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 it’s over to Laura at Life at Baby Kicks.
1. Tell me about your family
I’m Laura and I am an ex-banker living out in the sandpit that is otherwise known as Dubai with the husband (who is still a banker) the toddler (who is my new boss) and cooking number 2, girl or boy, we won’t know for another 6 weeks when they arrive! As long as they arrive on due date that is…….
The photo is of me and the toddler, yep we are feeding a zebra at the zoo, and I’m not having a bit of mummy tummy moment there that is actually bump #2 at around 20 weeks!
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
I was working in banking in Canary Wharf London. (I know I know don’t hate me, I worked with businesses instead of personal banking if that makes me any better?!?) I loved my job and the lifestyle.
3. What was your work-life balance like?
I’ve always been pretty good at making sure that I didn’t become too consumed with working all hours, though with my husband working on the other side of the office a lot of my life was in the office….the worst bit was probably the fact I was commuting across central London on the tube which was 45 mins to an hour each way, so when you don’t actually work a 9-5 schedule your working hours become more like leaving the house at 7:30 and crashing through the front door at 7 if you were lucky.
Though I was in sales and if I worked my appointments right I could get home early and work from home. A danger in itself as you don’t have to switch off. Many times you had me and the husband on the laptops or Blackberry. Especially if we were working on urgent customer responses.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?
I had the best boss ever, I was pregnant over London 2012 and was given special dispensation to work from home. Following this I used to get shouted at if I was in the office past 4, so he prepared me with gradual retreat away from the office!
I must admit I was a little lost when I didn’t have a baby and was just on maternity leave, I was lucky enough to meet some lovely girls and we ended up doing lunches and bingo.
Once he arrived though the time started to fly, and I was dreading going back to work as it would be full time and across the city…..however…..
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
When the toddler was 3 months old the husband came home and told me he had been offered a job in Dubai, when the toddler was 6 months old we emigrated and I took a career break in case we would come back to the UK if we didn’t like it. Its now been 2 years and I took redundancy early last year and have been a stay at home mum ever since.
Though once the toddler got older I started looking for work here, found a fantastic job, then got pregnant with #2 so I am still a stay at home mum.
I think when the second gets a little older I’ll look to go back again. The problem I have in Dubai is that part time flexible work is none existent so I need to decide to move back full time and for that I need to find the right job.
So in the meantime I took up blogging, not sure where it is going to lead me but I am excited to find out!
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
Well my new boss is very demanding 🙂
And I do feel sometimes that I should be the perfect housewife, wife and mummy. I generally fail as there is no such thing, and the house is currently a state while I am busy typing this and letting the toddler have some quality time with Grandma……
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Exhausting. Indescribable. Unforgettable.
8. This might be difficult to answer, but are you happy with your work-life balance?
I get cross at times as a lot of domestic tasks fall on my shoulders and being pregnant I am struggling a bit more. But I wouldn’t change the fact I get to spend all the time in the world with the toddler, even if he is a hard task master!
9. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
I would LOVE to go back to a part time role, maybe in something new, for 3 days a week working on school hours. I would love the financial independence as this is what I miss the most, it is definitely not the same buying your husband a birthday present out of the money that he earns and I would love to not even think about buying myself a treat. The husband tells me not to be silly but it definitely makes me think twice.
For all the previous posts, see the #BalancingAct page.
If you think you’d like to get involved in this feature and share your story, please leave a comment, tweet me @mamavsteacher or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.