Working 9-5 Ain't No Way To Make A Living

03/05/2017 16:30 BST | Updated 03/05/2017 17:06 BST
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Her norks are a marvel and her hair has been a lifelong inspiration to me, but for once, Dolly Parton is wrong - working nine to five is no way to make a living. So I'm on a mission to end the nine to five for good, and I've started by essentially selling my family on the internet.

I realised that work doesn't work one sweaty rush hour morning on London's Central Line. A grumpy man got his briefcase caught in the door, slowing the train down for all of us, and for a moment I thought about kicking him very hard somewhere very soft. I was late for the daycare pickup after being late leaving work, because a meeting that didn't need to happen had overrun. When I arrived to collect my three-year-old daughter, Mae, the daycare boss-woman sat me down on a tiny chair meant for children to remind me that the fine for late pick-ups was £1 every minute after 6pm. 

I'd got my dream job as a senior copywriter for a big beauty company and a week later they moved the office. My commute went up to 90 minutes each way, meaning that on most days I would only see my daughter asleep. Something had to give, so I quit and started Mother Pukka, a blog for people who happen to be parents. It sees me blogging, vlogging and flogging my family to earn a bean in a way that means I can actually spend some time with them. It's main campaign is something called Flex Appeal, which has seen me and hundreds of other twitchy-eyed working parents prance about in lycra in Britain's town centres to holler about the need for flexible working. And it's not just a parental grizzle - flexible working is good for business too. Study after study show that it can mean improved productivity, lower rents, better staff retention and fewer hiring costs. It's good for people and it's good for the bottom line.

And the main reason I want to tear down the nine to five is so that my daughter might have more choices by the time she enters the world of work.  

I want her to have choices. Right now, she wants to be a sandwich maker or a 'wonky stone collector'. I'm not sure there's much of a market for Cheerios in starchy white bread, or how to make a living with wonky stones, but I'm just happy that she's found her thing and hope that whatever it is by the time she goes to work, she's able to pursue it. 

Because this generation face more social pressure than we ever did. I recently became an ambassador for Fruit Shoot - the drink has been an ever-present in my bag since we moved beyond milk - and they recently did some research with more than 2,000 UK parents. Some 80% said there is too much pressure on today's children to live up to expectations about academic achievements. And almost as many - 79% - said this pressure limits children's ability to discover the things they really love.   

In response, they've launched the It's My Thing campaign, which aims to celebrate and champion kids finding their 'thing' - whatever that may be - to nurture confidence, creativity and self-expression. They want to support parents to help their kids find the things they love, so whatever Mae wants to do, I want her to do it and be able to do it at hours that work. Not slacking off, not refusing to be flexible in return when her employers have busy periods, but not stuck behind an assigned piece of laminated MDF at fixed times for no reason. 

As the author Douglas Coupland recently said: "The nine to five is barbaric...one day we will look back at nine-to-five employment in a similar way to how we see child labour in the 19th century." And sorry, Dolly, I agree. But I do still love your hair. 

 

Celebrate your kids 'things', whether wonky stone collection or anything else, on the FruitShootGB Facebook page and by using #itsmything and #FruitShoot.