My journey back to work post baby was a weird one. After a phased return using up annual leave, I hit full time work with a bang.
And it was intense! 5am wake ups to put a full face of slap on before facing the tube, once or twice a month meeting clients in all corners of the U.K. which involved overnight stays – and nights away from Mini. But it’s what I’d signed up for.
I never had the option of returning part time. This was laid out to me pretty clear. And I understood. I managed a team of 6 account managers. Working less than five days would have been unattainable, particularly as I had to spend a lot of time scheduling catch ups and calls around their training visits or partner visits. If I’d have gone part time, I would have spent the time in work catching up and not actually working.
So I struggled. I really, really struggled. They were long days and I was out of the house for 12/13 hours a day.
Come the weekend, I was an absolute wreck. Exhausted, and if I’m honest entertaining a toddler was the last thing I wanted to do. I was desperate to spend time with him, but didn’t have the energy.
My days were a blur of gobbling Starbucks as I got to work early so I didn’t feel the guilt of bolting out the door at bang on 5:30 to get to Nursery on time for pick up and to avoid a £1 a minute late charge.
I gave my all, it was a real life changer going from a job which a year ago I’d thrown myself in to and aimed high. To having other responsibilities at home that meant I couldn’t do the after work drinks so often. Or desperately looking at the clock during that 4:30 meeting praying it wouldn’t overrun as I couldn’t bear the thought of looking unprofessional excusing myself because I had to get home in time. The difference between leaving on time and leaving 15 minutes later was often the difference between seeing Mini awake or asleep.
9 months after I returned, we got summoned in to a room – I think you all know what’s coming – and it was announced my team was going to be restructured. I knew straight away that it was my opportunity to get out, city life wasn’t for me any more. I expressed to my HR department that I wasn’t interested in the alternative roles and signed on the dotted line to say I was accepting redundancy.
I had some grand plans, embarking on interior design courses in the hope of setting up my own business. Sorting out the house which had been left in disarray over the past 18 months and of course spending time with Mini.
In fact, I spent the first day of unemployment hungover from my leaving bash at soft play.
It was awesome but after a month, I needed to go back to work. My husband was raging, he genuinely couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t take time off for myself before heading back in to work. I spent weeks interviewing, not believing how much the job market had changed since I’d been at my old company for eight years at this point. Now I was well and truly unemployed, but not really out of choice.
In January, my mother in law let me know there was an opening at our family business in a particular team. Working there would mean I could actually spend time with my husband, had a 15 minute commute in the car and just more time to spend as a family. So I jumped at the chance. Although it wasn’t all bliss. The department I worked in was being disbanded, so I was being moved to another department.
This was a god send, with my workload halving with losing the other department, I had the opportunity to put my case forward about dropping a day at work. Working for my in-laws didn’t mean an easy ride, I still had to put my case forward and discuss how I could manage my workload over four days instead of five and I have put in the time to make sure other people in the office aren’t disadvantaged by my not being around.
But we got there! This is officially my first four day week. Tomorrow will be spent catching up with old friends and their children and enjoying Mini. We’ve made a promise that no food shopping or laundry will be done on a Friday, so that the day is put to good use!
The journey was long, but I feel like this is a good compromise between being a stay at home mum and a working mum. I need both things to have a purpose. It may not work, I may find myself needing to go back full time. But for now, I’ll enjoy the ride!
So this is me, signing off as a full time working mum! I’m now officially a part time working mum.