A man implied I couldn’t have a career now that I was a Mum

A recent reel on my Instagram garnered more attention than I had anticipated. 

I’d been on mental health leave since March this year.

During this time, my employer and I decided to call time on our relationship.

It was for best thing for me in hindsight.

What I will say is how disappointed I felt that it came to this.

It felt like a waste of 17 years.

Sounds like a bad marriage, doesn’t it?

And while it wasn’t anything my employer did,

It was what a man said to me after the fact that still grinds my gears.

Before kids, my job was my identity

I committed to my role straight out of high school.

The buzz I felt helping the community and watching staff I’d trained succeed in career opportunities was so rewarding.

In the early years, I progressed quickly and had many of my own successes. 

I’m proud of what I accomplished, even if it does feel a tad wasteful.

MAFS and COVID came and went.

I fell pregnant, had twins unexpectedly early and became a mother. 

My career was never the same after that.

Out of a job

When I returned to work after maternity leave, I felt a shift in the perception of my abilities. 

It subsided when I moved on to a new industry.

My first blog for Her Second Shift was about returning to full-time work as a new Mum and all the challenges and feelings that came with it.

So, when a man, who I didn’t know and didn’t know me in any capacity, said now that “I had children, I might not be compatible with my job…”

Did I hear that right?

I fought back tears and held my composure.

No way was I going to give him the satisfaction that his words had affected me.

So, when I wrote on my IG reel, that I had to choose between my career and my children, I felt like I did.

Choosing my children was of course a no-brainer.

It doesn’t mean that I was happy about it. 

I should never have had to make that kind of choice. Not in our current climate.

To add salt to the wound, a follower commented on my reel airing grievances against my words and how Dads don’t get a choice either. Giiiirl, for real?

Equality or Equity?

I’ve always been unbothered by sexualised comments, inappropriate behaviours and exclusions that I have experienced in life and at work (whether it be men or women).

I didn’t want to be treated differently.

I’d rather people not change their behaviour or personality around me so that I can get a true sense of someone’s character.

When it comes to employment, I need a little more flexibility than my working husband does.

The comments (yep, there was a lot more said!) were a slap in the face.

While I often struggle with managing my time, focusing and being motivated in general, I’m not worthless or incapable of juggling work and children.

In fact, I think I juggle more appointments, lists, chores, reminders, tasks, meetings and schedules than many working men – all stay-at-home-Mums and working Mums do.

And I am the primary parent after all.

On top of this, having to be a wife, drowning in lack of friendships, failing to keep my life in order doesn’t make me undesirable.

It means, Mr. Career Man: cut me some freakin’ slack and do better than your generation’s idea of what a woman should be capable of in 2024.

Struggling to find work

I felt empowered by making the choice to choose a new career path.

What I had not planned on was that so many others were in my position.

At this stage, a job is not looking like it is on the cards for me any time soon.

For one, it’s a competitive job market as it seems everyone is looking for a new career.

And secondly, I’m not yet able to return to work. A bit more about that later.

What I’ll take away from recent experiences is that I did the right thing and a better opportunity in my working life will eventually come along.

4 thoughts on “A man implied I couldn’t have a career now that I was a Mum

  1. You are doing amazing, dissapointed you were forced to make that decision in a workplace you weren’t supporting.
    Off the cuff comments like this are totally inappropriate.
    As I prepare to return to work after my third child, having already received comments along the lines of ” How are you going to juggle it all?” I don’t hold much confidence in my employer having the level of flexibilty required either.

    1. Thank you very much, Claire. I’m sorry you feel you may encounter the same negativity. Hopefully you will be more vocal than I was xxx

  2. Crazy! It is 2024, can’t believe someone said that and you were made to feel like you had to choose. Hope you are on the path to recovery and a wonderful new opportunity presents itself

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In the spirit of reconciliation, Her Second Shift acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today