I’m always in awe of mums who work full time, especially those with more than one child!
This week’s working mum is Laura from Edinburgh with Kids, she has 2 children and a step-son to look after as well as a job as a teacher.
Read on to find out how Laura manages to juggle it all…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m Laura – I live in Edinburgh with my husband Mike and kids Katie (5), Thomas (2) and step-son Ben (12). I love to read, drink coffee, workout at the gym, and enjoy writing.
What do you do for a living?
I teach Religious, Moral, and Philosophical Studies at an Independent boys school. I have a guidance role within the school, coach debating and am an Officer in the Combined Cadet Force.
How many hours do you work?
I work five days a week (8am – 4.05pm most days) but often have weekend and evening commitments too. So I finished at 3pm today but then I had a cadet thing last weekend so haven’t had a day off in almost two weeks.
Who looks after your children while you work?
Ben is at secondary school and is only with us a couple of days a week so there are no childcare issues there anymore. Katie is at primary school and then is looked after by a mixture of friends, neighbours, relatives and some wrap around care in the school too. Thomas is at nursery full time so that’s a bit more straightforward!
Are you in the same job before you went on maternity leave?
Yes – I have a slightly different timetable as it changes from year to year – this year I’m teaching more PSE lessons and some computer coding. But it may be different again next year.
Did you return to work on the same hours?
I did return on the same hours and no, nothing was changed. I put my foot down and refused to do trips that involved overnight stays each time I returned until the kids were almost two. Some people were more accepting of this than others!
How long was your maternity leave?
I took almost a full year off with both kids.
How did you feel about returning to work?
I found it awful returning the first time around and just cried on my way to work each day. It didn’t help that Katie would howl when I left her at nursery either. At that point, I just felt like I had no option but to return. With Thomas, it was easier because I knew things would improve. My salary barely covers childcare costs, so it felt like more of a choice – I could work to cover childcare costs but maintain my career or take a much longer break risking not being able to get a job at the end of it. But it wasn’t a ‘no brainer’ so I think I just felt more settled with it.
What do you find the hardest about being a working mum?
Definitely, guilt that I don’t spend enough time with the kids. I still want to do things ‘for me’ like go to the gym or read books, but I also feel like I should spend all the time I’m not working with the kids. I also feel like I miss out a lot not being at the school gate, like I’d like Katie to be able to have impromptu play dates. I’m so aware that other kids are having post-school play dates and feel awful she’s not had any.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
Drinking hot coffee?! Honestly, I like that I’m providing for my family and that I work with some lovely people.
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Be super organised. Have everything out the night before.
But overall, own your decisions. There are pros and cons to returning to work. Look for the positives in what you choose. My kids are confident in group situations, they are equally comfortable in their own company, Katie adapted to primary school quickly and has made loads of friends easily – there’s no doubt in my mind that being at nursery from 12 months has helped them with that! It’s so easy to dwell on the ‘what ifs’ but you never know – so just go with your gut and don’t waste time constantly questioning yourself!