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 Life on Vista Street answering all those working mummy questions.
Tell me a little bit about who is in your family
Life on Vista Street follows a Cheshire based family of three’s journey through life. Katie lives on Vista Street with her husband of nearly ten years, Mr Vista, and twenty month old daughter, Little Miss Vista.
What age were your children when you returned to work?
Ten months old but on graduated hours until she was one.
Did you return to a job away from the home or within the home?
I went back to the same job that I had before maternity leave away from home.
Did you choose to return or did your circumstances force you back?
At the time, circumstances forced me back. I’d been off work for nine months and my SMP has run out. We needed the money and a vast amount of childcare volunteers… so I had no choice and no excuse. Plus being able to have a few hot cups of tea and not having to share my lunch doesn’t hurt…
Did you return to work full or part time?
The plan was to return to work full time but I soon changed my mind. I now work around thirty hours per week but over three days, all from the office.
What childcare do you have in place and how did you go about choosing it?
I have never been keen on the idea for day nurseries for babies. I know that some parents have no choice but until Little Miss Vista can tell me exactly what goes on I’m happy for her to spend the days that I work with Grandparents. If she is going to spend all day in front of the television I’d rather not be paying for it.
How did you feel when it was time to go back to work?
I was strangely excited at the concept of having adult conversation frequently. But I was also nervous that I wouldn’t be taken as seriously on my return as I work in a 90% male environment.
What do you find the most difficult about being a working mum?
I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to miss Little Miss Vista when I went back to work. The first few weeks were fine as it was a kind of novelty to be back at work, but after being back at work for a few weeks I found myself feeling tearful towards the end of the day.
I’ve learned to cope with it better but you never get used to feeling like you’ve forgotten something.
How do you deal with the working mummy guilt?
On the days off that I have with my Little Miss I try to do things that engage her. We love to go to Read and Rhyme in the village (if it doesn’t clash with nap time), we swim and now that she is bigger we do arts and crafts at home.
Sometimes we curl up with a treat in front of a movie (usually Finding Nemo).
Is your work/life balance what you want it to be or would you rather work less or more?
I’m pretty happy with my work / life balance right now. I work just long enough to be ‘Katie’ and am home at all the important times so don’t miss out on the Mummy things. PLUS, Little Miss is benefiting from spending some time away from me. She’s so independent
What advice would you give to a mummy heading back to work?
I’m exhausted and I do too much. I make no secret of this on my blog. But being a working mum that contributes to the family funding and that is climbing the corporate ladder is so empowering. I like to think that when Little Miss Vista is old enough to understand, I’ll be setting a good work ethic example for her.
It is hard. It is rewarding. It is worth it!
Katie, thank you so much for giving us an insight into your experiences as a working mum. I love your last statement that you find being a working mum empowering. I often feel really down being a working mum but maybe I should start to look at it how you do. It’s also great that you have the grandparents on hand…I do too and whilst Zach does go to nursery, he spends most of his time with my mum.