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Motherhood and The Pandemic: Our Careers May Be On Hold For Now

1

You could hear the combined sigh from Mothers everywhere when the PM, Boris Johnson, announced that the country was to be placed under further measures of lockdown on 4th January 2021, and that all schools were thus closed. I actually burst into tears that night; the previous nine months of working a senior job from my laptop at home as well as home-schooling my twins having taking its toll – and now the thought of the next three or so (perhaps more, who knows?) of the same juggle and strain on our family life.

I’m a Head of HR – and the job

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that I started out initially in part-time, has grown significantly during 2020 into a full-time role, thus requiring my full attention and participation. I would have given this wholeheartedly if the pandemic hadn’t arrived, but it did, and so my commitment and ability to be present at all times of each working day has been missing somewhat. Emails have been done at 6am and 9pm, Teams calls done with interrupted requests for snacks, as well as making dinner with one hand and solving employee relations issues on the phone with another.

This has been

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my entire life during 2020 and now again in 2021, and, quite frankly, I’m pretty fatigued.

I’m not alone. I talk to my girl-friends and social media community and the feeling is 100% mutual. We’re all fed up of doing it all. The kids seem okay (ish)…but us Mums are grumpy, snappy, knackered and struggling.

However, as women we will just ‘get on with it’, won’t we? Not only because we have to, but there’s simply no other option here. Also, we won’t complain too much, because a) we’re British (stiff upper lip and all that), and b)

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we’re women (who shouldn’t naturally complain out loud, because it’s not very nice), and c) well, they’re our kids aren’t they?, (our little darlings), and we chose to have them and so we have to suck it up and teach them in the best way we can without losing our minds.

I jest here, but of course our children ARE our priority as Mothers (this goes without saying), and we will always put them first (Motherhood is WAY more important to me than a job). But, as a result of this act right now, our own careers, plans and needs are falling by the

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wayside. They’re either being put on hold or given up on completely. It’s survival mode only at the moment – the children doing their schoolwork is important (as is feeding them a hundred times a day and keeping them out of A&E!) and so anything else we get to in the day is a bonus (i.e. usually nothing, because, frazzled brains).

Any further learning we may have fancied, businesses we wanted to kick-start, promotions we wanted to chase, now seem a long way off until life gets back to some kind of normality again. Many working women’s

SelfishMother.com
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careers are sadly facing a long pause.

Mother Pukka promoted an online survey in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently, and it showed that 71% of employers recently have refused furlough. She has also reported that 47% of women have stated that they have quit their jobs, compared to 13% of men. Which means that right now we’re resigning from work, reducing our hours (and pay), using special leave, holidays or unpaid leave – or none of these and dearly hoping an end is in sight.

Luckily though, the good news is that us Mums

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are tough, strong, resilient women, who I have no doubt will bounce back (better) post-Covid; with jobs, careers and business ideas. Our amazing ability to multi-task and generally make stuff happen will mean we’ll be okay. We WILL kick-start our lives again when we can; we will also get everyone else (our families) going on their paths again.

But, until then, we’re collectively currently sat at our kitchen tables, trying to wade through algebra, deciding what’s for dinner, answering a thousand angry emails, and secretly dreaming of that bottle

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of wine for later on.
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Jess Soothill

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- 26 Jan 21

You could hear the combined sigh from Mothers everywhere when the PM, Boris Johnson, announced that the country was to be placed under further measures of lockdown on 4th January 2021, and that all schools were thus closed. I actually burst into tears that night; the previous nine months of working a senior job from my laptop at home as well as home-schooling my twins having taking its toll – and now the thought of the next three or so (perhaps more, who knows?) of the same juggle and strain on our family life.

I’m a Head of HR – and the job that I started out initially in part-time, has grown significantly during 2020 into a full-time role, thus requiring my full attention and participation. I would have given this wholeheartedly if the pandemic hadn’t arrived, but it did, and so my commitment and ability to be present at all times of each working day has been missing somewhat. Emails have been done at 6am and 9pm, Teams calls done with interrupted requests for snacks, as well as making dinner with one hand and solving employee relations issues on the phone with another.

This has been my entire life during 2020 and now again in 2021, and, quite frankly, I’m pretty fatigued.

I’m not alone. I talk to my girl-friends and social media community and the feeling is 100% mutual. We’re all fed up of doing it all. The kids seem okay (ish)…but us Mums are grumpy, snappy, knackered and struggling.

However, as women we will just ‘get on with it’, won’t we? Not only because we have to, but there’s simply no other option here. Also, we won’t complain too much, because a) we’re British (stiff upper lip and all that), and b) we’re women (who shouldn’t naturally complain out loud, because it’s not very nice), and c) well, they’re our kids aren’t they?, (our little darlings), and we chose to have them and so we have to suck it up and teach them in the best way we can without losing our minds.

I jest here, but of course our children ARE our priority as Mothers (this goes without saying), and we will always put them first (Motherhood is WAY more important to me than a job). But, as a result of this act right now, our own careers, plans and needs are falling by the wayside. They’re either being put on hold or given up on completely. It’s survival mode only at the moment – the children doing their schoolwork is important (as is feeding them a hundred times a day and keeping them out of A&E!) and so anything else we get to in the day is a bonus (i.e. usually nothing, because, frazzled brains).

Any further learning we may have fancied, businesses we wanted to kick-start, promotions we wanted to chase, now seem a long way off until life gets back to some kind of normality again. Many working women’s careers are sadly facing a long pause.

Mother Pukka promoted an online survey in collaboration with the Trades Union Congress (TUC) recently, and it showed that 71% of employers recently have refused furlough. She has also reported that 47% of women have stated that they have quit their jobs, compared to 13% of men. Which means that right now we’re resigning from work, reducing our hours (and pay), using special leave, holidays or unpaid leave – or none of these and dearly hoping an end is in sight.

Luckily though, the good news is that us Mums are tough, strong, resilient women, who I have no doubt will bounce back (better) post-Covid; with jobs, careers and business ideas. Our amazing ability to multi-task and generally make stuff happen will mean we’ll be okay. We WILL kick-start our lives again when we can; we will also get everyone else (our families) going on their paths again.

But, until then, we’re collectively currently sat at our kitchen tables, trying to wade through algebra, deciding what’s for dinner, answering a thousand angry emails, and secretly dreaming of that bottle of wine for later on.

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Jess Soothill

Hi, I’m Jess a Mum of boy and girl twins. I work part-time in HR and I'm a writer.

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