Working Mums – Life Unexpected

I have been a working mum for more than three years now and am currently half way through my second maternity leave. Some days being at full time work for those three years was extremely difficult while on others it was nice to be able to sit and have a hot cup of tea without having to wipe a nose or change a bum! I know there are a heck of a lot of working mums out there, some who love it, some who hate it and others who are somewhere in the middle. I thought it would be interesting to see exactly how others feel about being a working mum and maybe we can all learn a little something about dealing with that dreaded mummy guilt!

Today we meet the lovely Chloe from Life Unexpected talking everything working mummy!

Tell me a little bit about who is in your family. 
I have a very unusual set up. I’m currently living at my mums while we save for a mortgage. Right now I live with my 2 year old daughter Evie, my mum, step-dad, teenage sister and my partner/best friend Aitan.

What age were your children when you returned to work? 
Evie was 9 months old when I returned to work, but after two months I quit my job and set out on my own as a freelancer. I did this so I could spend more time with my daughter and so that I could finally do a job that I loved.

Did you return to a job away from the home or within the home?
My job was away from home, but now I work from home or anywhere that has internet. This is my favourite thing in summer, because one of our local beaches has a cafe with great wifi signal. It means I can occasionally work on the ipad, while my little one builds sandcastles next to me.

Did you choose to return or did your circumstances force you back? 
My circumstances forced me back. We were struggling to pay for our house bills on one wage. When I went back to work I was very depressed. We also wished so much for our own house, rather than working so hard to pay someone else rent. So we decided that we would move in with my mum, save for a mortgage and I would set up as a freelancer and start doing something I loved.

Did you return to work full or part time? 
I returned to work part time because we struggled to get childcare. 

What childcare do you have in place and how did you go about choosing it?  
When I first went back to work, childcare came in the form of helpful grandparents. We didn’t have much choice because we couldn’t afford nursery at the time. Now I have a very flexible job so can balance being an almost full time mum, with working. We can also afford to send Evie to nursery two days a week now too which means I get to cram work in and spend a lot more time with her when she’s home.

What do you find the most difficult about being a working mum? 
Dealing with tiredness. I am often exhausted. It’s hard to get up and feel motivated when you’re really lacking sleep.

How do you deal with the working mummy guilt? 
This is something I still struggle with. Especially when my daughter is being extra cuddly and I need to encourage her to play on her own, or need to drop her at nursery. But, I just remember that this is for her, that I am building something to give her the best life I can.

How did you feel when it was time to go back to work?
I dreaded it. I really wasn’t ready, but that was because I was going back to a job I didn’t enjoy. If I had another baby now, I would be itching to get back to work because I love it so much.

Is your work/life balance what you want it to be or would you rather work less or more? 
My job varies every week. One week I struggle to find the balance, the next week I have it. I have written so many tips about this on Life Unexpected, as my audience includes a lot of working mums.

What advice would you give to a mummy heading back to work? 
This is a difficult one, because I went against convention and was able to quit my job and start something for myself. If you do go back to work and you do enjoy your job then my advice would be to ignore the mummy guilt. It’s hard to, but it doesn’t solve anything. 

My advice to mums who are going back to do something they really don’t want to, is to sit down and look at options. Even if I didn’t have my mums house to move into, I knew that my family's happniess was more important than a pay check. Bills need to be paid, but have a look around at what else you can do. The internet has opened up a whole new world for working mums. There are so many blogs and articles online that can help you to start a new job that is flexible around your children. You might find something you really love!

Chloe, thank you so much for taking part. It really sounds like it was the best thing all round to quit your job and go into the world of freelancing. Your working from the beach while your daughter builds sandcastles sounds just idyllic. I have been working on my blog throughout this current maternity leave and know how hard it can be to fit in with the children at home. It sounds like you have the best of both worlds now though so long may it continue. 

Along with her blog, you can also find Chloe over on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Youtube.

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