So I completed a dreaded return to work day to create the plan for my imminent return. To be completely fair my manager sat me down and asked how I was feeling about it and whether I wanted to come back. Now of course no new mother will say no in a meeting of this kind but it is nice to be asked. I don’t expect that any new parent wants to return to work, be that male or female. The new law on additional parental leave was long overdue but that doesn’t remove the financial strain that one person being out of work in a household brings. So I said yes I was looking forward to the challenge and excited to get stuck in. My role isn’t exactly something which supports being able to take children to or pick them up from school. It also doesn’t really have room for any baby classes where the option of meeting new parents and building a network of support is available. So I knew deep down this wasn’t my honest answer. I absolutely do want to go back into a challenging working environment, however, I also want to see my family for longer than 2 hours a day.
I guess my shift from living to work to working to live is 100% down to my two boys and I am so glad that has happened, both emotionally and physically I am a better person. I still don’t know what my outcome will be but I am now actively seeking work which will reward me in the ways I need professionally but provide me with the much needed balance I require in my personal life. I will now have to explore exactly what that means but at least I am finally in a position where I know what I want!
So the question then becomes how this utopian life is supported.. Maybe more should be done around the payment of full wages from companies for longer periods, because after all, an asset like an experienced employee is worth the investment. Maybe people starting a family should be more financially prepared? That is much easier to say than do, how many of us have rainy day funds which are depleted as soon as they are built due to rainy day situations which happen in the running of every day life. Or the one we all dream of, the job role which is challenging, rewarding, pays well and is term time between the hours of 9 and 3 with an ability to be off for school plays, awards and the occasional sickness call.
I don’t know if such a role exists but its nice to think it one day might outside the profession of teaching because believe me that does not fit this spec…
In my last post I spoke about my sudden realization that I felt I had missed out on my sons progression. I want to be clear that I do not regret what I did, we have a nice house, have enjoyed great holidays and we even got married. Plus without this return to work I do not think we could of as readily transformed into a family of 4.
The thing with being a successful career focused person is that you have to forego a lot in order to maintain that level of progression you saw in your early twenties. I always dreamed of being super successful and leading the way. I think my childhood had a lot more to do with it than I give it credit for. My mum and dad worked hard all of their lives but they never wanted to be the leader, they were happy to work in a role they enjoyed. But as we all know the remuneration for a role that you enjoy doesn’t normally go past the realms of the minimum something which I was and always have been striving for.
When I first entered the world of work I was a highly ambitious know it all, I still genuinely believe I am a know it all but I think my focus has shifted. I worked long days and took on a varied amount of tasks, nothing was ever to much trouble. But again, this isn’t something which I regret. I loved my job and it felt good to be successful in it.
I guess by writing this down I have come to the conclusion that its not the job that’s changed but me. I have transformed from someone who lives to work to someone who now works to live..
I am currently enjoying some time on maternity leave following the birth of my second son. With my first I returned to work after 7 weeks. At the time some people questioned the speed at which I returned by having now spent over 4 months off work I think I had it right the first time! The longer I am off work it seems the harder it is to think about returning. With my first son circumstances dictated that once the full pay was removed I would have to return to my managerial role in a full time capacity.
Having worked since I was 16 this was my comfort zone, back in the office, commanding the work to be done and enjoying the results gained from a hard days graft. As my son began to grow and learn I missed key milestones and he most definitely preferred his main care giver to me. We had plenty of adventures on the weekend, unless there was a need for me to work of course, and returning to work also meant that we could enjoy family holidays and getaways more frequently than if I had taken more leave. At the time I never questioned whether the money was worth the sacrifice of time with my son. Looking back I realise what I missed out on while working full time, 5 days a week with some days stretching to 12 hours. I didn’t see him for breakfast or tea and missed out on so much. I believe at the time I thought that I was supporting him in the best way, showing him how working mothers achieve in the ‘real world’, now I just question everything I did.
So the big question, is it better to be the maternal mother caring and tending for every need of the child? Or the provider, working every day to make a better future for your children than the one you had? My family was loving, caring and giving, they had nothing when I was growing up. We borrowed and took clothes from family as we grew, but I was happy and well loved. Is that in the end all that matters?
Welcome to my first dip into the world of blog writing, something which I have considered for many years now.
First let me introduce myself, I am a working mum of two wonderful boys and we live in Greater Manchester, England. I want to protect my anonymity slightly here as I want to be completely honest. I have a lovely home life I am happily married and we have a home of our own with a lovely surrounding of family and friend base. We are lucky enough to be able to experience many things which life has to offer and we are generally very content with our life.
Up until the birth of my second son I was a highly ambitious career creator, that isn’t to say that I now want to laze my days away at home but more than my life goals have completely changed. As I further explored this within my own mind I began to question whether, at one point or another I was a neglectful Mum or an neglectful employee…
This blog will be my way of working through this with words.. I hope you join me on my journey 🙂