Recently, one of my comments about equality and feminism was featured in a post on The Diary of an Unexpectant Mother (thank you for that!) where I mention that equality is all aspects of life in important. And it really is. But sometimes it is near impossible to be able to achieve that…
For instance, both my wife and I want to have good jobs… And we want that for each other as well. In fact, she’s actually better educated than me, so she should have the better job!
Unfortunately, she came to realise two things. You see, she’s Turkish and we live the UK… Now, I get that there are rules about racism during the hiring process, but trust me, they don’t help! She hasn’t be able to secure anything like the job she had when we lived in Turkey! She used to be the Import/Export Manager for a company that produces the cables for fibre optic, so when we cam over here and saw that the largest customer of that company was hiring an Import Manager, we thought it would be perfect.
After all, they were looking for someone to communicate with my wife’s replacement. “What a great opportunity” we thought… But nope… They “needed someone who had lived in the UK longer”… Seriously? I mean, how much more perfect a fit could you get? My wife was, literally, the exact person you were dealing with less than a month ago!
So yeah, at that moment she realised how difficult it was going to be for her to get a high paying job.
So, she ended up getting a part time job at a cinema… Something that, to this day, really annoys me… Why should someone with her level of education have to work at a cinema, just because she “hasn’t lived here long enough”. But anyway… Time went on, and 4 years later our daughter was born. So I turned to my wife and said that, now, she’s probably lived here longer enough to get a better job.
But, of course, the second realisation came into play – we don’t have any family in the nearby area to help look after our daughter.
And so, having a job that offers flexible hours (aka a 0 hour contract) would be beneficial, as my wife can look after our daughter during the day (whilst I’m at work) and I can look after her in the evenings (when my wife is working).
This way, we both get to work and we both get to spend time with our daughter. However, it really does take it’s toll on us.
And by us, I mean all three of us. This is because, whenever my wife has a shift in the evenings, it starts at 6:30. So, she and my daughter have to get on the bus from our town and travel for near-on 2 hours to get to Peterborough. Therefore, I meet them at the bus station and get them into the car, drop my wife off and then drive myself and my daughter home.
Finally, roughly 3 and a half hours after getting home, I take our daughter and jump in the car again (about 10pm now) and drive back to Peterborough to pick up my wife from work.
Now, obviously this is pretty exhausting for all of us, but in the winter it is also a big concern, as my daughter is out in the cold for hours. Plus, it gets dark earlier, so I’m always worried about them waiting at the bus station… But you might think the weekends are easier, right?
Nope! My wife tends to start work at 9 or 10am, so Saturdays and Sundays are just more days with early starts… And she typically finished late in the evening.
If we had someone nearby, it would be so much easier as our daughter could stay at home whilst we commute. But at the moment, that’s just not an option. So we have to make do, which unfortunately means that one of us cannot have the career that we want. I have offered to do a part-time job instead, but my wife made the valid point that (as a British citizen by birth) it would be so much easier for me to get a well payed job in the UK than her.
And so, we are simply unable to live in a fully equal house in terms of career… And it upsets me, for her. But I know that it can’t really change until our daughter is old enough to go to preschool… Especially since, where we are, the childcare services all have really bad reputations.
How about you guys? How do you balance family and work life? Let me know in the comments below!