This struggle IS real
As I looked at the wall planner this morning, it really did hit me how much of a full time job we have in the run up to Christmas on top of the usual every day family life, work life and life admin demands. If there was ever a greater need for flexible working by households throughout the country, the time is now people. I have no idea how mums and dads survive the run up to Christmas without the flexibility of their employers. Christmas is not just the 2 days that we get as national bank holidays, it is the entire month of December when the demand to juggle is so massive, when the pressure on our brains to remember everything is just intense.
It feels in our house, as i'm sure is the case in every household right now, that there is something to remember every day- donations for the Christmas fair, the camel costume for the school nativity, money and menu choices for the Christmas lunch, putting time aside in the diary to attend not one but two performances of said nativity play, remembering what daughter number 1 asked Father Christmas for in her letter to Santa, making sure that said present is available in the shops and buying it before everyone else beats you to it, frantically visiting the websites of every Santa's Grotto in the county to sniff out some last minute tickets so that your child isn't left disappointed and let down by your sheer disorganisation, thinking of endless ways to make memories at this special time of year. I could go on but I don't need to as I know you're probably feeling it too. Oh and I can't not mention that bloody little Elf that needs to be moved from pillar to post every single night!
And so I sit here, typing this with a mince pie in hand, wholeheartedly sparing a thought for those who don't have a flexible employer- for those so stressed from the pressure of trying to make Christmas happen whilst also working as though they don't have a family, for those parents riddled with guilt as their employer won't let them have the time off to go to the nativity play, for those parents trying to suppress that sinking feel they have as they would so love to be at the school gates at 1.30pm on the last day of term and whisking their little darlings off for a celebratory festive treat to mark the end of term but instead have just had to book them into after school club.
I'm sure some reading this would label this blog as totally self-indulgent, what first world problems I can hear them mumble but this struggle IS real. These problems keep us parents up at night, they have a profound effect on our self esteem, on the way we feel about ourselves, on our confidence. They make us feel that we are failing at everything and succeeding at nothing and so they are real and they are big and they need to be looked at.
And a lot of this can be remedied through flexible working. And so if I have a wish this Christmas, it's that more of you amazing working professionals can realise your dream of working more flexibly and if I dare to make a new year's resolution this year, it will be that I will continue to promote the massive benefits there are to employing people more flexibly, to realising that we are adults who can bring much more when trusted to work in a much more mature way and that Flexperience will make 2020 the year that more local employers join us on our revolution to a better way of working.
Wishing you all a restful and very happy Christmas. x