In this week’s Interview with a Working Mum guest post, we have a mum who had a long maternity leave before heading back to work. Not only does this working mum work and have 2 kids, she also runs her own blog giving fellow mums advice on money and finances.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
Hi, I’m Emma! I’m mummy to two beautiful curly haired girls who I am loving spending quality time with over the summer holidays. My husband and I met in Australia but moved home here when our eldest daughter was born. We love being close to family again and enjoy spending our weekends exploring playgrounds and fun family activities.
What line of work are you in?
My background is finance and right now, I work part-time for an expanding chain of nurseries. I also recently started blogging (in the evenings as I have no other free time!) at The Money Whisperer.
How many hours do you work?
I work 4 hours a day, 4 days a week and one whole day off with my youngest who isn’t in school yet. I then work when the girls are in bed on my blog – this can be another 15/20 hours a week.
Who looks after your girls while you work?
One is in nursery and the other in school. My hours are school hours so I don’t need any extra help. I can drop both girls off and collect them both at the end of the day. I negotiated more flexible working during the school holidays so right now, I am working 2 full days a week which is easier for childcare. My parents are great and help out a lot during the holidays.
Are you in the same job before you went on maternity leave?
No – I was working in Melbourne for a Big 4 accounting firm before I went on maternity leave. When we moved home to the UK after the birth of our daughter, I found it difficult to reconnect with my firm at the London office as I hadn’t worked there for 6 years. Whilst they promote flexible working, I didn’t think I would be able to get a foot back in the door until I was full time and I didn’t want to go back full time so I looked for an alternative.
How long was your maternity leave?
I had 3 years off work between having my first child and going back to work. It was heaven! I loved that time with my babies…
Did you want to return to work?
Yes, I was ready to have something for me again. I loved being a stay at home mum and I am grateful that I didn’t have to go back while they were little for financial reasons which I know is why many mums return to work. After 3 years though, I was ready to use my brain again and I was past the zombie state which I was in for a couple of years while I had broken sleep – I felt I could actually function at work!!
What do you find the hardest about being a working mum?
Juggling work and sick children. I would never foist my children onto grandparents when they need to stay home because they are ill – when they are ill they just want mummy. But it is hard having to be the one who has to call in to work and say you need time off/work from home because you have a poorly child.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
I love having work friends again and socialising with a different group of people. My mummy friends are great but the conversation tends to revolve around our kids at playgroups or when we’re on a playdate. It’s nice to have a conversation about other things and go out as Emma, not mummy!
I also think it’s important for the girls to see that I have a passion outside of being a mummy. The girls look at my blog and whilst they are too young to understand it yet, my eldest gave me a picture which she had drawn of me the other day which read ‘my mum is a munee wisperu’ (she’s 5 so everything is still written phonetically!) I am proud that they can see what I am achieving through hard work; it’s important to me that they understand that we have to work to have nice things, it doesn’t just happen.
What are your least favourite things about being a working mum?
I just never get a chance to stop until it’s bedtime! I’m doing breakfast, nursery run, school run, work, nursery pick up, school pick up, shopping, cooking tea, bath, bed, packed lunches for the next day, blog content writing/social media then it’s 11 pm! I really need more sleep…!
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Childcare is expensive so use family as much as you can if they are available. The new 30 hours funding is going to really help a lot of parents of pre-schoolers to get back to work without extortionate childcare bills but do be aware that ‘free’ childcare is going to become more and more difficult to come across with the new changes to funding.