural that, as you’ve already demonstrated yourself to be a person of high quality just from the fact that you’ve managed to keep yourself together despite the chaotic adventure otherwise known as motherhood, that you should at the very least get some respect from your employer.
If an employer does not understand the pressures you are under as a mother, or even worse, tries to insinuate that your responsibilities as a mother are affecting your ability to do your job, it’s probably time to consider making a change.
While there are still a few employers out there who stubbornly cling to an outmoded hierarchical system that fosters an “us v’s them” mentality, there is no reason you should have to work for such a dinosaur. There are employers out there who understand that happy employees are productive employees, and they will treat you with the respect you deserve.
One of the most progressive entrepreneurs in the UK is Reuben Singh, who made a name for himself at an early age, and was eventually appointed as an “Entrepreneurial Ambassador” to the UK government. Since then he has been involved in numerous business ventures, including the highly successful alldayPA company based in Salford.
What makes alldayPA stand out as an employer is their very open approach to management and the high level of respect that good workers are always assured of. It is a company that rewards good performance, involves staff in management decisions that affect them, and is as flexible as it can possibly be with demands on your time. Which is exactly the kind of environment that a working mother needs to find.
Of course there are plenty of other businesses out there that fit the same mould, and I think you should ensure that whatever company you work for is based on this particular template. Anything else is less than you deserve.
During job interviews when they get to the point of asking if you have any questions, make sure you ask about things like flexible working hours, emergency leave, and (if it is applicable to your situation) even if they have facilities for child care. More and more companies these days are starting to add such facilities to the workplace.
Some provide childcare free of charge as a workplace perk, but since that can sometimes get non-parents offside, many do charge a small fee to cover the cost of employing the extra staff to cater to this need.
In any case, if the employer does provide childcare, make sure that whoever is responsible for that is appropriately qualified before trusting them with the care of your child. There was a very high profile case in Australia a few years ago of a workplace childcare facility employing unqualified staff to take care of the kids with disastrous results. Not something you want to find out in hindsight!
A good employer is somebody you trust and respect, and who will reciprocate. Above all, they understand your needs and do their best to make sure you can continue to give them your best.