A new survey carried out by Mumsnet has discovered that more than a third of working mums would consider quitting their jobs as the cost of childcare proves to be too high. In this climate it is simply not economical enough.
The study questioned around 1000 mums and it found that already over 10% had decided to quit due to childcare expenses.
Interestingly over a third of mums spent their entire earnings on childcare which was almost the equivalent of a mortgage and other living expenses. Sadly a fifth admitted that once they had gone through the process of finding a job, they were forced to turn it down when the reality of childcare costs was identified.
A large outcome from the findings felt that the government was simply not doing enough to support women back to the workplace and that in this country we have one of the largest childcare costs in the whole of Europe. It was even suggested that some of the women would forgo other benefits if they could receive support with childcare and assist them back to the workplace. There is a huge amount of work this government needs to do to encourage more mums back to work.
It is a matter of weeks away until the Olympics takes place. Many businesses will have been preparing for this memorable event and planning as to how this could impact their business. Many businesses however may not be even this prepared.
The subject of “flexible working” has been suggested as a solution for employees wishing to attend major events when this Olympics starts in July. Some companies, already organised and familiar with this work pattern are going to follow this policy to help them successfully operate during the games. It does appear that a considerable amount of companies have refused flexible working to accommodate staff when the major events take place.
Isn’t this a missed opportunity for companies to road test this method of working during a sporadic business period? They could be using flexible working as an opportunity for the future. Some companies will see this time during the Olympics as committed focus for continued growth and productivity especially whilst the economy is struggling. Admirable yes, but also could be a missed opportunity at the same time.
Of course as the country continues to find ways to improve the economy this is a priority, but apart from financial stability, there are other advantages to a flexible working pattern.
Some benefits to be considered are home working and staggered hours during congested times. This can reduce stress and offer a better work-life balance. By motivating staff productivity this will increase along with morale and absenteeism reduces. Some key benefits when employees are hoping to be involved with the events.
If communicated clearly and effectively to a workforce, the trialling of flexible working could be measured and evaluated to identify successes and problem areas for a permanent plan. During this period, businesses can focus on absence, morale, productivity and management effectiveness. Some crucial ingredients to help formulate preferred working arrangements for the future.
As a working mum, I can probably speak for most in that we all require a degree of flexibility in our jobs. Some mums have extra help and childcare covered off so they can concentrate on their career whilst quite a high proportion are seeking a job with less hours and flexible arrangements to enable them to help “balance” their family life.
I feel that even though as an economy we are facing tough times, organisations are becoming more aware of flexible work arrangements and there is evidence that some are reviewing their policies to reflect these changes. Businesses are coming round to the idea of flexible workers for many reasons. They can hire from a talented pool of experienced and skilled women who are eager to offer commitment and hard work for their own reasons. This can give companies stability and the input they need to grow and develop their business. Flexible workers are not as costly as full time employees and having worked like this myself previously they can often be far more productive. In addition to this, flexible employees don’t have to be permanent or fixed, they could provide a high quality project and short term stints of work as and when businesses need it.
So how do you find flexible jobs?
Well, there are some specialist recruitment companies who are dedicated to working with family friendly organisations. They offer a range of jobs across a wide spectrum, from permanent, temp, franchising, home-working and voluntary. These are a great route to see what is happening in the market place -jobs4mothers,womenlikeus and working mums
In some situations these companies may not be even reaching out to all the flexible workers which are on offer in the market. A really good place to start if you are looking close to home is your local market. If you are set on being local to home then it is worth applying to businesses “direct”. Obviously blanketing the area with your CV isn’t the best idea, however doing your research and understanding which businesses are operating in the area is.
Try researching through local papers, contacts, newsletters, adverts etc to identify a pattern of businesses which are expanding, growing or renovating. If a business has a stable headcount and product you could tailor a letter to them highlighting your skills/experience and suggesting some options of flexibility which they may potentially consider. This could be to offer one off project work, term time (school hours) or even voluntary hours per week. It shows initiative and gives you a place to demonstrate your worth. It can’t do any harm and in some cases companies need some extra help here and there but they haven’t a clue as to how to go about it. The other positive about direct applying is you are using this as a test exercise to brush up on some skills and most of all your confidence if you haven’t worked for a number of years.
If you are feeling really confident and proactive you could search/apply for jobs where they are advertised as full-time and within the recruitment process suggest flexibility if this is amongst your offering. I definitely would not suggest going through an interview and making flexibility your sole objective as this could backfire, however if you apply with a view to discussing flexible options within the role on offer it could certainly work in your favour. For example – start early and leave later, work four days in the office and the fifth day at home. One week of fixed full time hours and the next more flexible etc. They will work if the nature of the job/business allows. It is certainly worth exploring only if you are presenting some logical and viable solutions to the employer. They can only say no, or even after a period of time agree to review the working hours and tailor the jobs to be more flexible.
How on earth will I Cope? My brain has stopped working and I won’t remember anything! I will miss my kids soooo much….
These were some of my fears, in fact I had a catalogue of them!
Apart from the actual physicality of going back to work, what other obstacles get in the way or are you worrying about;
How to apply for a job, How to sell yourself?, Does my CV look right? How to fill in the gaps? Oh my goodness, I have an interview!!! How not to fluff the interview….
To help allmumkind with a fact finding exercise, can you please let me know your thoughts/concerns/worries/fears?
Thanks again for your continued support
Single Parent……….. Double Trouble?
Being a parent is not easy. Being a single parent is twice as hard. Responsibilities, worries, bills, school runs, ballet classes, football club…. are borne by one pair of shoulders and even Mr. T couldn’t carry that burden alone.
For whatever reason or circumstance finds you in this position, it is one that is initially daunting but with a bit of support, a leap of faith and a good sense of humour, it is one that you can not only survive but embrace. You can sleep easy at night. You can still have a career. You can pay your bills.
Your life doesn’t stop; it just takes an unexpected direction that can initially throw you into unfamiliar territory with a large pinch of guilt and a sprinkle of self-doubt.
My journey began when my daughter was a baby. I have since learned through first-hand experience about everything from working tax credits to childcare, flexible working hours to making your pound go further.
From my experience, the work/home balance is a fine juggling act for every mother but once struck, it provides space, self-esteem and fulfilment as a working woman and recharged batteries, passion, excitement and fulfilment as a loving mother.
That pearl of wisdom relayed, I am no expert but knowledge is power and it goes a long way. It gave me strength to know that I wasn’t alone or some societal anomaly and that there are a lot of good organisations and websites out there (allmumkind and gingerbread to name but two) that provide practical information and support and don’t make you feel like the pip in the apple.
Over the next few months, I shall tackle a number of topics with the aim of clearing the mists of uncertainty and providing a bit of much-needed sanity. I shall be offering practical advice and support for those of you out there that need a nudge in the right direction or just want a friendly ear to listen to your problems or answer your nagging concerns. I am more than happy to answer questions or comments to my post.
Posted in Family, Guest posts, Mummy and working, Single "super" mummy | Tags: Balance, Benefits, Careers, Childcare, Employment, Financial, Flexible, Mummy, Responsibility, Single Parent, Support Network, Women, Working
I have always considered Time Management a real strength of mine. Until I had children I do question this. I am a bit of a perfectionist. Well in fact to be honest I am a “huge” perfectionist and as much as I still try to work on reducing my expectations across all areas of my life, since the children arrived it still causes me problems.
Don’t get me wrong, I live by lists, small and long lists but I am still always in a mad rush. The satisfaction when I have cleared a huge list, then another appears. I am not sure if I have too much to do at times and find it hard to say “no”. With 2 children, a house to run, developing my own business and additional freelance work it sounds like pretty much like most mums workload? Right?
So, why does it feel at times as if the wheels are falling off?
I still manage to deliver though, no matter how long the list, even if it kills me!
I live by Time Management and think it is an essential accessory for any working mums. We always manage to dig it out when up against it!
Today I have been working in London. I meticulously plan for the next day, get up earlier than needed, see to children, of course perfect myself and leg it for the tube. Whilst in transit, I use my blackberry all the way until I arrive at work. There isn’t a spare moment. The same applies on the journey home and then the mummy/domestic duties begin!
I have literally just sat down at 10pm after making tea for kids, read with oldest child, bath and bed and just to finish myself off I have been for a run to straighten my mind.
Does this sound familiar?!
Schools have broken up and the Easter holidays are upon us! Great for some working families, however this extra long Easter break may become a logistical nightmare for many.
This is a rather “late” Easter as the religious dates go and accompanied with school holidays, Royal wedding and more bank holidays thrown in, unusually, some children will be only attending school for approximately 6 days throughout the whole month of April!
Many parents will agree that the extended school holidays will create pressure as working parents “struggle” to “juggle” childcare for their children. An even more complicated scenario arises when siblings who attend different schools with varying holiday schedules.
The headache doesn’t stop here. The cost! I have arranged a smattering of activities for my eldest child. Thankfully he is football crazy and therefore there are some economical options to keep him occupied over the days when I must work. I have heard of some rather expensive clubs which, on top of usual childminder before and after school fees really add up. I dread to think how much families have to spend when there are more than one child to cater for with school holiday activities. Thank goodness for grandparents is all I can say!
This feels more like a summer holiday break and I have heard of many working parents who won’t even be able to take any time off as their job commitments take priority. I am sure the this is where long bank holiday weekends will be greatly received here!
What are your plans? How are you going to juggle?
That dreaded “G” word. You and I as working mums know how it feels….
I have committed to working in London this week to help out my former colleagues. Great fun, extra cash and a bit of old me back!
Always takes me longer to get ready when I go to work as little ones always demand extra attention and the big arm on the clock, for some reason swings around faster than usual. Two year old is “extra” clingy this morning and as I give mum the rundown I gently distract her, big kisses and leg it for the door. I haven’t noticed she isn’t feeling well.
Into London fully charged, I go through my mental checklist for the day and place the “guilt” far down the list as it “will soon be over and I will be on my way home”…I say to myself…
Rambling on through my first meeting, silently my Blackberry flashes up “home”! Heart sinks, try to keep calm, focussed and start panicking …..
As soon as we take a break, I call mum back and two year old “not herself” and has developed a temperature. Wants to sleep, won’t drink…..I suddenly want to go home. Excitement of day diminishes and I am losing my focus. Count to ten and my mind is back in perspective and I think I can keep going. Mum reassured me. “She’s gonna be fine”…..I carry on.
Afternoon flies by and I can’t wait to get home. Quick call and mum has made an appointment for Doctor as my daughter who is usually “full on” really isn’t well. Heart sinks. Feel really bad as I dismissed her a little this morning. Thought she was playing up.
Get home and take daughter straight to Doctors…..She isn’t right and he diagnoses her with septic tonsils. Now I feel really, really awful. How did I miss that! The guilt! It just doesn’t get any easier in all the years I have been a working mummy.