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 Beth from Betty and the Bumps.
1. Tell me about your family
I’m Beth, and I live in Newcastle upon Tyne with husband, Andrew, and two-year old, Gwenn. I’ve been blogging at Betty and the Bumps for about 18 months now.
2. What was your job/position before you started your family?
I have worked for a very well-known fashion brand for a long time and my role was, basically, doing all of the “boring” administrative tasks that everybody else seems to hate but I just LOVE! I like to be busy and I also liked getting to organise my own workload to a certain extent.
I worked four days a week, 6 hours a day.
3. What was your work-life balance like?
I was working part-time because I was studying towards a counselling qualification in my spare time. I liked knowing I was getting a decent amount of money coming in while also having the time to prepare for my future career ( I’m such a planner by nature; I’m rubbish at living in the moment!). Having three days off a week also meant, most importantly, that I could spend a lot of time with Andrew.
4. How did you find being away from work when you were on maternity leave?
I absolutely loved it. In the very early days I sometimes would have happily swapped a crying baby who wouldn’t latch on for a shift at work but, generally speaking, I didn’t miss it. I was off for 10 months and, while I would never say I enjoyed every minute, I don’t regret a second of it.
5. Have you returned to some kind of work since having baby and how did you come to that decision?
There was never any question about my return to work; we couldn’t live on one wage. I didn’t want to work more than three days though, and I was happy to take a drop in hours too. In the end we agree three seven-hour shifts a week.
6. How (if at all) has work changed since you returned (if you did)?
The role that I had enjoyed so much previously basically ceased to exist when I was off, so it has been very different for me since I returned. I haven’t found it easy.
I usually feel as if I’m treading water at work because I’ve kind of gone as far as I want to go (in terms of promotion), and now I’m just waiting to have enough money to continue with my counselling qualifications.
I don’t get any job satisfaction or fulfilment, it’s purely a financial necessity.
7. Describe your work-life balance now in 3 words.
Oooh, I’m always so rubbish at these!
How about, “work-in-progress”!!!
8. This might be difficult to answer, but are you happy with your work-life balance?
Yes and no.
I couldn’t hope for a more understanding manager, so I’m very lucky in that sense. In fact, everyone at work is great. I like the fact that I’m off more than I’m in, and that I often get four or five days off in a row.
On the downside, I do quite a few late shifts, which is tough when I’ve had an early start with Gwenn. I also work weekends, but not always. It usually works out one weekend on, one off, which isn’t so bad. I grew up with a police officer dad and a social worker mum so the 9-5, Mon-Fri was not the norm in our house and so it’s never really bothered me, but Andrew only gets the weekend off so we don’t do as much as a “three” as I would like.
9. Would you change anything about the family and work balance that you currently have?
In order to get the balance I really want, I would have to get a different job. It’s that simple! But that is also a lot easier said than done.
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.