Making work work as a mum is a serious issue, not a fluffy millennial snowflake fad. Yesterday I spent four hours listening to an abused lady, too scared to leave her husband, for fear of how to survive…

I am clearly serious about the Single Mums Business Network, but I often promote it in a very light-hearted way, but when I have a meeting like the one I had yesterday, I cannot stress enough the importance of enabling a person to generate a healthy income, whilst being a primary carer.

A relationship should be a healthy combination of two people enhancing each others lives. It should never be a financial arrangement, and certainly not a financial trap. Turn back the clock a few decades and a man could earn a living, in proportion to the cost of a mortgage, bills and work travel costs and he normally had childcare, cook & cleaner 24/7, never an added expense. Nowadays this isn’t reality. Family units look different and that’s not a bad thing. Isn’t it better to think that couples are together because they are happy together and they treat each other right?

I listened to the most painful detail, of course I will never disclose her identity, and she isn’t a member or friend of the SMBN; she looks perfect, immaculate, intelligent, nice house, nice car, and professional husband, but what she has endured behind closed doors is heart-breaking. You would think that they are the perfect family, but she rattles due to the amount of medication is she taking to try and kill the physical and emotional pain of what she has endured in the last 20 years.

How is this relevant? Mainly the fear of how she will survive financially. She has worked her whole life (until recently) but her wages covered childcare and food whilst her husbands wages covered the property and bills. She knows that her usual wage would not cover the house, bills, childcare and food, but she also knows that any other option will also leave her unable to afford to manage properly. She is trying to leave, trying to get her health back, trying to find a way to show her children that you should not be with a man unless he treats you with kindness, and that should be easy for her to do. Money should not be a barrier.

I set-up the SMBN to help women working to make work work gain business exposure, to point out the challenges that often mean childcare restrictions resulting in demotion and reduced pay, and to help women who are taking their children to childcare in pyjamas because their employers will not grant flexible working feel like there is long-term hope.

Motherhood should not leave you torn, should not be a financial penalty, and should not trap you in an abusive environment. Motherhood is the most precious time of a woman’s life, and of her child’s life, and relationships should be for pleasure, not pain, and certainly not for money.

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