All of this talk about the general election, and everything that I am seeing in the culture of UK politics at the moment, is giving me a lot to think about. I never really got involved with politics before I became a mother. In fact, I didn’t really think about a lot of important stuff, because it never seemed relevant. I was too busy working full time, and sleeping or spending time with my family at weekends. My job became all-consuming, and resulted in me developing stress and anxiety, and almost having a nervous breakdown. But I’m not talking about that today.
I am feeling increasingly agitated about the work ethic in our country. And I am only just beginning to realise the level of inequality there is in our society. When I was younger, I was led to believe that we should allow the ‘men in suits’ to run our country and tell us what to do. We should never question the elite authority, because we knew nothing about what they did. Well, we still don’t know much about what they do, but now I realise that the collective ‘they’ should be held to account. Yes, David Cameron, I am talking about you and your cronies!
So, back to my issue. I am currently unable to earn a wage. I am attempting to work from home as a writer, but silly me, I chose a career that doesn’t pay, at least when you come from a working class background and have no connection to London. I chose to give up full time office work, and I took on a part-time retail job in order to spend some time developing my career as a freelance writer. I have plenty of experience. Now, I cannot find a job that will actually pay. You know, like real money? That stuff that apparently makes the world go round? Yes, that.
You see, I also made the mistake of falling in love and getting married. And that resulted in my getting pregnant and having two children. Yes, I know, silly me. How could I possibly think procreating was a good idea? Anyway, it happened, and we decided that my husband should be the breadwinner because he works in a highly skilled sector (environmental waste management), and he can earn a decent wage to support the family. If I were to apply for a job elsewhere, my options are limited to low level office work or shop floor retail. Minimum wage.
But my problem is further exacerbated by several factors. First of all, I am actually reasonably well educated. I graduated with a 2.1 BA Hons Degree. I am a competent, literate, intelligent writer. But the jobs are not forthcoming. At least not those that I could physically attend. My husband and I could not afford to put our children into full-time childcare so that I can go out to work. We do not have any spare cash. And we could also not afford a second car, which would be another requirement based on our home town and its lack of available jobs within easy reach.
But there is one more factor. I actually do not want to put my children into fulltime day care. I want to spend time with them. Why can we not set up our working lives to incorporate families with young children? Surely, in the 21st century, we can be more flexible? I mean, we do have this fantastic thing called the internet, don’t we? Come on, politicians, get with the program. Let us set up the UK to be a global business player, using the best of modern technology and allowing our hidden talent to shine through. We are waiting. Will you answer the call?