Today, I got an email from work. It both annoyed and upset me. Being a teacher, at around this time of the year, I review my annual performance management. Being off work because of maternity leave, I checked with my manager if we could have a meeting about it, as I wanted to apply for a promotion.
And you know the answer? I can’t apply for it. Pourquoi? Because in order to apply for the pay progression I want, I need to have done a continuous service of 26 weeks during the last academic year. Having been on maternity leave for 9 months to look after my baby, I have only completed about 12 weeks or so before leaving the school.
Gutted. I can apply for it, but I have to wait next September.
Do you want to know what I make of this rule? C’est de la merde! My first thought when I got the email? ‘How many bloody weeks have I worked in the school before I got pregnant?! Bloody more than 26 and my exam results were always good’.
That’s not fair. Because I am a woman and I decided to have a baby, I can’t go up the ladder.
But that’s the rule. End of. I know what you might think ‘Hold on Frenchie Mummy, you’ve been off work for 9 months and you are hoping to have a promotion now? Other people are working harder than you right now!’
To that, I would respond two things:
- Being a SAHM is a full-time job. Trust me. I used to think it was a holiday before doing it and it’s not! I am up at 6am and don’t go to bed before 11pm every day. So don’t give me this nonsense.
- And what about all the things I have done for my school over the years I have been working there?
I never asked for anything. I was barely off sick. I would have to be really bad to stay a day at home! My boss would literally have to send me back à la maison if I was too sick!
I’ve done it all. I stepped in to go on a trip at the last minute, I did many interventions and extra sessions with students to make sure they met their benchmarks… And so many other stuff I won’t bore you with because it’s not what I want to discuss here.
The point is because I am a woman and decided to be a mummy, I am yet penalised. I have never been the kind of woman who wanted to move up the ladder. Being a Head of Department or a Principal has never been part of my plans. I am happy just to teach (she says when we all know that those days, a teacher has so many other roles: counsellor, pedagogue, social worker…)
But Beyonce is a bloody liar when she says that girls run the world! It’s bullshit! (Sorry, I have very much been controlling myself so far… It had to happen).
I used to be one of those naïve women who ideally thought that they could have it all: the house, the baby, the fabulous husband and the career. Wait, I forgot some other super important stuff: le chic, le vin, the money, the sex and the gorgeous body.
Looking back at this list, I pretty much got it all to be honest. Only missing the house so far…? And I am super lucky, as I also have an extra: l’humour! That’s very important to live happily!
Let’s be serious! I am not writing a witty post about my amazingness today… I am writing about feminism. I am going to burst your lovely bubble here. If you want to have a family, stop dreaming about running the world like Beyonce and other fabuleuses ladies would like to make you think!
Girl Power? You bet! I am part of this generation and strongly believe that I am in control of my life. I am not the cleverest nor the prettiest, but I know what I want, what I really really want.
And the email I received today just put it all back into perspective. I am not stupid. When I attended my first KIT day, I was quick to realise that it was not the same anymore. They replaced me with a young bird and the school kept running fine even though the witty Frenchie had temporarily left the boat! The dynamic has changed and I am fully aware that it will be different when I am back to work.
But why is it that we, ladies can’t have it all? Because I had a baby, I am part of a different gang, one that is far from being cool… The kind where you see people stressed out, trying to cope with everything. A group where people want to believe that they are still rocking it when it’s obvious that they are not…
Let’s be honest ladies, we think we got it good and that our grandmothers fought for our rights! Don’t make me laugh… We are exhausting ourselves, pretending we can do it all: run the house like a goddess, work hours like a slave and still enjoy every single moment with our little ones…
Oh and let’s not forget that we need to stay fit and happy with our body…
Women are equal, right? Not sure about that now…
Take an example. I was talking with a friend some weeks ago. He owns a little company and was looking for a new assistant. He explained to me that in the end, he decided to employ a man. He thought that it would be better for the kind of job he was advertising and even admitted that he didn’t want to put up with problems.
Frenchie Mummy could not repress herself: ‘Problems? What kind of problems would you have with a bird?’ And him to explain that with his tiny business, he could not afford to have his assistant to get pregnant and have to pay her compensation while he would have to employ someone else at the same time. I am not judging him. He is a good bloke and I understand that he can’t afford this kind of risks… He had a family to look after too. But I bet you it happens all the time.
So do we really have it better than our predecessors who used to stay at home while the men would be the breadwinner? I am not sure anymore and trust me, I consider myself as a feminist…
Girls don’t run the world. They love to think they do because the media and pop industry tells them so, but deep down, how many of us give it up all to be mummies? And then not feel at the top of the game because we are not able to do it all?
As you may have noticed in my posts lately, I am questioning a lot my role as a mummy and my return to work.
I would love to hear your views on this ladies. I know that a lot of you strongly believe in women’s rights. Maybe you can restore Frenchie Mummy’s faith and tell her that she will continue to rock, both at home and at work in the future months?
Do you believe that it is possible to have it all? Or do you feel that it’s all an illusion? Did you ditch your career to look after your family?