BALANCING ACT: Mothers who work part-time aren’t having fancy lunches when they are not in the office.
BALANCING ACT: Mothers who work part-time aren’t having fancy lunches when they are not in the office. THINKSTOCK

Modern Mum: Part-time work is no holiday

AS A 'part-time' working mum, I've always felt like I'm in this weird kind of working mum purgatory.

I only get to venture into my children's school two days a week.

I'm not a stay-at-home mum who gets to be there every day so I've never been a part of the 'mummy clique'.

Not that I have any desire to be a part of any clique mind you. I really just want to be there for my children, but I guess that's my working mum guilt creeping in.

Then at work, all the "good jobs" get given to the full-timers because (and fair enough) they need someone who's there every day to be working on them.

I once had a co-worker tell me to "have a nice holiday" one afternoon before I left. A holiday?

Is that what people think I'm doing when I'm not sitting in the office? I can assure you right now, I am more likely to be found cleaning a pool than lying in one on my days "off"!

When my children were babies, a former manager even tried to make me feel bad because I (shock horror) worked part-time.

I don't think she understood that I was actually getting paid a lot less for the privilege.

The weirdest part was that she herself had young children around the same age.

I thought mums were supposed to understand that kind of stuff?

I am so crazy busy on my two weekdays "off".

I have to cram laundry, cleaning and groceries all into the two days between school drop off and pickup.

As well as that I'm trying very hard to pick up some freelance design work here and there, in the hopes I can one day work from home all by myself. So I am technically "working" anyway.

Needless to say, my cleaning leaves much to be desired and if it weren't for my clothes dryer, my children would be wearing wet clothes to school.

And those colleagues who think I'm off having fancy lunches every day? Think again!

You'll find me wandering the aisles of a supermarket, with half a head of unbrushed hair before you find me sitting in a restaurant.

The only reason I would normally head to a café during the week is to meet a client (and rest assured I do brush my hair for such occasions).

The other day though, I had a first. I was up to date with my workload and decided the leave the laundry to meet up with an old friend for lunch.

This was apparently an opportunity for everyone's suspicions to be confirmed.

Sitting there, sipping my coffee, I looked up to see a CCTV camera pointed directly at ME!

It was clearly capable of pointing in multiple directions, but there it was. Hard evidence.

Great! I imagined the footage would soon be viral and the whole world could nod their heads, satisfied that this "part time" working mum did in fact spend her days off sipping double shot, skinny flat, chai soya cappuccinos whilst catching up with friends.

I ended up moving to a table around the corner and I may have pulled faces at the camera before doing so.

You can be assured that if I ever do manage to find the time to "do lunch" on my day off, I'll be doing some reconnaissance work before choosing a venue that points cameras at its patrons.

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