Feature Flip #01 Mummascribbles
Welcome to the first edition of Feature Flip! Feature Flip is a new series dedicated to showcasing some great features run by my fellow bloggers.
This week, I am turning the tables on one of my favourite bloggers, Lisa at Mummascribbles!
Lisa regularly interviews other working mums to find out how they juggle their lives and I wanted to hear Lisa’s responses to her own question – over to Lisa:
Tell us about your Series – Working Mums
As a working mum, I was really interested to find out how other working mums get by in their daily quest of juggling a million things. I also wanted to help others who may be returning to work by giving them access to information from those who are already back in the workplace. That’s why I set up my Working Mums interview series and I’ve absolutely loved every single one that I have published to date.
There’s nothing like getting a comment from someone who is about to head back to work after maternity leave and finding that my interviews have helped them. They also help me to remember that I’m not alone, that there are lots of working mums out there and that there is nothing to feel bad about.
Tell me a little bit about who is in your family.
There is myself, my other half Dean and our three year old son Zachary. We also have two rabbits and some tropical fish!
What age were your children when you returned to work?
Zach was nearly 10 months old when I returned.
Did you return to a job away from the home or within the home?
Outside of the home. I worked in Central London and now work in South London so I’ve always had a fairly decent commute on top of my working hours.
Did you choose to return or did your circumstances force you back?
Sadly circumstance forced me back.
Did you return to work full or part time?
I started out part time. I managed to negotiate a four day working week and for the first couple of months I also used a day’s annual leave each week so that I was doing three days in the office. The four days started when Zach turned one and then when he was 18 months old we bought a house which meant that we needed me to return full time. I did four days in the office and one day from home until I switched companies and I now do five full days in the office.
What childcare do you have in place and how did you go about choosing it?
We are very fortunate to have a wonderful mixture of my mum and nursery. When my dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in 2012, mum initially went off sick with stress and eventually decided to give up work when dad was at his worst. She helped care for him in his final weeks and found herself in the position where she didn’t really have to go back to a day job. When you’ve just watched your 64 year old husband die 3 months after diagnosis, it’s safe to say that you discover that life is too short. I was pregnant at the time and after a lot of consideration by her, she very kindly offered to have Zach when I needed to go back to work. After lots of discussions, we came to an arrangement where he would spend three days with her, one day with me and one day in nursery. When I went back full time, that changed to two days in nursery and that’s where we are now. He absolutely adores his nannie and he loves nursery (even though sometimes he pretends not to!). It’s such a great balance with someone looking after him three days a week that loves him as much as I do and nursery is great for his development.
With his nurseries we went off gut instinct. The first nursery in our old town was the only one we saw and we loved it. He was so happy there and I was so happy with them. When we moved, he had to change nursery and we visited three. As soon as we walked into the second one we knew that was the one we’d be sending him to. We went to see the third but both knew we’d be going straight back to the second to get the form in. Especially since there was only one more place in the class on the days we needed! I did look into a childminder but they were lacking in our area and in all honestly I wasn’t 100% sure about using one. That said, now I wonder if he’d have preferred a childminder over nursery but that’s something I’ll never know the answer to!
What do you find the most difficult about being a working mum?
I miss him so much. The hardest thing I find is that the only times I really get to see him during the week is when he is tired and whiney! Depending on what time he wakes up, I see him for an hour or so in the morning (including driving time) and an hour or so in the evening. I also have to travel with work and whilst it is mostly now only an overnight stay, I find it so hard being away. He always gets really emotional when he sees me again and I feel like the worst mother for having had to leave him. I also feel like the worst mother if I have to wake him up to get him out of the house and dragging him out at 7am on a cold winters morning.
How do you deal with the working mummy guilt?
To be honest, I don’t deal with it very well. I try to remind myself that this is just the way it is and that it’s all for his benefit. From the roof over his head to the clothes on his back, none of it would be possible if I didn’t work. It’s hard to remember that though when he’s having a morning that he doesn’t want to go to nursery, especially now he can say the words himself! Over the years since I’ve been back there have been numerous occasions when I have walked away from nursery in tears, there was even once when I was out at lunchtime and found myself crying. I am a bit rubbish with mummy guilt!
How did you feel when it was time to go back to work?
Horrible. I wasn’t looking forward to it one bit. I was dreading being away from my boy, dreading missing out on so much. When I did three days a week it was much easier, knowing that I was still spending the majority of time with him but it got even worse when I went back full time. I even find it difficult after a length of time off. I always take a big Christmas holiday, generally two weeks off and I often find myself in tears the night before I’m due back at work again!
Is your work/life balance what you want it to be or would you rather work less or more?
It is definitely not what I want it to be. In fact, I wouldn’t say I have a work/life balance at all. With having to commute and then work 37.5 hours a week, I barely see my boy and he barely sees his mummy. I don’t have an issue with having to work but I just hate working full time. My ideal would be three days a week again…I can deal with that!
What advice would you give to a mummy heading back to work?
Try not to be as hard on yourself as I am! I am very negative about being a working mum and it’s no secret that I hate it. But, in reality it’s not that bad. Day to day, I do just fine, I’d just rather be at home with my boy. My biggest tip is to be organised by getting everything ready the night before. Remember the benefits too, lunch and several hot cups of tea. And if you are a commuter like me, you get to read a book too! Make the most of the weekends too, if your house is a bit dusty, it doesn’t matter – time with the kids is more important!
Do you run a series that you’d like to take part in yourself? Email me your idea to mim AT lovefrommim DOT com