One of the best parts of blogging is reading about how other mums cope and learning about their lives. I’m very jealous of this week’s working mum, she lives over in Ibiza in the sunshine!
Read on to find out how Jade from A Positive Parent copes with being a working mum in a foreign country.
Tell us a bit about you…
My name is Jade Gandey. I am English and I live with my nearly 5-year-old daughter and my partner Pete in the north of Ibiza in Spain.
What line of work are you in?
I work in digital marketing and in my spare time I research Positive Psychology for my blog A Positive Parent. I trawl huge amounts of research and share it in an easy to digest way for other parents.
How many hours Per Week do you work?
I’m self-employed at least 40-hour working week – more than enough! If I need extra work time I would rather work late or very early so it does not take away time from my daughter.
Who looks after your daughter while you work?
My daughter is in a small local Spanish school 8.30 til 2 pm. Until recently I had an au pair to look after her Mon-Fri afternoons until 6.30pm (the nice thing about living in Ibiza is there are always people who want to come and help au pair!)
Whilst my daughter was 1 to 4 years old I raised her as a self-supporting single mum so I had no other option. I always worked hard to ensure I dropped my daughter to nursery/school every day and I was always the one to put her to bed. My au pairs never work weekends as that is all about mummy time.
My au pair recently left and the stress of chronic illness (possibly Crohn’s something that is eventually diet controllable) means that I can not face the interview process so have juggled my week so I have more time with my daughter – my partner takes her one afternoon, friends 2 afternoons and me 2 afternoons which is working well.
Are you in the same line of work as before you had your daughter?
Yes, I was self-employed and had my own digital marketing company so taking time off was impossible without closing my business!
How quickly did you return to work?
Two weeks off and then I returned to work, no maternity leave BUT I live in Ibiza you can take a baby with you everywhere, it’s ok and part of life. The Spanish love families and mums are seen as reliable on an island where many people just work for the season.
Did you want to return to work?
Yes, I love working. I think I would have chosen a few months off but August (when she was born) is the busiest time of year so no chance!
What are the hardest things about being a working mum in Ibiza?
Not being there. I was a single mum from my daughter turning one, it was a very challenging time. I had to support my daughter, an au pair and a small child so I needed to take a masculine role really and my daughter definitely felt my absence and so did I. It was heartbreaking for me and I was exhausted.
These days as she is older (well nearly 5) it’s easier. We really value our quality time now. The two days a week I pick her up from school are special occasions. She certainly challenges me but she understands why I work and what it means in our lives that I can support her.
Writing my blog really helps my approach to being a working mum as it lets me look at great research surrounding working mums. This from the Guardian:
“One in three daughters of working mothers were in managerial posts, compared with only one in four of those with non-working mothers. “These findings suggest that in addition to transmitting gender attitudes across generations, mothers’ employment teaches daughters a set of skills that enable greater participation in the workforce and in leadership positions,” the study argues.”
Reading stuff like that definitely takes away some of the working mum worries.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
Being a working my mum means I value my time with daughter. ‘Us time’ is a luxury and we really value it, we use our time to make science projects, craft activities, baking, walking and doing great things together.
I love adult time, I love working, I love researching, planning and creating creative concepts.
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
The time I am away from my daughter. I am very lucky working freelance means I never have to miss a school play, a sports day or a special moment. If my daughter is ill I can work from home. I am sure that makes being a working mum much easier for me.
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Work for yourself if you can. Yes it may mean you have to work longer hours, a Friday night may be proposals rather than movies but at least you can be there with them when they need you without being answerable to a boss who needs you in an office every day (maybe just some days!)
I think that we should all apply Positive Psychology techniques to our families. Gratitude, 3 good things, so many amazing suggestions to bring out the best in our children, in turn, bringing out the best in ourselves.
If you’d like to find out more about Jade and Positive Psychology then head over to her blog where she has some really great posts.
I’m always looking for more working mums to take part in the series, so if you’re interested drop me an email.