Can you have it all? Daney Parker’s opinion on juggling life as a PRO and a mother

Last week, Katie Hopkins, former Apprentice contestant, outraged the nation when she appeared on the BBC‘s One Show saying that women should return back to work after just three weeks of maternity leave. I imagine Katie enjoyed winding up the nation the other night, as it gave her a large dose of attention, something she needs even if her children don’t. But I, like most mums, disagree with Katie‘s view and was lucky enough to be able to afford to spend most of the early years of my childrens’ lives with them, doing the odd piece of freelance work to help pay towards the expense of it all. And as a freelancer, I wasn’t expecting an employer to subsidise my decision to be with my kids. Judging from the response to articles that have appeared in PRmoment about juggling work with families, it is tricky balancing being a parent with working in PR. Generally it’s the women who take the brunt of the childcare, and if they don’t have a great support network, it can be stressful when kids are sick, or there’s a school nativity play that can’t be missed. Although working and bringing up kids isn’t a problem that’s unique to PR, it is a key issue for this industry because of the high proportion of women and the ungodly hours that are demanded. The flexible working that so-called family-friendly firms offer isn’t always the benefit it’s made out to be. Often it’s another way of paying women less. I know a few who are officially working part-time, but actually have a full-time workload. They might spend less time in the office, but are still working weekends and evenings to keep on top of things, while only receiving a fraction of what they used to earn.  The PROs I know who seem to have the best balance are those that are freelance or run their own businesses, because they can set their own rules. Katie Hopkins said that employers shouldn’t have to support women taking time out to have children. And it is a strain, especially for small businesses, arranging cover for long maternity breaks. But women who have children are not that much a liability if they come back to work and do the same job for less money. Daney Parker Editor PRmoment
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