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Planning my return to work

She’s so young.  I had more time at home with Bella, it’s not fair to Olivia.  I haven’t established a proper routine with Olivia.  Will she cope at daycare?  Am I doing the right thing?

Every mother I know goes through mumma guilt when returning to work.  I’m not quite sure if it would be so bad if we didn’t put so much pressure on ourselves to be the ‘perfect’ mum.  What makes it even worse is all the shaming us women do to each other.  Only yesterday I was reading an article regarding working mums and there were so many angry comments from other women complaining that their taxes subsidise child care.  Then there’s the mum wars of stay at home mums vs working mums.

I don’t spend my time or energy worrying about other people’s judgements of how I choose to live my life and would rather focus my energy on being pro-active, productive and happy.  I do what’s right for me and my family.  For us, this is me going to work.  Not only does it help us reach our shared goals from the additional income my job provides, but I need it to feel fulfilled, to be me and not just a mum and a wife.  I’m very lucky that my job enables me to connect with likeminded people, some who I can call great friends.  Not only do I love what I do (we all have bad days though!) but more importantly I love the people I work with.

I have been very lucky to have a rather flexible working arrangement with my employer.  I work a day a week from and flexible hours  other days I’m in the office.  One day a week I can do usual office hours and stay late and my husband manages the kids and house on this day.  Chris is a real estate agent so usually works later hours .  The great thing is that he works locally so can be around for the girls quickly if need be.  We have a great support network, and a carefully planned weekly schedule enables us to both work full time.

Here’s how we make it work as well as some tips and tricks that others can hopefully gain value from:

  • Flexibility in my job is key.
    • If you’re asking for flexibility with your employer then make sure it’s give and take. Be confident that the flexibility you require is achievable in the role you are requesting it in.  If your employer has concerns make sure you air them all out – there is usually ways around some of them and trialling the arrangement can be beneficial to both you and the company.
  • We live by a roster
    • We have a schedule around pickups, drop off and other care for our girls. This is the same each week and everyone is clear on what they need to do.  We are lucky enough to have amazing family to support us and the girls are so lucky they get to spend time with their grandparents!
  • Outsource where we can
    • We have a cleaner once a week that does a great once over for us. This in invaluable to us as it allows us to spend more time with the girls on the weekend rather than cleaning the toilets, showers etc
  • We share household responsibilities
    • I’m very lucky that my husband loves to cook delicious meals (although my waistline doesn’t agree all the time!). I usually cook for the girls and they eat earlier and then Chris will make us dinner when he gets home most nights.  I do love the idea of all eating together but the girls are usually asleep by the time we like to eat.  It also gives Chris and I some time to unwind and connect over a nice meal and cheeky glass of wine.
    • I start work early in the city so I can do pick up, and given Chris works locally he is able to do drop off before he goes to work. I’ll keep you posted on how this one goes though when we have 2 girls to get ready and out of the house…I sense his mornings are about to get H-E-C-T-I-C!
  • Respect
    • Neither of our jobs are more important than the others. Even though salaries may differ, that doesn’t determine who needs to make the most compromises.  We work together to find solutions that work for everyone.
  • Communication

We tap in and tap out when we have to.  Some days I am just too damn tired.  Some days Chris is just too damn tired.  So we let each other know how we’re feeling and cut each other some slack.  No questions asked, no expectations and no judgement.  If he finds me in bed when he gets home he just makes his dinner, leaves me alone and gets on with it.

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