Being a working mum doesn’t always mean that you leave the house for the office every morning. If you work for yourself like my latest guest blogger you’ll still face struggles, they’ll just be a different kind…
Please introduce yourself…
Hi, I am Rhian – 30 something Mum of a ‘two-nager’. We recently moved from London to Warwickshire to embark on building our forever home, and settling into a quieter, more chilled out village life.
I also blog at From Tum To Mum.
What line of work are you in?
I work as a self-employed digital marketing consultant type person. Typically this involves social media management, but also copywriting, graphic design, website admin and generally anything else that my client needs.
How many hours do you work?
I only really do part time hours around my daughter’s childcare. Officially, I work 2.5 days per week but really I probably do about another day in the evenings or at weekends trying to catch up with things I’ve not managed to get done.
Who looks after your daughter while you work?
She goes to a local day nursery for 1 full day and 2 mornings per week.
Are you in the same line of work as before you had children?
Yes, kind of. I have been in digital marketing for about 10 years now, but up until 4 years ago was always client side.
4 years ago I decided to go freelance. I’d got to where I wanted to be career-wise, and found I wasn’t really enjoying it anymore. I always knew that I wanted a family and the hours I was doing just wouldn’t have allowed me to do that in the way I’d have wanted to. I decided to go for it and managed to get myself set up with a few regular clients before getting pregnant about a year later, so it’s worked out quite well.
How quickly did you return to work after having your daughter?
Believe it or not, I was working the day after I had my daughter! It was only some writing and was very flexible, but I didn’t really take any maternity leave.
Did you want to return to work?
I think I dropped the work down to a few days for the first month but then picked it up again. I was working when she napped (in the day), and answering emails or monitoring Facebook whilst feeding at night!
What are the hardest things about being a working mum?
For me, it was that decision to keep squeezing everything in. I was shattered but felt like I was letting my clients down if I stopped. At the same time, I felt like I was letting her down if I tried to do anything while she was awake, so left it until she napped. Typically, as soon as I sat down to do anything, the baby would wake up, so it’d be working in the evening once she was in bed. I also had no time out of the house – one of the perils of working from home!
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
The fact that I can keep working on my terms but still also be there for my daughter. I am lucky that I haven’t had to go back to work full-time and that I can pick and choose my hours around the childcare I do have in place. I want to bring her up to realise that she can be anything she wants to be, and by trying to make everything fit, it feels like a good way to show her.
I think the way I work gives me us a better balance without really sacrificing anything. I can still be a good Mum, but also maintain a level of working to keep my brain from turning to mush!
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
Remembering that I only have so many hours per week for work, so I have to turn work down. Since my daughter stopped her daytime naps, I’ve got better at just not working on my ‘Mummy days’ now. Before I would use that time to finish bits off, but now she rarely sleeps, so we just spend the day together, and I love every second.
Do you have any tips for mums thinking about returning to work?
I think the biggest tip I have is to do what feels right. Listen to your gut. If you want to go back to work full-time, part-time or not at all, it’s OK. It’s a really hard decision.
I could have stopped working completely, and believe me, I’ve considered it so many times when she is poorly or going through a more clingy phase. Deep down though, I knew that wouldn’t have been the best thing for either of us. It was really hard to leave her at nursery and for a good year, I hated every time I dropped her off. Now though, I am so proud of her when she chatters about her day with her ‘best friend’ at nursery, or she picks up her “laptop to do work”, and know it’s the influence of her having some time away from me that’s helping to make her a more well-rounded child.
Any other tips?
Try to get a schedule of time for yourself too. My childcare is the time I work, but if I need a haircut or want to go for a run, I have to fit that in too. It’s totally OK (even though your inner guilt might tell you otherwise!).
If you’d like to find our more about Rhian check out her blog.