Send help! Domestic, financial, spiritual… actually scrap that send gin! Lots and lots of glorious gin!
You see this week marks my first week as a full time working mummy! Eek!
Going back to work after maternity leave
I was going to say that I was ‘fortunate’ enough to take a full year of maternity leave to bond with Elliott. But what I should really say is that I saved blooming hard in order to do so. When the time came to return to work there was no question of whether I would go back or not. I am one of those odd creatures who quite enjoys my job (although it hasn’t always been that way) and besides the mortgage wasn’t going to pay itself!
I clearly remember sitting down with Mr H and pulling together a spreadsheet of how much I would earn by going back for various amounts of hours Vs how much childcare would cost. We don’t have much family support in terms of childcare so Elliott has to go to a private nursery on the days that I’m at work. We number crunched and number crunched until we found the financial ‘sweet spot’, where I was earning enough to keep us afloat and that amount wasn’t being completely eroded by evil nursery fees.
At one point Mr H suggested that I should go back full time, five days a week. I burst into tears. How could I leave my little boy in the care of someone else for five days? Four days seemed the sweetest spot, but I was still struggling emotionally with the idea of being parted from Elliott for that long. So I returned to work on three days a week, doing slightly longer hours each day. Looking back I was very fortunate that my workplace was able to accommodate such a flexible working arrangement as I know many of my fellow maternity leave mummy’s were given the ‘full time or nothing’ treatment when they asked about part time or flexible working.
How was part time working with a toddler?
For the most time it was fine. I did get bored of being constantly reminded of my part time status at work, something which I did pull my manager up on on a few occasions. He said the other day that I’m much more assertive these days, can’t think why he thinks that..? Sometimes it was stressful, projects would often get dumped on me on a Thursday afternoon which left me frustrated (my working days were Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). My place of work has two contrasting cultures in terms of leaving on time. There are those who work 24/7 (literally) and those who arrive on time, take a lunch break and leave on time. I automatically fell into the latter camp, so fortunately didn’t get death stares for leaving on time as I know some mothers do. Although it was strange having to leave things half finished as I dashed off to do the nursery pick up when I would have previously stayed to complete a task before leaving the office for the day.
Of course, work also had its benefits. Hot beverages, getting the opportunity to eat, using my brain, having adult conversations and, of course, getting paid!
On the flip-side I had Monday’s and Friday’s to spend with my little boy. It was a win-win situation, or so I thought…
Becoming a full time working mummy
So, why make the switch to full time work? Well, a number of reasons really. Working part time had massive benefits, but also huge drawbacks. Financially we were kind of bobbing along, but there was never enough money to really treat ourselves. I craved the opportunity to take Elliott abroad, but couldn’t afford it as we made enough to cover the bills and expenses with little left over. If we did splurge on something, for example, our holiday to Bluestone, we would feel the financial implications for months afterwards. Obviously we had to find the full time working sweet spot in terms of financial gain Vs nursery fees, which is why I’m returning to work full time, but with my hours condensed over four days instead of five (gulp!).
We also really want to move into a house (we currently live in an apartment and although I think there are massive advantages to apartment living with a little one, our current home isn’t right for us at the moment) and mortgage lenders won’t lend anything decent to us with me being on a part-time salary.
Then there’s the career progression. It’s hard to progress when you’re ‘only’ working part time. I find this really tough to write about as it’s an emotive topic that different people will have varying opinions on. But, for me, I am a mummy but I am a lot of other things too. One day Elliott will be all grown up and leave home to pursue his own dreams, I don’t want all of mine to have been put on hold until this point. Some would say this is selfish, I see it as self-preservation. Also, Elliott is at a totally different place himself now. He’s so much more independent. He loves nursery and heck next year he will be off to school!
So, there you have it, as I say I only started this full time working journey on Monday so we shall see how it goes. I still want to work on my blog and other projects, but I am conscious that time will become even more precious. I have a meticulous weekly plan drawn out to try to ‘balance’ housework, work, childcare, exercise, fun, blogging etc… The weekly vlogs are likely to vanish for a while at least, after all, there’s not going to be much interesting content with me working 8am – 5:15pm Monday to Thursday.
I’ll report back in a couple of months to let you know how its going. Likewise, if you have any advice on how to make full time working as a mummy work, please let me know! At least I will have Friday’s with my little man. And Friday’s will indeed be about adventure!