A mothers struggle to peruse a profitable passion.

A mothers struggle to peruse a profitable passion.

Back in the day, the dad worked, the mum looked after the house and the kids, and they managed. Nowadays, both parents work and we still struggle! The cost of living is high and society's expectations for mothers to work have made it challenging to make ends meet all round. I've tried my best to do it all - juggling multiple jobs while being a great parent. It's been tough, but I'm determined not to be dictated to. Why should we have to do it all? Why can't we have the option to choose and feel fulfilled?

Today is a significant day in the UK as it's polling day, a day filled with hopes for change. Admittedly I’ve never acknowledged the importance and significance of my vote, but this time feels different. As a mother of two, reflecting on the past decade or so brings a mix of joy, challenges, and a deep desire for a better future. The journey of motherhood has been rewarding yet arduous, filled with the constant balancing act of work, parenting, and personal aspirations.

 

The societal shift from traditional family roles to the necessity for dual-income households has brought about new challenges for mothers. The pressure to subsidise the main breadwinners’ income, or even be the main breadwinner, while being the default parent and caregiver is overwhelming. Juggling multiple jobs, pursuing personal ventures to provide security for the future, and being present for every moment of your children's lives is no small feat.

 

The struggle to make ends meet while striving to build a fulfilling career so that we’re not put on the shelf when our kids have grown is a common theme for many mothers. The narrative of sacrificing personal aspirations for the sake of family and financial stability is all too familiar and the desire for autonomy and the freedom to choose one's path is a fundamental longing. We’re constantly being told “don’t rely on men” “get out and work” as if we have no other responsibilities. So the outcome is that we’re trying our best to do it ALL.

 

I have a direct comparison with my husband. He has been gifted consistency and time over the last 13 years so has built a successful business. I, on the other hand, had a successful jewellery business in the early days of motherhood, but I had to pack it all in due to time constraints and the need to earn a regular, reliable income. I am not willing, and never have been willing to put my children in to childcare so that I can work. Our time with them is so very short, I don’t want to miss a moment of it and I want them to know that I’m available for them whenever they need me…..that’s one choice I did make, but I also had to make sacrifices for this to happen. Thankfully I had the opportunity to start again during the lockdowns as work with my other jobs was scarce. Yes I’ve been gifted time with my kids, despite the juggle struggle, but I am expected to come out the other side and work up until I can’t, just as he is. The unfairness comes where he will be working a passion and I (if society had it its way) would be working a dead end job or starting from scratch trying to build a career on the cusp of old age. I don’t begrudge him this as he is highly supportive, but it seems to be the default template that has evolved. Mothers are the ones who have to chose and make the biggest sacrafices.

 

I recently learned of the concept of universal basic income that would offer a glimmer of hope for individuals like me, who seek to pursue a profitable passion to support their family without the constant worry of financial instability, debt or juggling time with multiple commitments. These are the many mothers who make the big decision to to train, study or build a business whilst their kids are young so that they can help provide a future for them, contribute to society’s expectations, and not be “put on the shelf” by the time they’re 50 when the kids have grown. Either that or spend the rest of their lives working a basic, monotonous job because they haven’t had the time or opportunity to persue what they’re good at. There’s not many of us who have the necessary guidance and a vision for the future when we’re 20. For most of us we live from day to day, then when kids arrive we realise we need to sort out our s***! The idea of receiving a basic income that enables a dignified standard of living and opens up possibilities for personal growth, career development, and overall well-being is currently a pipe dream but one we can have real hope for. After all we’re all now expected to work until we jump into our graves, so we should all, at the very least, have the opportunity to do something that fulfills us.

 

For those of you who can’t relate then good for you, you are very lucky. I am very lucky that I am now able to build a business from the ground up, we all have different circumstances. My complaint isn’t in the commitment of time to my kids or the commitment of time to working on my future. My issue is that these two priorities are forced to take a back seat, whilst I work unfulling jobs that cast me aside at the drop of a hat, just to make ends meet and because that is what is expected in society. Yes I chose the juggle struggle, because for me, to do it any other way the sacrifices were too high. My other choice was for our family to struggle financially or for me to give up my right to be there for my children’s every need. We are being forced to strive to have it all and do it all and it’s draining for all involved, including the kids.

 

In an ideal world my personal choice would be to buy a plot of land, be self sufficient and home educate my kids, but in this country that choice is stolen from us. We’re taxed to the hilt. Our daily lives are consumed with earning money simply to exist. It worries me as to what president I’ve set my daughter. I hope she has the wisdom and sass to avoid falling in to the trap. I will guide her as best as I can to prepare her for her future…..even though we can’t predict what that future holds. Let’s hope that its one with more choice and clarity.

 

As you navigate through the complexities of modern-day motherhood and societal expectations, the hope for a brighter future lies in the hands of political change and progressive policies. Today’s election serves as a beacon of hope for a more equitable and inclusive society, where individuals are empowered to pursue their passions and dreams without the burden of financial constraints.

 

In a world where hard work should be met with opportunities and rewards, the vision of a society that values choice, autonomy, and well-being for all is a compelling one. Let us embrace the potential for change, advocate for a more just and compassionate society, and inspire a future where mothers and individuals alike can thrive and flourish.

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