I have been fascinated by the reactions that people have had to me when I was on maternity leave, when I was getting ready to go back to work, and now that I am back at work. I find that some people are very judgemental about how they expect families to work. Well, I’ve got news for you everyone, we’re all different, we all have different needs and that is one of the amazing things about us.
My aim is to share the stories of families of all different types and spread the word that we are all playing a #BalancingAct to get through and raise our little people the best way we can. Let’s celebrate the diversity between our families, let’s not judge each other.
So, this week I’d like to hand you over to Emma from Bubbablue and me.
1. Tell me about your family
We are family, just got all my sisters with me…ooh sorry, nope no sisters. It’s just the 3 of us, myself Emma, the OH and N who’ll be 4 in a few months time.
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
I worked for a food manufacturer, as a Category and Insight Manager. Essentially where marketing market the product in the home and to consumers, it was my job to market and sell it on the shop floor – working with the sales teams and retailers to get the presentation, range and promotional activity right
3. What was you work-life balance like?
I commuted an hour each way and worked full time, and there was a bit of travel involved to my accounts. Because of the distance I didn’t socialise as much as some of the others locally, but I did do a lot of stopping off on the way home for my dance classes in various locations. No point driving home to head back out again.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?
I didn’t find it a problem. I did some keeping in touch days during the last quarter, and my boss was quite active on keeping me updated. She did move on to a different role just as I was returning.
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
I returned to the same job afterwards (I had 12 months off, 11 months maternity leave and then a month of holiday which was built up), reducing my hours to just over 4 days over 5 days of the week. This meant I could manage the nursery drop offs and pick ups and continue with N’s swimming lessons on one afternoon a week.
I was always planning to go back, it was just hard working out how much pay I would be willing to drop vs the hours I couldn’t do because of the nursery hours and commute time. My work didn’t change on my return.
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
After almost a year of being back, I was made redundant so a lot has changed. I gave myself 2 months to find more work, and did a couple of months of freelance copy editing while I looked. My dilemma was what work to do as the work I knew and loved all involved a commute of an hour+. Not helpful when I would then have to do reduced hours to fit in nursery runs (even with an 8-6 nursery day).
I had one offer which was everything I could have dreamed of except an additional 15 minute commute, and then found a job in a totally different not for profit industry 10 minutes from home. I decided that the commute was the important one even though the job meant a paycut and only a maternity cover contract. It’s worked out well, although in my dreams I would go back to my old type of work before I’m too long out of it.
I do work full time again, but because my commute is shorter and the full time hours are shorter, I can slightly compress my hours, and therefore finish earlier one day to do a nursery school pick up. I can also have a reasonable lunch break which means getting out locally for a walk, swimming or lunch if needed.
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Not sure I can do 3. Flexible and local
8. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
My work and family balance isn’t bad. In terms of changing it, it would be to have a husband who didn’t work 7 days a week, and who could or would help out more without being asked or told that he was needed. He’s the one that doesn’t spend much time with us due to his job. This also ties in with me wanting to get back to dancing sometime soon, in the help of losing weight.
If you think you’d like to get involved in this feature and share your story, please leave a comment or tweet me @mamavsteacher