Some of these amazing mummy bloggers have been doing it for a while, some, like me, have started only just recently. Some have one baby and struggle at times (well, OK, just me), some have 3 and make it look easy most of the times, some, well, one, has 8 kids, but she looks 18 and seems to have it all fairly under control (how oh how?)
A few of us are doing NaBloPoMo (one post a month for the month of November) and some (well, ok, just me) clearly looked a bit worst for wear after signing up for it (read the worst for wear as extremely sleep deprived). Others blog when-I-can-be-bothered-or-have-something-to-say and I realised that this is the real beauty of blogging, one does it as a hobby or a passion, so it is about having fun with it, or at least most of the time or for most people.
I enjoyed the good company and I learned a lot about many things, both virtual and real, but there is something that struck me more than anything else.
As you might know, I have been made redundant from my job towards the end of my maternity leave and I am now a Stay At Home Mum. It wasn't my choice and I will be looking for work, ideally part time, in the new year. What I found quite interesting is that a lot of the other mummy bloggers that I met on Friday are Stay At Home Mums. Some chose to remain at home after having their kids and are perhaps using their writing as an opportunity to carve a different and more creative career for themselves or to connect with other people out there in the blogosphere. Others, however, candidly admitted that they couldn't realistically to go back to work.
What I mean by that is the fact that a lot of them had jobs that required working around the clock and perhaps a fair bit of travelling on short notice. These are two things, combined with costs of childcare, that make it really hard to go back to work for many mothers. One can do the jumping on trains and planes on 24 hour notice when that involves packing a suitcase and maybe cancelling a date or a friends night out, but when that involves organising childcare (and hoping that said children will not be taken ill) it requires a lot more notice, money and help. If one doesn't earn a lot of money or have family around who can drop in at short notice, it all becomes very complicated indeed.
Then I started thinking at the waste of talent that there is out there in the working world. There are incredibly bright mums who decide to be Stay At Home Mums and use their talents on raising their children and follow their passions. There are some very bright mums who decide to give up on the rat race and become entrepreneurs and start their own business. Then there are some equally bright ones, I have to say that, as I put myself in this group, who feel a bit caught in the middle.
I have soul searched and realised that Stay At Home Mum is not for me, but then I am not convinced that I should start my own business either. I am vey much trapped in a catch 22 situation whereby I would like to go back to work, but I don't know if I would actually be much better off for it (hoping to find one in these gloomy days). My potential salary would go in most part to childcare, leaving me with a few spare notes in my pocket. The few notes would, however, come with extra stress of missing my baby growing up as well as the stress of not being able to socialise with clients and colleagues after hours as much as
What I think they are missing though, is the fact that mums are the best multi-taskers in the world. I don't think that supermums exist and that we can necessarily have it all, but, let me tell you, some of us surely will die trying! We go from being carefree women to juggle feeds, naps, weaning, sleep training, pay dates and what not. These things require military precision at times, an hour too late and we'll have a hungry or tired baby in our hands and that is no fun for anyone. Someone who has forgotten a spare outfit in the nappy bag, might end up covering their baby with their own clothes risking pneumonia and learning that lesson fast (OK, it still took me a couple of other accidents to get it, but got there in the end!).
Babies don't come with manuals and anyone, mums or dads, who stay at home for any amount of time as a sole carer of a baby, will have multitasking skills training like you wouldn't get it in the best courses in the world. When the babies grow up, one learns fast the skills of patience, listening, distraction, encouragement, motivation, and negotiation. OK, we might learn manipulation, blackmailing and bribery too, but they come with the territory.
These are all amazing skills and I think that some employers out there are missing out on bright mothers just because they feel that they come "with a package" or because they feel that they wouldn't be "committed enough" if they constantly try to get out of clients' drinks or dinners. I am hoping that come January I will not meet too many of those in interviews, there's hoping...
If anyone wants to follow some really cool mummy bloggers, I suggest you have a look at these ladies. They are good, and fun too. So, strictly in alphabetical order, here they are:
Five go Blogging
Ministry of Mum
Mummy Mummy Mum
Not a Notting Hill Mum
Not so Slummy Mummy
PS: If you are wondering about the Santas picture and the relevance to this post, well, that is what I walked in when I arrived in Picadilly Circus and it was just too cool not to snap away and use the photos somewhere. I have no idea who they were and why they were there, so don't ask.