More than a Mother

Am I more than a mother? Am I a stay at home mother? Effectively I am a stay at home mother but I see myself as an unemployed mother. Of course there is a whole lot of ‘stuff’ about being ‘unemployed’. The amount of time you’ve been unemployed. What you do while your unemployed. People have a view about being unemployed. To many people it implies some negatives. It’s easy to judge.

My current situation is also of my making. I haven’t looked for a job for months because we’ve made a decision to relocate. My priority is organising that and then settling my son in a new place. I’ve enjoyed being able to settle him into school without juggling work. I recognise that work and school are odd bedfellows both arguing over the share of the duvet. I’ve come to appreciate that to effectively move my son 160 miles I need to be around, I need to have time for him and his needs. That keeps me unemployed, out of world of work and employed it’s a legitimate role.

I know that’s not doing my CV any favours. I am more than an unemployed mother. I know I am very lucky and many parents. Men and women have no choice about working.

As the distance from my last working role grows I feel as if my working skills diminish and yet I have a long work history. A lot of what makes me a good employee, the organised part of me, the communication and managing things and people, is like riding a bike, it comes naturally now. I’m doing it all the time anyway. Except childcare and running a household isn’t recognised as a skill set worthy of management CV.

Part of reason for creating this blog was to have a space (at the time outside of work) outside of being a mother. Some of this blog is about; me, me, me (more than a mother). Society judges mothers in a way it doesn’t fathers. Being a mother becomes an all-encompassing and somehow, and I appreciate not everyone will agree, for men it is less so. Society doesn’t view fatherhood in the same way.

I know many climbers and mountaineers. In 1995 Alison Hargreaves left her two children to climb K2. She died in her attempt. The media portrayed her as selfish and more. In 2008 11 people died on K2. How many of them were fathers? It didn’t get a mention.

I sometimes wonder if I were a man, a father even, who had taken 18 months away from work and what I had to show for that time was a blog. Would that be judged differently?

I am a mother and that is intrinsically linked to who I am now. I am not just a mother. Employed. Unemployed. I am me. Two women on the London Eye. Really how much difference is there?

 

I wrote this post inspired by Kate at Kate Takes 5. There’s much more to Kate pop over and see.

26 Comments

  1. Midlife Singlemum

    I agree that society judges fathers and mother differently in all the ways you describe. However, in the gap in employment issue I think as a mother you can exploit this in a way a father cannot. A potential employer will understand that a mother needed/wanted/decided to take a couple of years out from the workplace to spend more time with her child before he started proper school. Then you had to, as you say, be around fort he relocation and the resettling. If a father said that he’d be viewed as a bit weird and not very reliable. A mother comes across as sensible, stable, responsible and good at prioritizing. As time with your son was the most important thing for those two years you gave it your all. Now you are ready to give your all to a job. I’d employ you.

  2. Peggy Melmoth (@Boat_Wife)

    Really well-written and thought provoking. I do think as a mother your unemployment could be favourably viewed by employers as a “career gap” while you focus on your son. And you are blogging. A lot. Award winning blogger no less! :-) Poor Alison Hargreaves though. The media can be so cruel and judgemental.

  3. mumofalltrades

    I don’t usually give much thought to what anyone else thinks of me. I do what is right for my family and myself. That meant taking some years out of work. People did say to me, Oh not back to work yet? Then I went back and people said, you’re going back to work with 5 children!

  4. brigit77

    wow-no wonder women as mothers are completely undervalued !-i stay at home-period-i chose to be a mum-my responsibility-no 1 elses job-its the hardest job in the world-this is my opinion-stop pointing the finger at men-get on with your jobs-selfish attitudes make me sick-”cant wait to get back to work”-?and let someone else raise my kids?nope-its simple-dont have children if youre not prepared to raise them.

    1. helloitsgemma

      Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your point of view. However, my life isn’t that straightforward.
      Women working or not raise their children in many different ways, working doesn’t mean you are not raising your children.

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