Somehow for women being a part timer has become a bad thing. It should be great – we’ve been able to juggle and make our roles work better for us but there’s still the guilt and negative connotations that seem to come with the word “part time”.
For me it really struck home when I was working with a lawyer recently. A successful older women who told us she would check that our female lawyer was “not one of those part time women down there” who apparently are never there.
It made me wild. Part time or not, you have to believe that a law firm wouldn’t appoint someone, a lawyer wouldn’t take on a piece of work if they couldn’t do it within the time frame. Part time shouldn’t matter, but clearly it did. I didn’t say anything at the time but it made me madder and madder the more I thought about it because you see I’m a part timer too…
My eldest daughter was just 5 when the deputy principal at her school (also a women) said it was difficult to keep these Part time Mum’s up to date. I didn’t know whether to cry or hit her. In my shock I did neither but continued to feel guilty about picking her up from school just 2 days a week.
I’m also a Part time parent. Every second weekend our 3 girls go to their other parents for the weekend and James and I have 2 nights by ourselves. It’s bliss. And I think if more couples had two nights to themselves every fortnight there wouldn’t be anywhere near as many divorces. But it doesn’t take long when we are talking to other parents when someone jokingly calls us part time parents. I can honestly assure you that I worry about and love my children every bit as much as I do when they are with me as when they are not – there is no off switch to parenting.
Monday – Friday I work in an advertising agency. It’s an industry known for long hours and I’ve done my share of 12 hour days in the early days of my career. Now when I leave at 5 to get home for dinner with the girls and James I feel like a part timer because most people are still working. It’s something we are actively working on at my work and something I’m really proud to be involved with.
I’m a Part time blogger. I have all these ideas running around in my head and no time to write them so I find myself writing in all sorts of weird places. I started this article in the middle of making breakfast one morning and then it sat there for a month as life got busy and now I’m finishing it in school holidays while the kids watch Gnomeo and Juliet.
I’m a part time game inventor, retailer, wholesaler and exporter – selling over 15,000 over our Getting Lost Games in the past 2 years.
I’m a Part time photographer – I work weekends shooting and evenings editing – and always feel like I’m not a “real photographer” because it’s not my full time job.
So there you have it – I’m a part time school mum, a part time parent, a part time Ad Exec, a part time blogger and part time photographer.
Here’s why being a part timer is a good thing
I want this world to change and for us to not view part time as a bad thing because here’s the wonderful things about being a part timer.
Because I am strong enough to leave at 5 and know that if I need to I can finish it when they are in bed I get to have dinner with my girls every night.
Because I don’t pick them up from school 4 days a week they get to spend time with their grandma, Aunty and cousins and know that they are loved and cared for by many.
Because I don’t have the kids 2 days a fortnight I have a much stronger relationship with James and they have a much stronger relationship with their other parent and know they are always there.
Because I only write when I can it never feels like something I have to do – but a real treat and something to be cherished.
Because I run Getting Lost from home it means that the kids and James can work with me and I can grow at a pace that works with my lifestyle (ever wondered why we announce our new games at odd hours of the day??)
Because I can work flexible hours as a photographer it means I can do a little bit of my dream job (and get paid for it!!) in the moments I don’t have my kids or other work commitments.
So join with me in making part time a wonderful word and be proud if you’re a part timer like me.