Apologies to the commendable participants in the March Of The Mummies organised by Pregnant Then Screwed this week. We were running late and turned up at Parliament Square just as the troops were dispersing. But we were with you in spirit all the way.
I know just how it feels to be Pregnant Then Screwed. Having been made redundant on maternity leave, suddenly my plans to return to work when my daughter turned one seemed like a pipe dream.
Tiredly I toiled to find a flexible job that would cover the cost of childcare, only to come up against hurdles at every turn.
Hunting for part time work in my industry felt like stalking a rare and elusive mythical creature.
In between nights of broken sleep and days of having my hair pulled by sticky little fingers that poked at the pages of job sites, I trawled in desperation for a role I could possibly even afford to do, while my daughter slid back down to the bottom of the waiting list for a nursery place.
Freelancing presented itself as the best option for a parent in my position. Only like the chicken and the egg, how could I afford the nursery fees until I’d worked enough shifts? But how could I take on shifts without childcare?
Finally, after a year of searching, a rare and precious gem has landed in my lap. Accommodating, flexible, freelance shifts I can do from home, offered by an old employer.
At last I am working again – earning my own money and engaging my brain. And I finally feel emancipated. Free from the feeling that because I chose to become a mother, that means I automatically chose to put my career on the back-burner.
Gone are my questions about how my profession and motherhood can work alongside each other. Cast out are the doubts about my ability to do the job I was capable of before I had a child.
I have been reminded that I have a valuable skill set which is still relevant. I have remembered that I am actually good at what I do.
No longer will I tiptoe into interviews and mumble about trying my hand at working again. This woman will stride proudly to meet potential employers and declare just what it is she can offer. Not a mother who wants to work, but a worker whose family life has been left outside of the office, by all parties concerned.
Knowledge is power and I know I can do the job. Now I just have to find an employer who will give me one.