Your kids won’t always be small, and working does get easier as they get older and start school. Find out what working life is like when you don’t have babies or toddlers…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi, I’m Kel and I live in West Yorkshire with my handsome fella, strapping eleven-year-old son Harry and energetic eight-year-old daughter Emily.
What line of work are you in?
I co-run a business with a number of family members. The company deals with automatic doors, and I mainly take care of the money – accounts and wages.
What hours do to work?
Officially, it’s 40 hours a week, 9-5. Though I really can’t remember the last time I was in for nine!
Who looks after your kids while you work?
No longer toddlers, mine spend most of their day in school. They then go to an after school club just near the school until I can get out of work and pick them up. Schools holidays can be interesting – I try to take off as much time of possible of course, but it can be a mix of them hanging out with grandparents, going to one of a number of holiday clubs in the area, or coming into to office with me where I will spend my day printing out word searches and encouraging them to write stories while I work – not always the most productive!
Are you in the same job as before you had children?
The company was set up while I was off on maternity leave – I was initially working out of the spare bedroom so it offered so much more flexibility than the regular office job I was in before – I didn’t even have to worry about getting dressed!
How quickly did you return to work after having kids?
Technically the company was started when the eldest was around three or four months old, but in the beginning it wasn’t a full-time job, so it didn’t seem like there was a clear cut ‘start date’, just answering the phone a couple of times and sorting out paperwork when he napped. He started nursery a few months later, but it was quite gently phased. With the younger one again there wasn’t a totally clear working/not-working division. I’d be off for the most part but have to call in throughout my maternity time to make sure things were getting done.
Did you want to return to work?
Yes and no, but mainly yes. I love my kids but think I’d have gone a little crazy at home all day, and that’s not even taking the money into consideration!
What are the hardest things about being a working mum?
It can be hard to find time for, well for anything really! There’s a lot that only ever gets half-done!
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
Being so busy through the week means we really appreciate the weekends, even if we don’t do much with them (sometimes especially when we don’t do much with them!).
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
Worries about the time away from the kids aren’t as prevalent now they’re in school most of the day anyway, but there’s this constant fear I’ll forget something important. That, and I’m tired. All the time.
Do you have any tips for mums thinking about returning to work after maternity leave?
If you can’t get the return to work you want, it’s always worth exploring some other options. Starting a business may not be for everyone but it allowed me more time at home with the babies while still earning, and a more relaxed entry to nursery than returning full time to a previous job would have done.
Kel blogs at Adventures In Tea & Cake where you can find out more about her.