Are you enjoying my Interview With A Working mum series? I hope it’s inspiring you and showing that working mums come in all shapes and sizes!
This week we meet Katie, a working mum who has managed to get flexible working hours to help juggle work and family life.
Please Introduce Yourself…
I’m Katie, a 30-someting New Yorker living in Glasgow with my husband, 19-month-old daughter and super annoying ginger cat. I’m a big fan of cheese, public radio, travel and leggings.
You can find out more about me – and my life as a working mum – on my blog, The Squirmy Popple.
What line of work are you in?
I do digital content marketing for a public sector organisation, mostly developing web and social media content to promote Scotland’s technology and creative industries.
How many hours do you work?
I work 31.5 hours a week – four full days and a half-day on a Friday.
Who looks after your daughter while you work?
My daughter goes to nursery three days a week, my husband watches her one day a week, and we split childcare on Fridays.
Are you in the same job as before you had your daughter?
Yup, I’m in exactly the same job. My employer initially told me that I’d have to return to work full time, but after some negotiation, we agreed on 4.5 days a week. They’re pretty flexible about working hours so I work from 8-4 Monday-Thursday, which means that I can get my daughter home at a decent time and spend a few hours with her before bedtime.
How quickly did you return to work after having your daughter?
I took 12 months of maternity leave and I’m so glad that I did. It put a strain on me financially, but my daughter was a very challenging baby, so I don’t see how I could have gone back sooner. She didn’t sleep through the night for the first year of her life – not even close – and working on such little sleep would have been torture.
I have so much respect for mothers who manage it. I would have died. I could barely write a text on three hours of sleep, let alone a social media strategy.
Did you want to return to work?
Not at first, but I’m glad that I did. I didn’t realise how much I needed time to put the mum stuff aside and concentrate on something that didn’t involve nappies and board books.
What are the hardest things about being a working mum?
Trying to balance it all. The madness of the nursery run. The exhaustion at the end of the day. The feeling that you’re not really giving either your job or your child your full attention.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
MONEY. Can I say money? Seriously, we would be so broke if I didn’t work.
But it’s not just that. I like challenging my brain and having an actual lunch break where my lunch companions don’t throw their food on the floor and then demand I spoon yoghurt directly into their mouths.
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
Actually taking my daughter to nursery. The trip involves:
A very unpleasant train journey, during which she climbs all over me, bangs on the window and maintains a low-level whine for 20 minutes straight. Carrying her for the 15 minute walk from the train station to the nursery because she refuses to sit in a pushchair. Listening to her scream and cry when I drop her off EVERY SINGLE TIME.
The days when I don’t have to take her to nursery feel like a holiday. A solo train ride while listening to a podcast? A walk to work without a 20lb weight attached to my hip? Glorious.
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Don’t be afraid to ask for flexible working. A lot of employers will push back, but stick to your guns if it’s something that you think can work for both your family and your employer. For many office-based jobs, there’s no reason that employees need to have their bums in their chairs from 9-5, Monday-Friday. Discuss flexible hours. Reduced hours. Remote working. Home working. Convince them that it can work.
I’m a big fan of the #WorkThatWorks campaign from Digital Mums, which promotes flexible working for mothers. So many mothers are forced out of the labour market because they can’t find a job that allows them to balance their work life and home life – us mums need to stand together and fight for a different way of working.
Totally agree with you there Katie, flexible working definitely helps with the work-life balance!
Would you like to write a guest post about your working life? If so, just drop me an email.