This week I have a fellow working mum of school-age children talking about returning to work and how it’s easier once they’re at school. We still face other working mum struggles though as this week’s working mum guest blogger tells us…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Terri and I blog over at The Strawberry Fountain. I write about life with my two boys, aged 7 and 5 and how I am totally outnumbered by boys, which isn’t helped by our recent (male) addition of Buddy the cocker spaniel puppy. As well as blogging about what we get up to I also review days out in the north-west and various products that we have enjoyed using.
What do you do for a living?
I blog for fun but my “real” job is as a teacher in a college. I teach health and social care and psychology, which I love.
How many days do you work?
I am currently part-time, working 3 days a week.
Who looks after your children while you work?
This year has been the first year where both my boys have been in school so I am lucky that my childcare is a little easier now, however, they both still use the breakfast and afterschool club on the days I work.
Are you in the same job before you had children?
No, I started this job when my youngest was two as it was closer to home and I could work from home during most school holidays.
Did you return to work on the same hours as before?
When I did return to my previous job following mat leave I returned on the same hours in the same role and my manager was also returning from mat leave the same month so was very supportive and understanding. Unfortunately, the travelling was hard and I could not always get to the nursery for 6 pm so decided to change jobs.
How long was your maternity leave?
I took a year’s maternity leave with both boys. Financially it was a struggle towards the end but luckily we could manage and I am so glad we did as you can never get the baby days back.
How did you feel about returning to work?
I was upset and worried about leaving my boys but I also knew that I craved a career and did not want to be a stay at home mum forever.
What do you find the hardest about being a working mum?
The balance and the guilt. I often feel like I am not giving the boys enough time when I am working and when I am with the boys I often feel I should be marking or planning. It is like catch 22 and finding that balance is so difficult some weeks. It is becoming easier now as they get older as they don’t need me as much but then I worry I missed out when they were smaller and shouldn’t have worked as much. I also find it hard to get to all the important stuff like sports day and plays as being a teacher mean I cant always take my holidays in term time.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
I feel I have my own space, my own interests and something to talk to my husband about other than just the children. I think being a working mum is good for giving you confidence and self-esteem too.
Do you have any tips for other mums thinking about returning to work after maternity leave?
Only go back when you are ready, they are small for such a small space of time, cherish it.
If you are ready to go back to work don’t feel guilty about it. A happy mum is better for baby, so make sure you are happy. Find a childcare provider you can trust, it will make it so much easier.