At the time of first publishing this list (in 2017)  I was a contractor at Facebook and so particularly intrigued to read this list from Alexandra Rickerby.  I had seen firsthand what great employers tech companies are, but then again being a Mother will always be the most important job going.

Here’s Alex’s account of  making the transition from  juggling a career to being with her son Freddie fulltime:


  • Regardless of any headlines Googles culture is even more impressive than people think. HR, my boss, my bosses bosses boss all congratulated me on my tough but wonderful decision to leave to spend all my time with Freddie. My favourite quote was Thanks for all you’ve done at Google – life is long and, who knows, you may be back or doing something related, in future. I hope you’ll take a piece of Google with you on the journey, thanks for making us all better for working with you” Every company should respond this way.

  • Telling people I left my wonderful job to be a mum means they don’t ask me any more questions and tilt their head sympathetically “aww she WAS so clever/interesting/useful before”.

  • It also means I am no longer asked ANY questions at dinner or drinks nights about anything other than my child. Seriously, I am now apparently devoid of all intellect or opinion that could remotely be relevant.

  • Telling the same people I’ve retired and BOOM I’m suddenly a goddess of monumental achievement and the centre of all lines of enquiry.  BOTH MEAN I AM AT HOME but the most impressive one is surely when I work unpaid for two decades?!

  • I was so confident before I spent 2 years getting NO feedback at all from my boss/employee/colleague/companion/buddy and centre of my universe. Now I just long for a peer review or annual report.

  • I desperately miss wearing lovely clothes and not having to change two pairs of jeans in a day due to excessive weeing by said child.

  • I have still got ‘it’ only now I’m even faster and put up with less bulls****

  • Men say my decision to leave my career was BRAVE. Whereas women nod knowingly and smile in solidarity. I say sod the bravery…bravery is something that soldiers/nurses/firemen have. It is not BRAVE to want to raise my child full time 24/7 365 days a year. It is a privilege and a gift.

  • Patience was something I thought I had before having a child. I was WRONG. Now I have patience and an unhealthy reliance on custard creams and Nutella on fresh white bread as rewards for getting through the day without totally losing my sh*t.

  • My mums are amazing. I NEVER knew just how amazing..literally legends..both of them.

  • We should pay parents what we pay the highest paid CEOs. Sod the odd extra maternity/paternity week or extra pay here or there. Pay us what we deserve which frankly is as SHIT LOAD.

  • If we want to ensure the world gets more amazing why wouldn’t we invest in the people who are literally RAISING THE HUMAN RACE? As my dear friend put it recently “Motherhood is considered a worthless job that we do because we are biologically able to do so. Rather than admired and worshipped because we desperately want to raise healthy, thoughtful, kind, caring, confident and compassionate people.”

  • Any subject that involves parenting is a hornet’s nest of polar opposite views, indignation, judgement and black humour (thank goodness).

  • I love how we can all be so different, all think we are right, all get it wrong and all end up with vomit on our faces at one point or another.

  • Turns out it is possible to get both yourself and your child dry using only a very slow and lukewarm hairdryer after swimming (Note – must always remember a towel).

  • Children never sleep how you want them to – too long, too little, too early, too late and sleep help books do nothing other than add to the general parental anxiety about it.

  • Literally hours of fun can be created with a packet of pre made chocolate cake some butter, water and a wooden spoon. I now know which people buy these things – people like me!

  • The best gift to get new parents is not the latest gadget or toy. It is some sort of sugary treat or a slab of lasagna they can microwave when fuel is needed.

  • Your birthday becomes utterly irrelevant – this year I was woken at 530am, fell asleep in front of Button Moon by 830am and had my favourite cereal eaten by my son. Happy Birthday to me happy birthday to me….

  • A hug from your little human makes the world stop – EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  • Julia Donaldson is literally a goddess – her books save us from endless upset and long journeys

  • I barely remember any age other than the age our son is now. Already I have to look at photos to remember how little he was and to remind myself how he felt in my arms. Literally every day is a gift with him.

  • The body literally never returns to how it was. I did a 10k recently…wet myself all the way down to my socks. THANK YOU, 10lb baby.

  • No one tells the truth about parenting and even if they did we would all think “it will be different for us” hahahahaha the brain is a wonderful thing.

  • I’ve heard the argument that women who leave work to raise children are part of the reason why more women aren’t CEOs and women are underpaid. UTTER SHITE. If I took a 5-year career break to learn so many new skills I would be snapped up.

  • My friends who are Mums and who work are INCREDIBLE at their jobs. THIS IS WHAT MUMS DO. Hire them, understand them, promote them and they will be the best employees you ever have and they will do it all within 8-4 or 9-5. They are finely tuned emotionally intelligent leaders who can multi-task better than anyone you have ever met.

  • The names we call mothers are all in some way annoying and pointless…single mum…full time mum…working mum….stay at home mum. We are all full time mummas, mum, mummy, mother, ma, mama, mams. 365 days a year 24/7. Anything else is labelling for no reason other than judgement.

  • I am exceptionally fortunate to be able to be with my son as much as I am. Most of all my mum friends are now the breadwinners and work in full-time employment and have no choice in the matter. I feel very lucky.

  • All mums are amazing – good days, great days, dreadful days, oops I’ll do that differently next time days and watch as much TV as you want days.

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  • Reply sewingontheside November 28, 2017 at 7:38 am

    Love this list! I gave up my job last year when i got pregnant with my second. People forget or dont believe you when you say you ran a marketing and sales department in a busy company. Only now am i ok with what i do and dont feel the need to justify it or explain what i use5x to be/do. I get asken what ill do when i go bsck to work….. i currently have no plans as yet to go back to work. And thats ok. I feel lucky i can spend my days with mu babies. Its a challenge but an amazing opportunity for us as a family. Thank you for writing such a relatable post.

  • Reply Now That’s What I Call A List 2017 – Mother of all Lists December 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm


  • Reply Megan Lynch September 27, 2020 at 11:23 am

    This is so relatable. I took a voluntary redundancy this year and felt a bit lost for a bit. What am I now? Am I retired? Was I made redundant (even though I chose to take a redundancy and consider myself privileged to be able to take it)? Am I unemployed? I feel like i’m privileged to be able to raise my children, I don’t need to contribute financially to the running of the household and yet, there’s a guilt or a feeling of judgement. I never got to high heights in my career even though I have a PhD, but I still feel judgement that it was wasted. It’s a minefield but hopefully like the comment above i’ll become more comfortable with my position. Thank you for this post!

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