After working really hard from the day I left college and working my way up through the ranks, I secured a fantastic role that I not only enjoyed but that also paid well (always a bonus). Then at the age of twenty-one, I had my first baby and I became a full-time working mum. My daughter was nine months old when I went back to a job that I loved. So, I decided for her to go to a day nursery. The settling-in days went smoothly and actually enjoyed the company of other children (this made me feel less guilty about leaving her for nine hours a day, which seems such a long time for such a little person. I’m sure if you are a parent reading this you know all too well about the puppy dog look when they realise you are leaving them or the tantrum they can pull at the drop of a hat or even the vice-like grip they can get on you – GUILT TRIP!!!).
Wow, who would have known how much more you have to/ can fit into a working day? I would set out our clothes, pack her nursery bag, organise my lunch and all the essentials in my handbag. It would include a drink for the car, spare bib, snack in case we got stuck somewhere, wet wipes and a toy – Yes in my handbag!! The night before then got her bathed and a good night story read (also fitting dinner in there somewhere too). Once the house was quiet, I would create a little bit of me-time and run a lovely bubble bath and a good read. Mornings in our house were like well-rehearsed military operations (as long as there were no projectile vomiting episodes or last-minute nappy filling events). Weekdays were extremely hectic, but I absolutely loved being a mum with a job I totally enjoyed.
Being a working mum, in fact, made me appreciate the weekends and holiday time we spent together, we could be more relaxed and have fun. Then my life became even fuller when I had my son!! Having two children under the age of two and still working full-time was by far the busiest my life had ever been. But again, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world. Well except for the times when I got to the office, and someone would kindly point out that I had baby sick all down my back. Or the time I forgot to drop my daughter to the nursery because she was asleep in the back of the car!
Ultimately it’s all about finding what works for you as a family; there is no right or wrong and my only word of advice to you, would be:
- Be patient with your career growth and phase it out. You might start with a role you can fit around the school run
- Share the school run if possible
- Don’t be a perfectionist
- Create a suitable network around you