The Impossible Dream. A poem by Fran Bardsley

They made a silent pact on our behalf,
Those hungry, trail-blazing women.
They were told
“You can have
What we have –
You must just work harder
Be twice as good for half as much
And remember:
Work like you don’t have children,
Parent like you don’t have a job.”

We always knew it was a trick.
With a smile
They trapped us under their glass ceilings,
Elevated us atop glass cliffs
And tutted sadly as we hurtled to the ground

We weren’t trying to have it all.
We’re not stupid.
It came as no surprise that
We ended up doing it all.
That was the price we elected to pay.

But we never expected to have
To do it
All at the same time.

We rushed from meetings to plays –
Sometimes, we even made it on time –
Organised schedules furiously;
Bore the mental load to make sure our families ran

Now the juggling has burst from the calendar page
Into every waking moment.
We mute ourselves on conference calls
So we can hear our children read,
Laptop on one knee,
Child balancing precariously on the other.
And in the background
The dinner is burning
The washing machine needs emptying
And the sound of another piece of schoolwork
Ripped to shreds in frustration
Fills the air.


A journalist for 10 years, Fran now works in marketing and PR in the education sector and writes as much as she can. Older writings can be found here.

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