Kids and Careers: Words of a Working Mum - Eden Scott
Balancing work and motherhood is no mean feat! Even the word balance seems inadequate, as there's nothing balanced about having a career and raising children. Unexpected challenges befall you and it may seem like an uphill struggle. Whilst new legislation is being introduced to share parental leave, many mothers still feel that they have to sacrifice their career in order to bring up their children.
Whilst this is a topic often discussed, it is entirely down to what the mother wants to do and the family's individual circumstances.
Here our team share their advice and experiences on being a working mother.
Michelle Lownie | Director
Being a working mum is a bit like being a recruiter. There are lots of highs and lows, things don't always happen the way you think they will but the sense of satisfaction and achievement you get when everything falls into place - well there is nothing quite like it.
It's amazing the number of EU regulations out there that govern how long we work in one sitting and what's the minimum amount we can be paid doesn't actually cover the most important job in the world - that of being a parent.
I never feel guilty because it's healthy and right for both me and my girls to pursue other things independently. Work gives me a massive buzz and sense of purpose and nursery do things with the kids that as busy parent you don't always have the time or energy to. Being super organised and approaching the get up and out in the mornings like a drill sergeant generally works in our house. Working and raising kids for me go hand in hand. The only limiter in terms of your career that I have found is yourself - great things don't happen by themselves you need to make them happen.
Lindsey Boxall | Director
My daughter is now 11 and whilst she wouldn’t want to I am absolutely confident in her abilities to survive independently for a good period of time. She does the food shopping, she can make her own dinner, makes the best cup of tea ever and knows how to use the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher although some there is some training still required in the putting away department!
Joking aside - a working mum needs to be extremely organised. When children are younger they don’t understand this, they don’t understand the pressure of getting to somewhere on time and the immediate switch of type from Mum to Office Professional! What they do pick up on very early on is when someone is getting anxious/stressed and then they can become very unhelpful. So the key is to try and remain calm and pretend nothing phases you. Easier said than done!
If you can get the combination to work, being a Mum and also having a career is the best feeling ever. It isn’t easy, as often you are pulled in different directions all at the same time and your conscience plays havoc with you, but there is nothing better than having a great day at work and heading home to be greeted with a massive cuddle from your child, obviously with a freshly made cup of tea!
Sally Rae | Principal Consultant | Hospitality Sales & Marketing
Working whilst raising a family is hard work and you need to be very organised. I recall having a very early alarm call and a strict routine to make sure everything was prepared in advance.
Mind you I also spent many evenings after Robert had gone to sleep getting out my briefcase and catching up on work that needed to be done for the next day. Nowadays much more companies are receptive to employees reducing their working hours or taking a career break – the key thing here is to still keep involved in your marketplace, spend spare time watching what is happening in your industry such as new trends, competitors, market activity, so that you can keep your skills and knowledge fresh and up to date so that when the time is right and you return to work you can re- enter at the same or at a higher level.
Karen Kerr | Business Manager | Financial Services
I have to say being a working mum full time to two lovely children, Holly 11 and Finlay 4, is something that I really enjoy as I do not think once you have children your career has to stop. Mine definitely has not - if anything I am more career minded and determined to succeed!
I think the success to being a working mum is to be organised, I plan my weekly meals, have a to do list and spend plenty of time with my kids.
I have often left the house with porridge on my dress which is frustating, however after a while it does bring a smile to your face. Once you know the kids are safely at school and nursery you head in to the office and start your day with a cup of coffee and then you go in to work mode. Yes of course you think of your kids; however we work so we can provide the best for our children.
With good planning and technology, you can work from anywhere at any time. The hardest part is trying to get the work life balance and not being online all day and night just because you can (that’s me)!
If I could go back to before I had kids, I would not change my current life as I am extremely happy in my career and have 2 lovely healthy children that make me laugh, cry and scream at them. However having kids makes you realise how much time you wasted burning the candle at both ends!
Joanne Fletcher | Principal Consultant | IT
There are two main reasons for becoming a full-time working mum, firstly because I love my job (corny I know). Secondly because I can’t afford not to, there’s one thing for sure my work and social life has never been the same since my two boys came along.
I’ve gone through the whole load of emotions — dropping off a screaming toddler at nursery and feeling terribly guilty, turning my back on his sad face as if I don’t care.
But the fact is, on a good day, work can feel like a refreshing break from the drudgery of motherhood.
Adios, happy hour — and, probably, lunch
Gone are the colleague nights out and the big social scene (not to mention the professional benefits of bonding with colleagues). I’m needed at home no matter what. On the positive, by the end of the day, seeing my boys’ wee faces light up when I walk in the door is well worth the sacrifice.
As for lunch, forget about it. Today was a classic example out running round the shops buying paint, glue, string and not to forget red noses for Red Nose Day. Then to go home and create two masks so they can be part of red nose events at their school.
I always feel like I’m leaving too early — but l’ll still be working late (and no one will know)
Before I always came into the office early and worked late. This is no longer a reality — now I leave after 5pm to get home to see the kids, feed them, do their homework, bath, read a story and bed then finally back to work on my home computer.
Within the office
As my kids are my two little miracles (that’s another story) and I want to talk about them all the time, but hugely conscious that I wouldn’t feel comfortable going on and on about them to colleagues who don’t have kids. It’s good at Eden Scott, I have excellent compatriots in my fellow mums who make me realise there is no such thing as a Super Mum and we are all the same, going through similar pressures and juggling acts.
On the other hand sometimes it’s just plain refreshing to talk to someone who hasn’t got kids taking you back to your parentless past.
Some of the hardest things….
Missing the kids while at work. That’s why I have loads of pictures of the boys on my phone and on my computer. Which totally grounds me and helps me feel better on a bad day.
Sleepless nights due to the kids waking me up and coming into work with the biggest bags under my eyes.
To resolve this, I shake myself off, grab a large strong coffee and off we go!
One of the biggest hurdles since becoming a working mum has been maintaining that work-life balance, what’s that again?
Walking in the door makes it all worth it and seeing their smiling faces
So my question to you, do mothers really need to give up their career ?, my answer is certainly not, I have just become super organised, much more tired with less time for myself, but the end result is rewarding, two wonderful kids, a supportive hubby and a job I love.
Do you have any tips on how to juggle working life with being a mother? Share them in the comments section below!