One thing that nearly all of the working mums taking part in this series say is that it’s nice to be someone other than “mummy” for a bit. This week I’m talking to Kat from Confessions of a Working Mum who enjoys being able to be a role model for her daughter…
Please tell us a bit about you…
Hi, I’m Kat, a thirty something first-time mum. I live by the sea near Blackpool with my fiancé Anthony and our little girl Willow who is nearly 18 months old.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Communications Officer for a public sector pension scheme. The role is very varied but involves drafting and managing communications plans, maintaining and providing content for the website and social media channels, customer and staff newsletters and working with our designers on informational videos, posters and infographics. No two days are the same!
How many hours do you work?
I work 37.5 hours Monday to Friday.
Who looks after your daughter while you work?
My mum looks after Willow two days a week. They have loads of fun together and have got into a routine of going to baby groups and to the library for story time with other grans who are looking after their grandchildren. They have a better social life than me! The other three days she goes to nursery. She loves it there. We’re really lucky to have found such a great place for her.
Are you in the same job before you went on maternity leave?
Yes I am. My boss was great. We have keep in touch days and he dropped by to see me at home to bring me up to speed with what had been going on. I initially went back part time which he was also supportive of.
How long was your maternity leave?
I went back to work when Willow was 9 months old. I could have had another month but instead Anthony took paternity leave which was a fantastic experience for them both.
Did you want to return to work?
I had always planned to come back to work, obviously because we need the income but also because I really like my job and have worked hard to get where I am. Also I love being a mummy, it’s such a privilege and the best job in the world but I needed to get back to a bit of adult conversation and to use my brain in a work capacity again.
What do you find the hardest about being a working mum?
There’s always the mum guilt. No matter what you do it’s always lurking in the background. “Is she happy?” “Am I spending enough time with her?” We’re just programmed that way aren’t we? Everything Anthony and I do is in Willow’s best interests. We’re working to make a nice life for our family. Sometimes I have to leave early before she wakes up and get back late after she has gone to sleep so on occasion I don’t get to see her at all in a day. I always give her extra kisses and cuddles the next morning whether she likes it or not though!
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
I like earning my own money. I like that I get to be ‘work Kat’ in the office then come home and switch to full on mummy mode. I like to think that I’m setting a good example for Willow for when she is older. She’ll know that she has choices whether it to be a working or a stay at home mum. I want her to know that she is entitled to pick up her career after having children should she want to.
And what are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
I’m not a fan of going into work on a few hours’ sleep. We have rough nights where she won’t settle (as I’m sure all parents can relate to) and it can be tough sometimes to muster the energy to function and be professional when all I really want to do is curl up under my desk and take a nap!
Do you have any tips for other mums thinking about returning to work?
I’ve actually blogged about this! I wrote 7 things to think about when returning to work to help mums who might be feeling worried or anxious about going back. Think my main bit of advice is to give yourself time to adjust being back at work and in a new routine with childcare etc. It won’t happen overnight but it will come, I promise. Also, don’t let anyone judge you for your decisions. It’s your family and your choice!
Any other Working mum advice?
I’m really aware that I was lucky to have a supportive employer when I returned to work but I know that many women have a difficult experience and feel side lined, are overlooked for promotion or are treated differently once they return to work after having a baby. Sadly, some are even forced to put on hold or even leave their hard earned careers altogether as the extortionate cost of nursery simply doesn’t add up for them and their employers are not open to them working flexibly. I’d just like to champion some of the fantastic campaigns/opportunities that are out there encouraging parents, businesses and employers to think differently about ‘normal’ working parameters. If you haven’t already please check out Mother Pukka’s Flex Appeal and Digital Mum’s work that works for more information.
Thanks Kat! If you want to find out more about Kat or the campaigns she mentions, you can follow her on Twitter.
If you would likt to take part in this series I’d love to hear from you.