Women Returners

Doesn’t it look easy?

Back in the nineteen-eighties the buzz word among social action broadcasters was Women Returners.

These were the women who’d taken time out to raise their families, and were now trying to worm their way back into a workforce reluctant to have them.

I was just starting out in radio, and was a bit stumped by the whole concept.

Why had all these women stopped working just because they’d had children?
Why did they need help to get back to work, just because they’d been at home for a while?
What was their problem?

I was a good nineteen-eighties feminist.
I didn’t shave, wear high heels, or simper.
I did sometimes wear make-up, but hey, I was young.

But I didn’t get the women returner thing.
I dutifully interviewed people about it and felt sympathy as they were obviously struggling.

But I was detached. It wasn’t going to affect me because I wasn’t going to give up my career just for a couple of snot-nosed bratlings.

These days the struggle has changed.
It’s more about balancing work and children simultaneously, rather than working, then stopping work to raise children, then getting back to work, albeit at a much lower level.

I’ve only taken a break from regular, turn up and do it on half-a-brain, paid employment for a mere three years, but now that I’ve decided to get back out there, I find I’m empathising with those nineteen-eighties women returners.

Job interviews?
Powerpoint bloody presentations?

Things move on pretty damn fast in the 21st century.

And thanks be to mid-lifer for my Awesome Dude award.
I’ve even conquered my previous inability to put images onto my sidebar.
I had to really, as my brother seems to have gone to ground.

I always said benign neglect was good for children’s independence – perhaps the same applies to grown-ups too.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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6 Responses to Women Returners

  1. Jen says:

    Empathising here, having just been told that if I really want to work part-time, I’m looking at basic admin jobs and around £6 an hour :(

    I feel like a pensioner applying to NASA.

    Crap, innit? Am feeling your pain, truly.

  2. Vicky says:

    Aaagh, I go back to work tomorrow because my maternity leave ends. My brain stopped functioning a while ago so I have to rely on sympathetic colleagues to help during the first few weeks or is that months!

    I only took 7 months off this time, because when I took 2 years the return was terrifying – new phone/accounts system – I had no clue.

    Best of luck with your return to work :)

  3. dulwichmum says:

    I completely know what you mean here. I left work for five minutes, and when I returned it was all memory sticks, power point presentations and MP3 players. I felt like an alien when I returned, and I see others in the same position every day. I am trying to hold on to that feeling, I don’t want to ever be as unsupportive and patronising as some of my colleagues were when I arrived back at work… I wish you all the luck.

  4. Beta Mum says:

    Jen – it seems it’s either all or nothing. From WAHM to SAHD in one fell swoop!

    Vicky – good luck, it’s horrid going back after maternity leave.

    DM – I hope I will remain supportive too, and recognise that no sleep, glazed look of mothers with babies

  5. I can’t even imagine the transition. I hope you are met with a lot of support, at work and home!

  6. Pingback: Mothers and Daughters Blog Carnival | An NC Mom Blog | Real Life

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