Welcome back to another week of the “Share Your Story” series. Last week I introduced you to the lovely Shelby from Blonde & The Blog. Shelby shared her story on how she made the decision to give up her job and follow her dream.
This week we have the very lovely Sam from Never Enough Time, who is sharing her story on her returning to the 9-5! Let me hand you over to her now.
Never Enough Time
I am Sam, I’m 38. I am a wife and a busy Mum to two little monsters, a 3-year-old boy and a 19 month old girl. We live in the north-west, I am originally from London but have been up here 8 years, not that my accent is any different!
I work part-time and mum full-time. I’ve been through some really hard times as a Mum; I have been diagnosed with PND, I have had all sorts of issues to do with giving birth. I have also found ways to cope and I am getting back on my feet and starting to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Now I know there are a million mum blogs out there. Some talking about how perfect their lives are with amazing photos to go along side and there are others that show us the bare bones of parenthood and all its hidden little secrets. With my blog I want to share my experiences of motherhood and parenting – I am pretty sure some of you will agree with my style, some won’t and others won’t give two hoots.
So there you have it, I am not planning on changing the world but maybe try to make it a little easier for some if I can.
My Story – Working 9-5
I returned to work after a total of 24 months on maternity leave, in between I made a short return to work for 6 months. I know that I am lucky, there was never any question of me returning to work doing less hours than I did previously but it didn’t make coming back any easier mentally.
After a full 12 months maternity leave with my first baby and using holiday accrued whilst off, I returned to work the day after his first birthday in November 2015. I was devastated. It broke my heart leaving him at the nursery that first day back, we both cried but I knew my return to work was only going to be temporary as I had found out I was pregnant with number two in August 2015, so not only was I sad to leave my baby boy…..
…I was scared about delivering the news that my return was only going to be temporary.
When I originally went off on maternity leave in April 2014, I think it’s fair to say that it wasn’t on the best terms. Several medical related things lead to me being eventually signed off work by my doctor, which at the time wasn’t exactly dealt with in the most sympathetic way by the HR department of my employer. I dreaded returning because of the way I’d left and thought that there would be some residual hangover and bad feeling on my return, and now especially as I had this new information to give.
When I made my application for flexible working while on maternity leave it was never questioned by my manager or my employers. I asked to reduce my working week from 5 full days to a part-time 2.5 days when I returned in November 2015. I hadn’t really had much communication with work while I was off so had no idea what had changed. Who was there or what work I was actually going back to do. But I had the feeling of dread building in my stomach day after day as the weeks flew by.
It was eventually time to go back.
Admittedly my return wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. The lady who had been covering my job while I was off was still being kept on to cover the 2.5 days I wouldn’t be there so that made a handover relatively pain-free. I slipped back into my old office, desk and chair and after a few weeks it was like I had never been away.
My impending second round of maternity leave was also news well received, not that I am sure it could have been taken any other way, I am not sure what I was expecting! So I had nothing to get anxious about the whole time I was dreading coming back. I did find the juggle a bit of a struggle, trying to be a mum half the time and trying to work and trying to grow a human are all very tiring and I have to say I was pleased when I was eventually off on maternity leave once again, back to mumming full-time felt more natural to me than being back in a job away from home.
Another 12 months passed.
I had a toddler and a baby, and I returned to work for the second time in June 2017. This time I had applied for a shorter working week and was back in just 2 days. My application to reduce my hours again was happily signed off and I returned this time with no anxiety, no apprehension. I was actually looking forward to being back in work, actually using my brain again and speaking to grown ups! I never ever thought I would be happy to be at work and spending time away from my kids, but it turns out and I am happy to admit it, I like working and I like not being mum for a little while. I don’t have the same demands on me. Yes I have responsibility, deadlines and other stresses to deal with, but I am not responsible for keeping anyone alive for a couple of hours a week, that’s the job of the nursery and the grandparents.
When I first returned my colleagues would joke, “oh you come to work for a rest”….. but it is true, I DO! I really do. I love my commute too, 30 minutes on the train – 1 hours a day to read, listen to music or a podcast, or just to sit in peace and quiet and look out of a window if I want. Before I was a mum I didn’t realise there were these little pleasures in life, I have come to appreciate that half an hours peace is wonderful! My kids are getting a little older, yes they definitely still need me still for lots of things, but eventually they’ll need me less and less and I am glad that I still have my job and my independence.
With hindsight I can look back and say I am glad that I didn’t go with my first thoughts of quitting work because being at home was more comfortable for me at one stage of my life.
I have been back in work 7 months now and I have increased my hours back to three days a week. My eldest is now in nursery 3 days a week thanks to the 30 hours free childcare and my youngest is in nursery one day as week, I still have my in-laws to have the kids on the extra day I am in work and this works for us as a family. I like the extra income, the independence and using my head for more things other than wondering how many more loads of washing I can get done or what to cook for the kids dinner that night.
I don’t dare think for a minute I can or do “have it all”. I’m not a career driven person and I am the first one to admit that, but I like the fact I have my income again, that in the house we’re not just reliant on one wage. I’ll tell anyone that asks, that it was a struggle at times, we managed sure, and I never believed it when people told me you learn to cope, you do cope with what you have but we didn’t have luxuries like holidays.
Eventually my kids are going to be in school full-time and I want to be able to continue to enjoy working and feeding my mind with the adult world while I am not being a mum. I want my kids to see that mummy goes to work and it brings home positives for them, it shows them that working earns you rewards. It teaches them values and that’s so important as I know many kids think money grows on trees!
How I work now is different to before I had kids.
I have different priorities now but I can say that I am just glad and proud of myself for not quitting, for sticking with it when it got tough. Its made me a stronger and more determined person and I know my kids aren’t made of glass, they will cope when I am at work and they both thrive so much at nursery, I am proud to see how my returning to work has grown them in a different way too.
Thank you so much Sam for sharing your story.
I can completely relate to Sam’s story, I enjoy going to work. Speaking with adults, actually thinking about problem solving. I found it difficult returning after my second but stuck with it and it has got easier. How did you find returning to work after your maternity leave? Or are you about to return and feeling worried? Let us know below.
*Photo image from Pixabay