Friday, 13 November 2009

Tell me what it's really like

Enough about me, already. I need to know more about you.
I've been asked to write a piece for a women's magazine about worklife balance. Rather than me droning on about myself for hours, I want to speak to as many different women as possible who manage things (or don't manage things, on a bad week) in as many different ways as possible, so that what I say is as honest as it can be about the bigger picture.
So if you feel like you've finally got it right, please come and tell the rest of us how you did it: if you're drowning, please come and explain why, and what needs to change.
So if you wouldn't mind talking to me and having what you say published (either totally anonymously or under your real name, depending on how brave/angry you're feeling) please get in touch at before next friday.
thanks a lot. normal service will now shortly be resumed!
ps on the subject of what to tell your children about worklife balance, this piece from today's Guardian is interesting.
Is this headteacher being realistic, or too limiting? Should schools be sending messages about this kind of stuff, or is it for parents and others closer to the family?


  1. I could hug that headteacher. I wish someone would have said it to me. I would have hated hearing it but then the past three years wouldn't have been such a complete surprise. All I heard growing up was how we could have it all, and obviously we can't and we need to find a way to have bits and pieces, or at least have it all but not all at once.

  2. I disagree with telling teenage girls to attentuate their hopes and dreams. If you're not aiming for the top (whatever that means for you), then what are you doing?

    However, I do agree that more realistic expectations of family and working life need to be set, but I'm just not sure that targetting the next generation of women specifically is the way.

    How about telling teenage boys that as men they should expect to fully support their wives/partners (not just financially, but practically, sharing in childcare, housework, etc), so that whole families can pull together to allow mothers' career ambitions to be attained as far as possible?

    And I definitely believe the primary role for saying those things and setting those examples lies at home.

  3. i've crept around the backposts of your blog, so first, thank you for writing. it reminded me when i brought the kids home. life around me changed but i didn't realise quite how far i would need to change too.

    after two years of living in a situation that resembled 1970s beirut i started to come to terms with the idea that we are responsible for creating a lifestyle that suits us. out the window might need to go cultural norms, stereotypes, dominant ideologies, everyone else's judgement and, possibly, fat paypackets.

    perhaps i can be easily dropped into another stereotype now (old hippie) but i believe in finding your own way, that does not imply a responsibility to fit in to someone else's ideas, plans, goals, agendas or other prescribed ways of living.

    in terms of the school; if the school ethos is one that encourages pupils to look forward to creating their own lifestyle, question conventional thought, challenge cultural norms, imagine how they might do things differently as they need, and then be brave enough to put their plans, however unlikely, into action, then that is an important part of empowerment at individual level.

    i believe the result of having independent thinking people doing their own thing is not to undermine society, but to shape one that is more responsive and tolerant of a wider range of people, needs and lifestyles.

    now i've essayed in your comments box too. i apologise for that. i have too much time on my hands today. either that or blogging is displacement.

    but thank you for your blog!