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 Nikki at Keeping Strong and Moving Forward.
1.Tell me about your family
I am Nikki. I am a 27 year old mother of 4 to T, P, E and Baby, and stepmother to M and A . I am married to my husband of 2 years.
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
I was very young when I first started my family. I had only ever had one summer job, during the summer I was 16 and that was only so I could raise enough money to go to Leeds Festival. That September I became a full time student on an art course in college. It was during that academic year I found out I was 16 and pregnant and pregnant with my first son T.
I finished my year at college while I was pregnant with T and then I became a full time mum. I didn’t go back to work but I did do a few I.T. and job hunting course that I voluntarily put myself on through the job centre. After P was born I went back to college again full time but this time it was to redo my GCSE’s and then my Alevels. It was during my last year doing my Alevel I fell pregnant with E and when she was 15 months old, Baby.
3. What was your work-life balance like?
When I first went back to college after T and P I was a single mum on my own. So my work/life balance was pretty hard but because I had to do it all alone. College I started at 9am until 3pm but then there was time traveling and time I spent in school library revising or doing course work afterwards so somedays the kids would be in nursery until 6pm. On a morning T would go to school breakfast club at 8 am while I ran with P in pram to drop him off at nursery which was 10-15 walk away so I could get bus at 8.15am. It was hectic.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?
Having been a mum from a young age and then going back to college I knew that I would be fine out of college or work because I have a habit of finding way to keep busy. Plus I love spending time with my kids specially when they were babies. I loved watching them grow, learn and become the amazing kids they are. I also knew with E and Baby I wanted to stay at home with them until they started school full time because I started college when P was 4 months old and I missed so much of his baby year, which I have always regret.
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
I didn’t return to work or college, but I plan too. I do volunteer as a Parent Champion, which is where I go around talking to other parents when out and about, at play groups and at planned events. I help them find information or services that they might need help with such as benefits, nursery 2&3 year offers and places, school, playgroups and course etc.
I really enjoying doing this because it helps me keep busy but the best part is I make my own hours to work around kids, school runs and life. I write my blog which I love but I haven’t monetised it at the moment, so I don’t accept payment for posts because I am don’t feel ready yet. I am hoping after I go to a few blogging events this year I will feel more ready to make this move. I need to buy my own domain first though.
I am also plan to do a few training courses booked/planned in through my local children’s centre plus a portage worker course which I start next week. I am really excited. I always knew I wanted to go back to doing something after my kids because they soon grow up and go to school. This way I am here for the good bits while their young and I can have a pretty good CV by time their all in school.
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
The volunteering and Blogging is different to college because I have to make myself get up an do the work. It’s not something I have to do but more something I want to.
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Hectic, Busy, Great
8. This might be difficult to answer, but are you happy with your work-life balance?
Yes, the only issues I have with my work-life balance is the fact that it can be stressful trying to work it all round my husbands work shift schedule, hospital appointments, training courses, school runs and playgroups. I am sometimes amazed at how I manage my time though. It shows me what I am able to do.
9. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
More hours in the day.
Google+: Nikki Fraser
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.
If you’ve been enjoying my struggle for balance and my journey as a full time working Mama, then I’d love it if you could spare 2 minutes to nominate me for the Mum and Working Working Parent Blogger 2015. Click the link and follow the website through.