The cost of being a working mum in London
At one point or another, I’m sure we’ve all thought about what we would do if and when we have children. Do we keep working with terrible parental leave? Do we go back to work? Can I even afford to not go back to work? There are several questions that go unanswered until you’re in the thick of things and become a mother. But not to be the bearer of bad news, it doesn’t seem like either side wins by much or is even really all that appealing when you bring children into the world.
Watchshop recently ran a nationwide campaign called “Mums on The Go” to see what constitutes a ‘day in the life’ for a woman trying to balance working, commuting, and parenting all at once. And it seems like it’s a delicate balance act that is always a little off kilter. In London specifically, the average time spent on appearance was 4.59 hours a week, 6.75 hours dedicated to commuting, 18 to parenting, and 25 to work.
Outside of London, the numbers weren’t much better and overall, 11% of working mums said that they have absolutely no time to themselves or even to momentarily relax. They also go onto show that 27% of those surveyed felt as though their employers weren’t understanding enough of what it means to be a working mum and that up to 60% of those in London feel as though they would be further along in their careers if they didn’t have children in comparison to 45% in the North West. Which is so sad because on average, London women are only spending about 6 hours per week with their families as quality times. The rest is dedicated to work, commutes, and more. And 67% of mums in London work full time so that means children are in day care earlier to make up for lacking parental leave times, furthering more guilt in deciding between family and a career. Shouldn’t there be more balance or at least more of an attempt for one?
It’s a damn shame that it has to be such a balancing act for working mums as they often face the brunt of housework in addition to their other obligations and the time adds up, more so than we realise. And the discrepancies seem to be largest in the city itself. Maybe because of the competition or because of the culture of any big city but working mums deserve a chance to be able to not only take care of their families when needed but also further their career while they’re on the clock as well.
Being a mother is one of the greatest gifts but if you’re experiencing guilt about going back to work and worrying over who is watching the children or who should watch them while you’re out because you still want a career for yourself isn’t healthy for anyone. And it’s a balance that never seems to be in one’s favour because there’s always an argument against you and what you saw as best for your situation.
Anyway, being a working mum is difficult-more so than many give credit or understand. It’s a constant game of give and take, wondering if you are making the right decisions and a constant battle for relaxation. But maybe, with enough outcry, we can make it a little easier on their shoulders.