Illustrating and celebrating the brilliant and bizarre duality of the double life of working mums. A celebration of the women who hold up the economy with one hand and a baby with the other.
Working mothers now are extraordinary chameleons, They do the most difficult stressful responsible job on the planet – I don’t care if you are a professional negotiator, you try getting a coat on a stroppy 3 year old. Everyone has an opinion on how we should raise the next generation, mothers are quietly getting on with it as they always have with little praise and support and limitless criticism. Frequently form other women “— I secretly rolled my eyes at a mother who couldn’t make it to last minute drinks with me and my team. I questioned her “commitment” even though she arrived two hours earlier to work than me and my hungover colleagues the next day.” – KATHARINE ZALESKI in Fortune Magazine
I want to celebrate these women and their achievements, their incredibly difficult, complicated and consequently sometimes hilarious lives.
Jo Whiley, radio DJ, talks about about breast feeding at work – during records and sometimes while interviewing – which apparently threw Christopher Ecclestone, in her book “World in Motion”.
I was lucky enough be able to take my son to shoots, he was cuddled by many a sitter and Mike Trow, Picture editor at Vogue who encouraged me to bring Baxter to work, was a marvellous surrogate nanny. I was lucky to experience a lot of people willing to be flexible and encouraging about working and being a mum at the same time.
Sadly for most women this is not possible and so begins the weird duality of the mother who works: while smartly dressed ready to head out to an important meeting, kissing little ones goodbye without getting covered in whatever they are eating/smeared with. The mother heading off to to her shift at the supermarket to shouts of “bring us back something yummy mum!”. The masterful multitasking mums who work from home, on a conference call while wiping something unspeakable off the floor. Working mothers do 2 full time jobs. This is rarely celebrated or even taken into consideration by many employers.
I was inspired by MP Sarah Olney’s International Women’s’ Day 2017 speech in the House of Commons. “Yesterday, for example, I spent the first part of the morning trying to get my son to clean his teeth and my daughter to brush her hair. I then travelled into Westminster and challenged the Prime Minister in the Chamber about her spending priorities for education. Of the two things, the latter was more remarked upon—it was heard by Members here, recorded in Hansard and shared on Twitter—but getting my son to clean his teeth was the greater achievement in many ways. It took more ingenuity, effort and emotional commitment, but nobody noticed, cared or applauded me for it.”