The Realities of Being a Working Mum

I won’t lie; being a working Mum is hard sometimes. I was always going back to work after my maternity leave. No questions. I trained hard to become a dietitian. I like my job and my colleagues. I would be doing 3 days. Perfect balance.

 In my rose-tinted glasses way, I assumed I wouldn’t change. Course not. I’m not going to be one of those soppy Mum’s who get upset at leaving their children (please let me go on before being offended!). How ridiculous. Children need independence. I need my freedom and a break, to be me and to bring in some money. I just don’t “do” relying fully on others financially and that includes my husband.

I have talked in a previous post how going back was harder than I ever anticipated but what I also wasn’t prepared for was my 180 on some of the things I had stipulated whilst being off and just some of things I didn’t expect:

 

1) I actually don’t feel like I need a “break” by going to work. So many people say work is a well needed break from their child and I have just never seen this. I really enjoy my time with my girlie. We usually have plans even if just the two of us and I just love it. I have however been told if I have another; this will swiftly change.

 

2) Trips abroad just don’t have the same pull. I’m very lucky in my job that trips abroad do occur and don’t get me wrong I always have a great time. However, there is that little niggle especially if it is more than 1 night. I miss my family and my bed. See I am soppy.

 

3) I don’t go down to UK conferences the night before anymore. Free wine, a meal and a hotel no thanks. I’d rather get up early on the morning and be at home the night before. See even more soppy!

 

4) You have to let go. Three days is 3 days. It’s not 5. I can’t do as much as I used to. I don’t always know as much about the people I look after and some jobs are just not mine anymore. This is fine and I’m getting used to it.

 

5) I don’t like taking work home. Fact. Evenings are bathtime with my girl and then gym, time with hubby and usually now blogging! In reality if I want to do a bit more extra work I am likely to have to bring this home. As stated above, time in the day just runs away.

 

6) The guilt when your child is sick. I either feel awful as she goes to nursery or hubby has her and I feel it should be me. Or I take the day and feel guilty on my team as I’m having a day off. No win situation really.

 

7) The tiredness. Wow! If my gremlin has been up in the night it is usually right before a work day. That alarm will still be going off at 6am and I will still have to do my day job, with matchsticks to hold my eyes open.

 

8) I was never a late worker but it is even more true now. I usually pick my gremlin up on a Friday so have to get out on time but the other days I just want to be back. She’s in the bath around 6.15pm so leaving later than 5pm means I don’t get a lot of time. Occasionally I will go to the gym after work and fitting this in around everything else is important so I leave on time.

 

9) When I worked full-time I would come home and jabber on about work for ages. You do. It’s your life; 5 days a week. Now I just don’t unless something really important has happened. I chat a bit with hubby in the car about my day on the way home and as soon I walk through the door I’m Mummy and the day is gone.

 

10) The rejection. It is noticeable on a Thursday and Friday my gremlin pushes me away, She wants to cuddle her Daddy and this can be heartbreaking, She’s 20 months and she’s fickle but it hurts. She is just going to to person who has spent more time with her on those 2 days and by Monday night I’m usually flavour of the month again.

 

Don’t let this be off putting. I love being back at work and having the variety. Having work and my girlie is amazing and I am so lucky but things are never quite what you expect. How about any other working Mums? Was going back what you anticipated?

 

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47 Comments

  1. May 11, 2015 / 6:36 am

    I know these feelings all too well. I totally agree I don't feel I need a break, I love the social aspect and earning my own money, but if I'm honest I'd much rather be at home. I'm just so glad working for me means spending time with her grandparents and nursery (which she loves) for Indiana 🙂 xx

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 12:57 pm

      Thanks Emily it's good you can relate. It is lovely Indiana spends so much time with her Grandparents. That would be a bonus for us xx

  2. May 11, 2015 / 11:13 am

    I totally relate and it can be so hard but like you worked hard for my career and actually really enjoy having those adult conversations and being at work at times 🙂

    Helen – #mummymondays

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 12:57 pm

      Thanks Helen. I know if you work hard for it, you have to continue xx

  3. May 11, 2015 / 11:50 am

    I can imagine how your feelings have changed with regards to how you thought you would be going back to work and how things are in reality. Sounds like you are doing really well with regards to getting the balance right.

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 12:58 pm

      It's funny how my thoughts did change so much! Thanks for the comment x

  4. May 11, 2015 / 11:52 am

    It's strange because I'm a sahm who works from home on a new business and my blog, I'm debating whether I can justify nursery to allow myself some me time becuas sit literally is just me, and hubby when he isn't working, looking after my little boy 24/7 as we have no help options from family. I like you if I was working at an employed job would just do what I needed to do because the family time is so important. I suppose that's why I have guilt over the nursery. Glad you are enjoying being back at work, I wish I had had that option but the job I did would have meant no family time at all, so it was with no family time or 24/7 family time and I chose family in my scenario. #mummymondays

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 12:59 pm

      Thanks for the comment. I think nursery is a good for little ones to socialise and have time away from home. I think you should consider it if it gives you time for work. It must have been tough not having the happy medium with your previous job xx

  5. May 11, 2015 / 11:55 am

    Really interesting post hon and lovely to hear the good and the bad from the other side. The reality is that no way is easy and there are always pros and cons whatever choice you make, but it sounds like you do have a happy balance. It's amazing how we change from what we think before we have kiddies isn't it? great post and thanks for linking with #MaternityMondays

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 1:00 pm

      Thanks Caroline. It's true we have pros and cons either way. I think the balance is good but yep my mind has changed loads!! Thanks for hosting xx

  6. May 11, 2015 / 12:29 pm

    Great post Hun and I can totally understand how u feel. I have two (4 and 7) I went straight to work after having mine but only the last 1.5 years I have been a SAHM as nanny work was just not fitting well with my family. Now my littlest is starting school in September, I am looking forward to heading back to work and me time lol x

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 1:01 pm

      Thanks Shannan. Sounds like you have had a bit of all worlds! I hope you enjoy going back to work and getting your me time!! x

  7. May 11, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    I was planning on being a SAHM but I miss adult interaction. My little one is almost a year old and I'm trying to find a way to work from home so that my brain can get a bit of a workout. It's a constant juggling act either way isn't it? Great post! #mummymonday

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 1:20 pm

      It really is. I miss my girlie but yes having some adult interaction is so nice!! x

  8. May 11, 2015 / 1:55 pm

    I have to say I love working 3 days a week – not for the break per se but for the variety in my life. I don't get much time to myself to see friends/exercise/write so work provide the mental and social stimulation I need. It makes me appreciate my time with my LO on my days "off" much more 🙂

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 2:15 pm

      I think I get a reasonable amount of time to myself as hubby works from home so we swap around in the evening and at weekends. I can see how the stimulation/social life would be needed if I was full on with my girlie all the time around work!! Thanks for the comment hun x

  9. May 11, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    It sounds like you've struck a great balance. Everyone is different and I do consider going into work as a bit of a break. However, I have changed the way I work a lot. I'm doing 3.5 days and have taken a less demanding role. I still love what I do and it gives me the 'me time' that my career head craves. Tiredness is something I found difficult to cope with to begin with but thankfully the Tot got into a good sleep routine after 18 months. I'm no on maternity leave again and amwondering what things will be like when I go back to work with two under three-year-olds #MaternityMondays

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 5:34 pm

      Thansk Claire. YOu need the balance don't you? I also wonder what it will be like with two!!! x

  10. May 11, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    I'd much rather be at home, I'm working 5 days a week, have to travel some times, urgh I'd give anything to be at home, I don't need or want the break from them! #mummymonday

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 5:34 pm

      Aww that is hard working full time and the travelling. I know what you mean about not wanting the break. I do miss my girlie even on 3 days x

  11. May 11, 2015 / 4:57 pm

    I never made it back to work, I had a complete meltdown when I attempted to put him into nursery I just left work after 2 shifts. It doesn't help that I hated my job, otherwise I think I would've stayed. Seems like you've got a good balance, although treat yourself sometimes and go to a conference early, give yourself some Sarah time! Xxx

    • mm May 11, 2015 / 5:35 pm

      It's a really tough one and true if you didn't like your job…much easier to leave. Thanks. Yep I did go away in March to Amsterdam and enjoyed it! I think more than one night always feels a bit harder x

  12. May 11, 2015 / 6:21 pm

    I'm planning on going back to work 4 days a week towards the end of the year, just going to have to wait and seen how things pan out. We can't afford for me not to work so I don't really have a choice. #mummymondays

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:20 pm

      It's hard when you have less choice. I hope it all works out ok for you and thanks for the comment 🙂 x

  13. May 11, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    I am not a working mum but it's great to to read the thoughts of a working mum. Good to hear that you are enjoying your job, sounds like you have a good balance 🙂 x

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:21 pm

      Thanks Steph! I think I do. It's just different to what I expected xx

  14. May 12, 2015 / 7:10 am

    Very honest post! I totally feel the same, but I work at home, and sometimes I wish I didn't. Its HARD! Keep up the good work xxx

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:21 pm

      Thanks Ellie that must be hard having to fit it in a home!! x

  15. May 12, 2015 / 7:57 am

    Working with tiny people at home is hard! I tell all of my friends getting ready to go back to work to expect the worst. People try to make it sound like it's going to be a wonderful escape, and that really doesn't help when you actually feel terrible. Thanks for sharing! #twinklytuesday

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:22 pm

      I bet working from home is so hard!! It can be an escape but sometimes I do just miss her. Thanks for the comment xx

  16. May 12, 2015 / 8:50 am

    That's a very refreshing post to life as a working Mum. I didn't return to work after my maternity leave, after I'd had the twins, however I am now working freelance and it is still hard to try to fit it all in. Keep the good work up and well done you on finding your work-life balance. xx

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you! It must be hard being a home worker too! Thanks for the lovely comment x

  17. May 12, 2015 / 9:08 am

    Totally understand. First child couldn't wait to go back. Second child, am loving maternity leave, it's so much more enjoyable second time around for me. The thought of having no 'me money' is hard though if I stay at home and the guilt I would feel in taking any money off my husband. So tough #twinklytuesday

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:23 pm

      I think I am already looking forward to the second one but you are right I feel too bad having no money!! It's funny as I shouldn't when married!! x

  18. May 12, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    My attitude about returning to work after maternity leave was a lot like yours. At first, it was just what I expected. At home, I felt like a milk cow (I was breastfeeding twins, 12 hours a day, on maternity leave). At work, I felt valued for my mind and my talents. It wasn't until my children were about 4 years old that it suddenly struck me that I could be perfectly satisfied being home and educating them as my vocation. I love my time with my children. It struck me as so wrong that our childrearing years are also our career-building years. How inefficient! (I've never felt that retirement looks particularly appealing.) I'm glad I did keep with my career, though. It made divorce and single parenting a lot easier to swallow!

    Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday.

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 6:24 pm

      Aww that's lovely comment and really interesting. Sorry to hear about your divorce though but you are right it's sad we have to split ourselves!! xx

  19. May 12, 2015 / 7:35 pm

    There's no right answer is there? I hate going back originally, but then I grew to like it. Then I gave up with baby 2 and never went back – now I regret being so hasty and I wish I' had more of a balance. But hey ho! Good post #twinklytuesday

    • mm May 12, 2015 / 7:52 pm

      No it's a toughie! I like being back just think not what I thought. I'm sure you have had lots of lovely time with your little ones though xx

  20. May 13, 2015 / 10:04 am

    It’s such an interesting one. I have found being back at work harder and harder as time has gone on! It may be because ch has got more and more interesting and he’s st this stage of life where I really feel like I am missing out on so much amazing stuff. I’m still not sure I even have it in me to be a SAHM mum (I’d give it a good go!), but I do wish I had the fab balance that you have. Maybe one day! #mummymonday

    • mm May 13, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      Aww that must be tricky Lisa. It's getting the balance. I think I couldn't be a fulltime SAHM but I too miss my girlie on my days in. You never know. Like you say one day!! x

  21. May 13, 2015 / 11:13 am

    I felt the same with Seb, I loved spending time with him and still do. I think 3 days is the perfect balance. I worked three days for ages and as he got older I increased my hours to 30. I still take him to school every day and collect him twice a week. I actually wish I'd not increased my hours as much as I did. I love collecting him from school and having his friends over for tea, doing homework etc. I know I'll never get that time back. However like you, I couldn't have not gone back to work. Even if I hadn't been a single parent, I'm super independent and I enjoy having a life outside of motherhood too. I like getting out and meeting people and gives my life another another purpose. It's all about getting the balance right for you. xx

    • mm May 14, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      It's so nice to be with them isn't it? I bet you enjoy picking him up from school and listening to his day. You sound very independent and sociable so it's getting the best of both worlds as well isn't it? Thanks for the lovely comment xx

  22. May 13, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    I always feel a bit sad when I hear people say that they wish they could have spent 24/7 with their child because I struggled being around my son constantly when I was on maternity and even on my days off when we didn't have somewhere to go. It makes me feel like a bad mum, or like I lucked out and got the hyper demanding child! I like the balance now even though I didn't have a brilliant career to return to. Maybe that's the key – it's a job I like but I don't have part of my identity tied up in it. That wasn't part of my decision making process. There are odd moments when I miss the children but not that common. They are always so excited to see me when I get home – I bet that will be the case for you too when your little one is a bit older. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout X

    • May 13, 2015 / 4:56 pm

      Samantha, I completely understand what you're saying. I had a similar sense of guilt about the relief I felt at returning to work. I'm totally a "baby person" but it wasn't until my children were independent enough not to need my attention 24/7 that I thought myself possibly capable of being fulfilled as an SAHM… at which point it wasn't even an option, not that it ever really was.

    • mm May 14, 2015 / 6:39 pm

      Thanks both for the comments. I think Sam I couldn't be around my girlie ALL the time, though I do miss her. I hate staying in all the time too…go nuts!! I think it sounds like you have the balance just right as well. Thanks for hosting xxx

  23. May 13, 2015 / 8:48 pm

    Im back at work in two weeks after seven months off, some parts of me is dreading it, but I do think it might be nice to be more than just Mummy. I already have the guilt, I think she will have a great time without me and will be looked after her Dad some of the time and by her grandparents the other time – but I feel I will be missing out on the new stuff as I have to return full time. Great post x

    • mm May 14, 2015 / 6:40 pm

      I think you will miss you girl but the balance is nice. The adult time is nice too! Plus you girl spending lots of time with her family. Thanks for the comment xx