Despite huge progress in less than 100 years (we only got the vote in 1928 for those women over 21 which doesn’t seem possible but is!). Apparently us women can still by and large expect to be paid less than their male colleague for the same job, so we are told. Although attitudes to working mothers has changed substantially since the ‘70s, practically speaking, are we able to have it all (have a satisfying career and have the family life some many of us crave? Apparently, the weight of domestic organisation still falls on the shoulders of the females of the household and although equality is believed in and supported as an intellectual concept, the reality of putting a meal on the table, emptying the laundry basket, and making sure everyone turns up with the right school bag/money is still largely taken on by women, according to the Workingmums.co.uk annual survey (2013). Of more than 2,500 shows that only 27% of working mums said they split childcare and housework equally with their partners, even though 18% earned more than their partners.
Added pressure comes from the depiction of women in the media – although their grandmothers were of the “burn the bra” generation, young women are under ever more pressure to live up to the media image of perfect good looks and unrealistic body shapes. Where are the “serious” young women who believe in social change and are prepared to go on marches for what they believe in? Does this mean that the aspirations for women at work have also taken a downward spiral? www.realbusiness.co.uk conducted a survey of women aged 18 – 25. The women surveyed were asked to select their top career dreams and participants were able to select as many as they liked, regardless of whether they were employed in the sector. The top ten is as follows
1. Hairdressing – 36 per cent
2. Fashion – 31 per cent
3. Beauty therapy – 29 per cent
4. Interior design – 26 per cent
5. Marketing & public relations – 24 per cent
6. Accountancy – 22 per cent
7. Law – 19 per cent
8. Medicine (inc. mental health services) – 14 per cent
9. Sports (Nutrition, training, physiotherapy etc) – 11 per cent
10. Graphic design – 8 per cent
Plan to succeed when it comes to work/life balance
Women who work and have children are under constant push/pull of demands of the workplace and demands of family life and it takes planning in both roles to be able to do what is required at work, and feel like home life isn’t falling into chaos. However, If you want to have home cooked meals but lack time a bit of planning goes a long way.
My tips for you if you are a working woman/mother and trying to get a home cooked meal on the table are:
1. Planning – plan your home life like you would your work life! A meal planner from PaperChase is a must! http://www.paperchase.co.uk/dreamscape-meal-planner.html
2. Cook and freeze! Make batches and put in the freezer
3. Fridge husbandry! Making stock from organic chicken carcass – delicious for a homemade soup
4. Delegate where possible! Sometimes your partner might not know how to support you, make specific requests on how they can help.
5. www.teamwork.com – great for business to do’s but great to delegate to others too
6. Abel and Cole – recipe boxes! Fabulous. A bit more expensive than buying and planning recipes yourself but the recipe boxes = no wastage (tip: Buy extra quantities of some of the ingredients and make the recipe go further). For those of you who don’t know about A and C recipe boxes check out www.abel andcole.co.uk
7. If you are living where there are no really good cooking facilities try a Party Pan (available on Amazon)
8. Invest in a slow cooker – an investment of time in the morning of 15 mins for a delicious hot meal once you get in.
9. Don’t beat yourself up if it all goes horrible wrong! Sometimes it does! Keep some organic beans (check the sugar content!) on hand and realise that sometimes you can’t be perfect
10. Chickpeas/mixed beans, chopped tomatoes, and some herbs are the basis of a really easy and cheap meal