Why flexible anytime/anywhere learning tools are important to working mothers
I feel extremely privileged to be able to work. As a mother of four children aged twelve to four, attending two different schools and following a wide range of interests, sorting out their needs is a full time job in itself. Unless I employed a full time nanny, or sent my children to before and after school clubs and holiday clubs, I would struggle to do a conventional nine to five traditional job, which is where mobile technology and the ability to work flexibly have enabled me to contribute to our family-owned and run business. I want to be there for my children when they are not at school and I want them to spend their school holidays in their own home.
Running around after the children is time-consuming, but there is also a lot of 'dead' time, which I have been able to use to my advantage. I drive an average of five hundred miles a week ferrying the gang from pillar to post. Once I have dropped off the brood, I have been able to learn a lot about business management by exchanging Kiss FM for one of the various podcasts to which I subscribe, which has subsequently improved my work performance.
My car makes the ideal mobile office. It is quiet and I can be guaranteed no interruptions, so sitting in the school car park waiting for children to appear at the end of the school day is the perfect time to knock off a couple of work calls. Perched on the edge of the local swimming pool, I can keep one eye on how my pre-schooler is getting on in her lesson and at the same time surreptitiously Google some research on my phone. She is thrilled that Mummy watched her big jump, as am I, and I am able to keep on top of my workload. A key part of my work role is to keep up to date with legislation and that involves continuous learning. Using the Coracle Learning Line platform, I’m able to keep up with that part of my work, irrespective of where I am or which device I’m using. Everything’s nicely synced and recorded for me allowing me to use my time constructively.
I enjoy the days that I spend with the team in our Cambridge office, but if I spent all my working time in the office, I would drop some, if not all, of the plates that I need to keep constantly spinning.
When I work from home, I can quickly shove a load of washing into the machine, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, instead of chatting to a colleague. During my 'lunch break' I take the dog out for a walk, which is of as much benefit to me as to him - phone in my pocket, just in case; and the time saved by not traveling to work enables me to sort out home admin or simply run around tidying up after everyone else.
During these last holidays, I was working on my laptop at the kitchen table, with one son gluing together an Airfix model of the Titanic next to me; the other kicking a football around in the garden; my elder daughter sketching for a school art project and my four year old dancing around me to Gangnam style. It might have seemed chaotic to an outsider, but I was able to supervise them all, get on with what had to be done and yet not miss out on the fun either.
Juggling work and family isn’t easy, but the ability to work, learn and develop my career has been made possible by having access to information on the move. Our passion at Coracle is to help as many people as possible with their flexible learning.