As we approach #Mother’sDay, we thought we’d ask the mums in the Euroffice team how they manage their work life and family life.
We all know that trying to get the right work / life balance can be difficult and I’m sure many of us are guilty of sending the odd late night work email or perhaps struggle to fully switch off when we’re on holiday.
So we spoke to 3 mums and asked is it really possible to manage hectic work and family schedules?
Our first mum, Emma has recently returned to work after having beautiful bouncing boy Theo; second mum Clare juggles a busy work life and looking after 3 teens at home and finally we speak to Tracey whose kids have flown the nest and have started families of their own.
The Newly Back To Work Mum
In a first of three blogs, we speak to Emma and she explains what her concerns were about returning to work after 9 months of maternity leave and how she splits her time to succeed in her career whilst simultaneously being a great mum to little beau Theo.
“I was really anxious about returning to work, because I’m returning on a full time basis. I’d ask myself “Could I cope with what I was taking on? How would I juggle my career and the torment of leaving my baby and could I still be a good mum?”
A big concern about returning to work, was whether Theo would worry that I wasn’t coming back when I left him at nursery every morning. Overcoming my anxieties was hard and I still worry and ask myself if it was the right choice. As Theo is a little older now, he goes to bed a little later so I make sure that I don’t let work overrun into my evenings. I spend my whole evening and every evening with him. When I come home I switch off work mode and switch on mummy mode. It’s Theo time.
Before I returned to work fulltime I did a few contact days and whilst it was really hard because I had never really been away from Theo, it helped me to ease back to work. He was a little confused to start with but I think he is starting to understand now.
When I was preparing to return to work I organised my wardrobe and went shopping! It may sound silly but it does make sense. To keep my two lives separate and to help make sure my work life didn’t spill over into my time with Theo I organised two different wardrobes to reflect my two different lives.
Although we work in an organisation which has quite a relaxed atmosphere where we can dress quite casually, to keep work separate from home I organised a more formal work wardrobe for Emma the Office Manager and PA and a more dressed down home wardrobe for Emma the mummy.
I didn’t want my two worlds of work and family to blur into one as that’s when it’s easy to fall into the trap of staying late or taking work home. And I really didn’t want to do that because the working day is long enough and I don’t want to miss out on seeing Theo even more. This helped me prepare and get into the mindset that when I’m at home it’s family time and when I’m at work it’s work time.
Preparing to return to work meant that I had to arrange Theo’s childcare arrangements which involved a lot of financial planning. We all know that childcare is expensive and I think it puts a lot of mums off going back to work.
I think it is doable if you make sure you plan out budgets and organise your money. It’s not easy but we had to do it.My top tip for planning your finances is to be realistic. Money can stretch but it will only stretch so far so I try not to go overboard on non-essentials. We all need a treat every now and again but I try not to splash out too often.
My main concern of returning to work was potentially missing out on Theo’s firsts. So he’s already crawling and can just about stand whilst holding on to something and can say ma and dada. But I’ve told everyone not to tell me when he does something for the first time. So when I see him doing something, in my mind it will be the first time both for me and the first time to anyone!
Because my partner works on Saturdays it’s perfect for mummy and son bonding time, and Sunday is family day. So we spend the whole day together for real quality time. You don’t have to spend a fortune, a picnic at the park and a trip to the local farm is my perfect Sunday!
I also plan on taking long weekends to break up the working week so I can even out my time and be with Theo a little longer.
My top three items for my ‘The newly back to work Mum’ survival kit are:
A back support. I’m sure all the mums know that carrying your child, buggy, car seat, shopping, baby bag and everything else that mums need can be strenuous on your back. So try to alleviate the pressure on your back with a back support. Or if you can, get a posture chair. It’s essential if you’re sat for periods of time to have a fully supportive office chair, especially when you’ll be running around at home after your day at work.
I love my foot rest at work. Because it’s adjustable it moves as I move whatever position I’m sat in. They’re designed to prevent and ease back pain and it’s perfect for tired feet to massage on the textured platform.
And finally, when I went back to work I bought a myself a new camera. It’s always in my handbag so I’m ready to film or snap away to capture those special moments, so I don’t miss a thing! Plus if I miss Theo at work, I can flick through the pics, and I soon have a smile on my face.
Thank you to Emma for giving us an insight into how she manages to balance her work and family life.
If you have any good tips for new mums going back to work let us know…
Part 2 of the series “The Working Mum: The Career Driven Power Mum”
Part 3 of the series “The Working Mum: The Kids Have Flown The Nest Mum”