I have previously mused, if you will, about my quandary with the whole ‘working Mom’ thing as I believe that we are pulled in all sorts of directions and made to believe and also made to feel guilty with all sorts of ‘Motherhood’ ideals. In one instance the government seem to want us to work and we undoubtedly get judged for being Stay at home Moms’ by the general public… then on the other hand we are not given the chance to work in some instances as we are not deemed ‘flexible’ enough or wanting a firm ‘career’. As Mother Pukka has awesomely campaigned in an ongoing trail blaze, it is the employers that need to be flexible. Her ‘Flex Appeal’ campaign has brought widespread media attention and even the ante ion of the government. You go girl! I feel though, that the flexibility of society is needed also in the corners that we think would be supportive of the working mother, the NHS. Yes… Im going there. Is society, and the NHS, really built for working Moms?
I have been increasingly disappointed with the NHS over the past few years. Now I am completely grateful and don’t get me wrong I understand how much worse we would be if we were like America and did not have the NHS… however, I can’t seem to shake the feeling that if I was a ‘Stay at home Mom’ I would be far more benefitted from the resources it offers Mothers and children.
As some of you might know if you follow me, my little man has quite sever speech and communication delay, which took me a while togged across to our health visiting team and his nursery as he was so young when I noticed an possible issue. The appointments for which are referable only and coincidentally do not run on the days I have off of a week, Mondays or weekends. they also do not run after the usual time that office workers would return home after work so it either daytime Tuesday-Friday or not at all. I have had to request these days off work specifically.
Not only is it not a very flexible system, the fact that now we have been invited to Speech and Communication sessions with other children and been referred to hearing appointments and a paediatrician, means that I have lots of days which I now will have to request off work in order to attend. Luckily my work is quite understanding and I can pick up my hours at the weekends as I work in retail but if I was an office worker and worked a standard 9-5 Monday to Friday it would be impossible for me to attend all of these sessions and appointments.
I have had to turn down the Speech and Communication sessions as they run them at 1pm every Thursday for a month. Now it is quite one thing asking for the odd day off a month for appointments for the little man but I cannot request a day off per week for a while month. My work will start to tire of the constant requests! Why can they not be run on a weekend? Why can they not be run afternoons or early evenings? Or even in the mornings? But the middle of the day?!?!
I too have my own bodily issues, childbirth just does wonders for your downstairs huh?! But in a hilariously typical twist of fate, the consultant that I have been referred to only works Wednesdays! One day… one day per week. Brilliant. So I have to request time off on a Wednesday otherwise I cannot see her at all. Ever.
I also think that it is an utter shambles that I have been told previously in letters that if I don’t respond and confirm any of the aforementioned appointments within one week they will take it as I am not available and take me off of the referral list. What if I was on holiday? I don’t actually get my rota until 2-3 weeks notice so what If the appointment is after that and I genuinely do not know if I will be free or not?
On the other side of that, before Christmas the little man had not one… but TWO appointments cancelled BY THE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPISTS because they were ill. TWO cancelations… he is supposed to be seen every three months (which seems a stretch at that…) but after the two cancelations we could not be ‘fitted in’ for another month! And then it was still assumed I had to take the next available one and deal with when it was.
So we have to reply in one week or thats it. Done. But they can cancel on my little man twice ON THE DAY… without much apology or attempt at rearranging there and then (a promise of a phone call was my only consolation) and Im expected to be completely understanding!?
Mothers have to fit their lives around the NHS. There is very limited flexibility. If you DARE to question that could your appointment be changed to a more convenient time because you work… or your child is at nursery THAT YOU PAY FOR… tuts and sighs come in to play.
I am actually still waiting for a response and call back from a message I left on an answerphone about an aforementioned series of appointments as I need to ask them when they me to confirm by, as I don’t have my rota for that week yet… its been two weeks. No one has called me back. They don’t like the fuss of my questioning and trying to work my life around the sessions over the phone.
Now again Im not saying I don’t appreciate the NHS… I really do. I can only imagine how hideous all of this would be if I was having to pay for it all (although we would probably get seen quicker and with less hassle!)
Is this just me? Am I alone this this immense frustration? It just doesn’t seem like the NHS or other ‘appointments’ based facilities are built for working mothers? Has anyone found a way around this?