Ladies -- thank you for your patience. My work-life unbalance was particularly out of whack over the last week hence the lack of posts. But I'm ready to get going again. I'd like to introduce you to Anita Naik, here's how she describes her life as a working mum in the UK.
Anita Naik, 45, is a mother of 2, a writer and an author.
Most days she would described her life as a working mother as "somewhat balanced", though she says she feels always on the verge of a nervous breakdown even though it's all going well.
While Anita loves being a mom and loves her work, she often feels massively resentful for being expected by loved ones to be all things on top of this from social organizer/homework guru/grocery slave/chef/daughter/wife/school go-between/party and play-date organizer/problem solver and nurse etc. etc.
She spends somewhere between 2-5 hours on herself every week.
Anita says the hardest lesson she has ever had to learn about managing motherhood and her career is that you're always going to feel guilty even when it's going well. It's down to the expectations society and loved ones put on you and also what you put on yourself and how adept kids are at making you feel guilty...her son said while she was typing the answers to the questionnaire "Mum are you typing AGAIN?!".
She explains that another source of resentment and anxiety is the idea of "me-time" as they call it in the UK. She feels that while she'd like more "me-time" just to do simple things like work out and think, it is a fallacy. There really is no "me-time" when you have small kids unless you count time alone in the supermarket/grocery shop car park. She sees some of her friends struggle and fail to get "me-time" and then feel bad about their lives, when it's just part of being a working mum to small kids.
For her childcare arrangements, Anita tends to work around school hours from 9-3 when her daughter is at school and her son is at nursery until 12 every day. After that she has a nanny for 2 hours each day and during the holidays which means she has 20 hours of childcare a week but she is contracted to do more than 40 hours so the rest of her work is done at weekends and during the evenings post bedtime. She finds it an exhausting arrangement even though she is very grateful that she 1) gets to take her kids to and from school and 2) has time with them when they get home and 3) is able to have flexible working patterns.
Anita says she does have a "village" helping her raise her child, one that she never even considered would be there when she first became a mum. Her village is made up of all of her other mum friends and her two nannies. She couldn't live without them all for their help and support and their bad taste jokes and advice.
Anita says she always experiences a conflict between the demands of motherhood and the demands of her work. She manages to make her time work just by the skin of her teeth but often in what she describes as a "mild state of panic" while waiting for trains and in traffic and in queues and hurrying the kids along and she knows all that stress can't be healthy.
THANK YOU Anita! I'll be posting more of the survey responses this week as well as women's real schedules.
If you have something you'd like to contribute to this blog please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org