Yes – this is my workplace 

When women began to have a choice about whether to stay at home once they had children or go back to work the discussion was all about whether you could have it all. 

Does anyone even bother talking about that now? 

We expect to work and have children, the only question is whether we come back after 6 months or 6 years and how complicated the kind of job we have makes that and how far the children’s father helps out. 

It is not for the feint hearted let me tell you. Yet women all over the world are working and looking after the house and children. No wonder there is so much divorce! Working has freed women up to have a financial choice and given them a voice. They no longer have to manipulate in the background allowing the man to feel in charge.  And every now and then they go crazy with the unfairness of it all. The fact that in spite of both having jobs it is still they who have to sort childcare, ensure homework is done, uniform clean, food in house…. And don’t get me started on Christmas! All the while watching men pass them up the career ladder because they can put more hours in /haven’t had a career break/ do the right kind of networking.

Look this is a gross exaggeration as lots of men help out,  and believe me I don’t feel bitter – I feel lucky – but who ultimately feels responsible for little Charlie having his packed lunch? 

Women are amazing let me tell you!! 

I am dog tired at the moment. The shock to the system of going back to a routine after 6 weeks of not having to get the child out of bed has crippled me.

Yesterday it started at 630am – getting up at this time gives me under an hour to get both myself and the child washed, dressed and looking presentable. I need to leave by 720 if we are to walk, 730 if not. Guess how often we walk?! Yesterday the cat had also pooed under the bed so in addition to the “looking presentable” part I was also on my hands and knees with the vileda. 

Having dropped her at breakfast club, after it has to be admitted a rant about how I was going to miss my BLEEP  train because she had not listened to instructions about getting dressed/brushing teeth/picking up school bag (I don’t normally swear to her – the cat poo drove me over the edge) I caught my usual 755 train.

530 saw me trying desperately to edge my way out of a conversation with my boss, who I haven’t seen for weeks, in order to be at Marble Arch for an evening meeting at 6. Said meeting finished at 730 which meant (cover your ears) Burger King at the station before picking up my daughter from the neighbour’s house, bunging her twenty quid, getting home and straight to bed at 915. 

This morning it starts all over and I could not miss my train as I’m going down a tunnel on a site visit to a major construction project. Today I get to wear orange again. 

  This isn’t me by the way….

And that brings me to my conclusion. I have a job with loads of variety in it, where I get to make a small difference to the industry and my colleagues. Where I hug my boss because I haven’t seen him for weeks. Where I get to shake the hand of some altruistic people who are inspired by their profession. Where I get asked to speak at events, where I earn a good salary and can afford childcare and gorgeous holidays with my girl. I work in an amazing building. Most of all I love my colleagues. Seeing them smile and getting the banter every day is what I look forward to. 

I know it’s a rat race I’m in. I know I have choices. But I also know I’m very lucky – especially as a single mother. I also know that I live on a knife edge, where if everything goes to plan it just about works. I can be tipped over the edge by a baby sitter letting me down, a last minute arts creation required by the school, or a cat poo.

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