Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Working AND a Mum?

How easy it is to work and be a Mum? Part time work is ideal for the working Mum but part time work during term time only is equivalent to the holy grail. Interviews can be a challenge when you have young children. There's childcare to arrange, childcare to find when you finally receive a job offer until eventually, with a little juggling, work and childcare fall into place.

With three young children I have had my fair share of challenges fnding work. There are the interview questions that no book or online guide can prepare you for. When I was first faced with the interview question, 'do you have kids?' I wasn't fazed. At thirty-something years of age, kids were a 'maybe after the next holiday' and of course there was always another holiday to look forward to. Kids were as far into the horizon as my distant holiday destinations and I confidently shook my head and answered a resounding 'no!' I got the job then something changed. Actually I did want children.

The 'kids' question come under a number of different guises and these are genuine interview questions I have had to face:

'Do you have children?' Followed by 'So you will need more time off than the annual 23 days then?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'How old are they? How many? Are you married? What does your husband do for a living?'

'Do you have children? Followed by 'If you had to pick up your child and had not finished an important piece of work what would you do?'

It can be difficult not to be torn between answering sensibly and shouting, 'you can't ask me that!'

Now I have three young children, I'm much more relaxed. I expect this type of question and I am pleasantly surprised if it doesn't come up. It's easier to answer honestly and truthfully knowing that if I suspect the company doesn't want to offer me the job because of my marital status or childcare responsibilities, for example then they are not the right employer for me.

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