Being a working mum is always hard, but especially so when you first go back to work after maternity leave. My latest guest blogger has 3 children, has just returned to work, and has also recovered from back surgery in between which you can read more about on her blog.
Oh and she’s also my sister-in-law…
Please Introduce yourself…
I’m Lisa and I blog over at Backs n Bumps. I am a mum of three, I have two sons aged 8 & 9 and my daughter has just turned 1. We live in Bournemouth and we absolutely love being so close to the beach.
What line of work are you in?
I work for a large UK bank, for the General Insurance area of the business. I work in marketing and commercial management of our products.
How many hours per week do you work?
Currently, I work 28 hours a week. I work Monday – Friday 8am-1pm. I then do 3 hours during the week, usually in the evenings to finish off work as my schedule dictates.
Who looks after the kids while you work?
The boys are at school so I don’t have to worry about them until the school holidays. Darcey goes to nursery 3 mornings a week and the other 2 mornings my mother in law looks after her. This is a godsend as nursery is so expensive.
Are you in the same job/line of work as before you had children?
I’m working for the same team I was in before I went on maternity leave. In fact, I only returned to work at the beginning of January. The roles within our team are quiet fluid which is great because I get experience in a wide variety of roles. Work have been fantastic about welcoming me back and have been very accommodating with my hours. I put a business case and agile application form in whilst I was on maternity leave. Working mornings only is perfect for me because I still get Darcey every afternoon and can pick the boys up from school. For work it also means I am there every day rather than a few longer days a week.
How quickly did you return to work after having children?
With my oldest I went back after 5 months, we didn’t have a very good maternity scheme and I couldn’t afford to take any longer. With my younger son I went back when he was 7 months old for similar reasons. I didn’t feel quite ready to go back but the bills needed paying. This time I’ve managed to take a whole year by using my holiday and KIT days. Still, I could have stayed at home longer with Darcey but it was so nice to have a year together.
Did you want to return to work?
Yes and no. If money was no object I could quite happily be a house wife. With three kids I don’t think I’d get bored. However going back to work does mean I get to use my brain. It’s also nice to be someone other than ‘mummy’.
What are the hardest things about being a working mum?
The guilt. I feel bad I’m not the ones looking after them. I feel bad asking for help in the holidays. I feel bad if I have to miss school events and that I can’t help out with reading or trips.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
My top one at the moment is I get to drink a hot cup of tea! Really it’s that I get to be ‘me’ I get adult time and I get to use my brain and push myself.
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
Leaving the kids. Trying to juggle childcare if I have to go away for work. I really miss them on overnight stays. The first time I left Darcey overnight was before Christmas when I went to a work event.
Do you have any tips for other mums returning to work after maternity leave?
Think positively about it. Talk to your boss about any concerns that you have and be open and honest. When it comes to changing hours or applying for agile working be realistic. I know what my job demands and put together a business case of how I could make it work for both me and the business. I’m also flexible by travelling for my job when I need to which in turn is repaid when my children are ill or I can’t get childcare. Also, make sure you know all your rights about holiday pay and KIT days.
Good luck to any mummies out there about to go back to work. I’m on week 2 and it’s a bit of an adjustment but you’ll be fine.