As a working mum, some days I find it extremely difficult while on others it's nice to be able to sit and have a hot cup of tea without having to wipe a nose or change a nappy! I know there are a heck of a lot of working mums out there, some love it, some hate it, others 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!
This week I have Becky from Educating Roversi answering all those working mummy questions.
Tell me a little bit about who is in your family
There's me, Becky – 32 and a drama teacher. My husband, Ric, who manages the family Italian restaurant and our son, Lucas (usually known as Mini R in my blog). We also have an unsociable cat called Coco who hates everyone.
What age were your children when you returned to work?
I returned to work when L was 11mo wondering if I was going to keep my job as there were talks of redundancy. It added to the pressure of returning to work but also made me realise how much I did love my job.
Did you return to a job away from the home or within the home?
Away from home. Luckily my school is only a 15 minute drive from our home so it wasn't masses of travelling. Saying that, it ends up being within the home too as I always have work to do outside of school.
Did you choose to return or did your circumstances force you back?
A bit of both. We couldn't afford for me not to work but I also had worked so hard to become a teacher that I wanted to go back. I didn't feel like I could walk away from teaching completely.
Did you return to work full or part time?
Originally four days with Friday's off, which was great. We managed to find a solution to the redundancies by three of us in the department dropping to three days which I began in the new school year. I have Wednesday's and Thursday's off now.
What childcare do you have in place and how did you go about choosing it?
Lucas goes to nursery on a Tuesday and a Friday. Daddy has Monday's off so he had a "boys day" with him. I asked around for recommendations regarding nurseries/childminders. Went to see a couple but the one we chose, Little People, had the best feeling about it.
What do you find the most difficult about being a working mum?
Juggling everything. If I worked three days and didn't have to do any extra work outside of my working hours I would find it a lot easier but I only have nap time and after bedtime to work. I found that cleaning got put on the back burner so we got a cleaner – it's the best decision we made! Although life is still very busy!
How do you deal with the working mummy guilt?
You know what, when I pick my boy up from nursery and see him having such a great time, I don't feel guilty. He loves his day with daddy and his time at nursery so that stops me from feeling guilty. I make sure that my work doesn't impact our Mummy/Son time and that helps me feel good about working and doing what I can to provide.
How did you feel when it was time to go back to work?
Nervous! I was worried I'd forget how to teach! I rang nursery every day he was there for the first few weeks too because I was worrying about him settling in or sleeping. I missed L on the days I wasn't with him but it made me appreciate the other days and, although I still miss him now, I do enjoy having my lunch in peace or going to the loo in peace on those days!
Is your work/life balance what you want it to be or would you rather work less or more?
I'd rather work less out of working hours but unfortunately it comes with the job. I try to manage it so I don't do any on a weekend if possible so use Wednesday and Thursday naps and evenings to do what work I do have. It'll be interesting to see what happens when the school production is on and I have to be at work till 10pm three or four nights.
What advice would you give to a mummy heading back to work?
Get organised! It's the only way you can get everything running smoothly. I prepare as much as I can the night before so I'm not rushing around on a work morning. Stuff I would never have done pre-son, like have a shower and wash my hair the night before instead of the morning! Batch cooking is a lifesaver!
Becky, thank you so much for showing us an insight into your life as a working mum. Even though you part time, you obviously still have so much to do outside. Don't they say that a part time job as a teacher is basically just full time work in less hours?! It's great that you managed to negotiate with your work to stop being made redundant and that it meant that you get to spend more time at home with your boy. It must be lovely to have that time together during the week when it's just you and him. I totally agree with you about that 'feel' when you find the right nursery and it's such a relief when it happens. And picking them up seeing them having so much fun is so reassuring – last night I turned up to find him racing round the garden with one of his best friends and it's so wonderful to watch. It sounds like you definitely made the right decision in going back to work to keep that career there and you so deserve for your working mummy life to continue the way it is.