The balance between working and motherhood is a challenge that faces so many of us. It may be financial necessity that leads us back to work after having kids or just wanting to continue on our career path or even just needing a bit of time to still be you. Whatever the reason is, I am sure that you have found it tough managing both work and motherhood – well I know I have!!
Prior to having my kids, I was working as an HR Business Partner for large international businesses. It was a busy and demanding role and one that I loved. I could never imagine being a stay at home mom, but then my first son arrived…. I did not want to go back full time once he was here, but I also didn’t want to lose the career I had worked so hard to build. Ultimately, I went back 3 days a week on a job share and I was so grateful to the business for creating their first flexible arrangement for me, that I didn’t comment when I noticed that slowly but surely all of the interesting and challenging parts of my role were being stripped away. I was managing work and motherhood and loved working only 3 days a week, but after a while I couldn’t ignore that I had essentially become the team administrator and all the good bits of my role were gone. So, when redundancies came up I volunteered and headed off into a new chapter in my life.
After leaving my career I retrained as a baby and toddler swimming teacher, as I thought this would be more flexible and work better around my growing family, but that was impossible to balance as well. I was always running from one swimming pool to another and my 2-year-old perceived that I was always leaving. By this point I have four children under four and my twins were a few months old. It was chaos and I realized that something had to give. That something had to be work. I couldn’t manage work and motherhood and so I had to leave before I became the world’s worst employee.
This takes me to where I am today, where I have found a way to manage work and motherhood for me and my family. I am now self-employed. I set up my own business writing CVs and providing career coaching (CV Righter) and I started my blog; Navigating Baby. I love being self employed and being able to decide when I work and what projects I take on so that I can go on those school trips and attend all their assemblies. It can be tricky to balance everything as when you are at home there is always the temptation to pick up the laptop even when the kids are playing or at the weekends when we should be having family time.
The key for me to managing work and motherhood has been designating specific times to work and always working in the same place. I have created my own office space and that is where working happens. I am strict about when I work and when I don’t so that I am not tempted to ruin family time. I would totally recommend working for yourself if you are trying to balance motherhood with working as it does allow increased flexibility. However, as a cavate it can be stressful not knowing where the next client is coming from. I am in the fortunate position that we do not have to rely on my income to survive so it doesn’t matter if things are slow one month, but otherwise I would say being self employed is not for the faint hearted and it does take a lot of hard work. Clients don’t just fall into your lap, but with four little kids I am not sure I could manage working and motherhood any other way.