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 Tony from PapaTont.
I know things have changed a little bit for Tony since he sent me this but here’s how life used to be for him and his family!
1. Tell me about your family
I am Tony Pitt, I am 34 years old and I’m a soldier. I am married to Vikki, who is 28 in a couple of weeks and is a stay at home mum; we have two children: Olivia who is 6 and George who is 3 in January. I currently work in Germany and Vikki runs the household in the UK.
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
3. What was your work-life balance like?
Generally ok, I would work an 8:30 – 5 working day with every weekend off. Every now and then I would have to go away for a week or so, but without kids that was manageable and quite stress free. I would get 38 days holiday a year including bank holidays, which is excellent, and the flexibility of work being able to let me go if I needed to get home for any reason.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity/paternity leave?
I loved being away from work for the paternity leave (I love being away from work on any kind of leave lol), but I knew that the work wasn’t going away and no one was doing it for me, so there was a sense of dread that when I went back I had 2 weeks worth of work to catch up. Being at home full time was great, getting to help out with the baby and share the responsibility, but after a while I knew that Vikki wanted me to get back to work because it did feel like I was getting under her feet.
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
Yes, as it was only paternity leave and Vikki had always decided to be a stay at home mum, me going back to work was the most sensible plan. The money I earned far outweighed that which Vikki could earn as well.
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
Work has changed dramatically. I have been promoted twice since having the kids and the work load has increased significantly. I have been spending more and more time away from the family, either through longer hours in the workplace to meet deadlines and targets, or away on courses, seminars, meetings etc. The stress that comes with such a demanding amount of responsibility had taken its toll as well at one point me deciding to quit and handing my notice in as it was significantly affecting the atmosphere in the home. After a bit of rational thinking, though, it made more financial sense for me to stay in the job and us just bear the burden of this amount of discomfort until my contract ends in 12 years. We are now in a position where I work away from home and only come home at odd weekends. At the moment we manage once a month or there about.
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Needs dramatic improvement.
8. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
Yes. I wish I could be at home more often to help out, I wish my future was more defined so that we could plan farther than 1 week in advance. I wish Vikki could have the opportunity to go back to work as she so desperately needs adult conversation and a bit of independence after spending 6 years with the kids.