What do you do all day – in your children’s eyes?

How do your children view what you do all day and how do you feel about being a working parent? We want parents’ [and their children’s] views.

 

Mandy Garner is editor of workingmums.co.uk. She has four children, the youngest of whom is 13-year-old Gael. He drew the picture above of his impression of what his mum does for a living. Below Mandy talks about what being a working parent means to her.

What is the best thing about being a mum?

Everything, even the stuff that drives you crazy eg people taking ages to get in the car because they are ‘moisturising their legs’.  Being a team, watching Harry Potter on repeat, listening to discussions about teachers’ anger management problems,  singing One Direction on every journey, Eurovision, all the put-downs and ironic comments [the picture by my son had to be edited for ‘too much realism’], dealing with teenagers’ rollercoaster emotions, all the angst and strops, all of the sheer joy, all of it.

What are the main qualities you have developed or enhanced as a mum?

I’m not sure I am any better at organisation than I was before, but I now do far more than ever before so I must be more efficient than I imagined. Plus I have developed Olympian skills at finding things fast. I am capable of managing several different jobs and children with very different personalities and interests on very little sleep. I’m not sure if I’m any good at it, but I haven’t completely collapsed yet.

Do you think you are better at doing your job since having children?

Definitely, except that I am more stretched – mainly because I have more than one job and all jobs seem to continuously expand, plus the work environment has been, shall we say, very changeable in the last few years. I always say that I could interview a person in a sandstorm such are my powers of filtering and focus. That is due to having at times to work with children in the background or zooming someone while simultaneously dealing with a school emergency.

Is parenting harder than you anticipated?

I’m not sure I anticipated much before I became a parent, but it is definitely challenging in many different ways.

Do you expect too much of yourself?

Always. I am an imperfect perfectionist, like many women.

What are you most proud of as a mum/dad?

Getting everyone through each day and remaining more or less sane. I feel like the being late badge, for instance, which is given to kids who aren’t late all term should most definitely have a parent equivalent, with a specially commended for those who manage to be just one or two minutes late despite having three or more kids to get ready. Also, of course, I’m extremely proud of the lovely, kind, creative, thoughtful young people who have emerged from the chaos – even if they are not that great at washing up and refuse point blank to eat anything I have cooked on the grounds that I burn everything – a wild exaggeration of the truth.

Do you see your friends less since becoming a parent?

Much less. It can be lonely, except that I have my team.
*If you are looking for something to keep the kids busy this summer, get them to draw or paint a picture of what they think you do for a living, send it to us at [email protected] with their first name and age on it and be entered for our prize draw.


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