Like most parents, Mrs J and I have talked about how we set the right example for our little one. Not just on the day to day stuff; right from wrong, good from bad, red from blue, but on doing your best, trying to achieve your potential and working hard.
We have found the latter harder to do than we imagined. Not because we are ‘as lazy as cut the bags’ but because under normal definitions we don’t really work. Neither of us leaves the house every morning, briefcase in hand, only to return in time for dinner and story time. We both spend most of our time at home; we have a home office; we often pick up and drop off at nursery together; going to work often involves walking from the kitchen into the small room at the front of the house.
It is true that I do leave the house – from time to time – to go to meetings. Miss J knows that I often go to Liverpool, Manchester and London. She understands when Daddy’s shoes and bag are by the front door that I am going out to work. For Mummy, it is less clear. She knows Mummy is clever – who wouldn’t – but Mummy has been around every day since the day she arrived and has never left her side. We all could not be happier or feel more fortunate that Mrs J has been able to be at home throughout these early years. It has been a source of enormous joy to all of us. Time we knew we would never have again and time we were able to totally dedicate to Miss J. We count our blessings we were able to do what we have done.
But as Aoife gets older, other things become important too. We want our daughter – especially as she is a daughter and not a son – the odds are still stacked against the women of our world – to see, know and appreciate how accomplished her Mummy is and to see her working. Setting another fantastic example. Mrs J has nothing to prove given her stella achievements and career but we want our daughter to know that Mummies work and achieve just as much as Daddies. Today, we took another step in making that happen.
Dr Jones was offered a dream leadership role with a prestigious and high profile part of a renowned local university – details to follow when all the paperwork is completed. Dr J will return to work – part time, on her terms – to resume the career she built through talent, hard work and dedication in September as Miss J starts pre-school. Aoife and I went along today to the interview – not inside the room you understand but close by – and I was able to explain what Mummy was doing and how she too goes to meetings like Daddy with important people. The icing on the cake came at the end of the day when the call was made to offer Dr J the job. Aoife was there again to join in the celebrations. As we would say, a big day for Ireland.
A few weeks ago, long after Dr J had planned her return to work, Aoife had been chatting to one of the teachers at nursery. “Daddy” she said “goes to work. Mummy peels potatoes.” The great irony was that we both peeled potatoes and now happily we both go to work again.