Hello and welcome back to The Mummy Juggle, a series designed with Mums in mind to share stories and inspiration about how to cope with the day-to-day struggle of juggling work and family life. A struggle I’ve affectionately named ‘The Mummy Juggle.’
The Mummy Juggle: ‘The non-stop juggling act of being a mother, holding down a job, running a home and generally being an all round superwoman!’
I’m nine months into my maternity leave with Ollie now [9 MONTHS!!] so my head is now starting to think about how exactly I’m going to juggle things when it’ time to go back to work. This month we hear from Nicola, a full time working Mum who loves her job and thrives on the challenges it brings. At the same time, she adores being at home with her family and is currently on maternity leave until 2020 which she is hugely enjoying.
Nicola | Mummy to Dex
I’ve been a full time working Mum since my maternity leave ended in May 2017 and I returned to the work place. I work as a branch manager for a national company which is very prominent on the high street. It can be difficult having to deal with unhappy customers and disgruntled staff, but on the whole I love my job and thrive on hitting my targets and creating a friendly and positive workspace for my colleagues.
I was dreading the return to work after having Dexter and it was made even worse by not knowing which branch I would be returning to. The great thing about working for a brand which has branches on every high street in the U.K. is that you can work wherever you want, pretty much. At least this was the case when I returned to work in 2017, more and more branches are now being franchised leaving only a few available in my local area for me to work in.
When I did return to work after thirteen months of maternity leave, I settled back in almost immediately. We chose a childminder for Dexter and he went there four days a week, term time only. Luckily, my husband is a teacher and he loves looking after our little one when he’s supposed to be on his hard earned holidays. This has reduced our childcare costs by at least a third, and they are also greatly reduced by childcare vouchers which are offered by both our employers.
Juggling life as a working Mum came quite easily to me. I took Wednesdays off as I was able to work Saturday mornings and I loved the routine of getting up, getting ready, driving to the childminders and to work and having a really positive day. I certainly did miss Dexter, but the hours flew by compared to how slow the time went when I was on maternity leave. Despite dreading returning to work, looking back, I actually found maternity leave very boring, isolating and depressing and a return to the workplace was what I needed to find myself again.
When I fell pregnant last year, maternity leave loomed over me once more and I felt a bit apprehensive about giving up my job again for twelve months and losing that working Mum identity. This time however, we had moved house to a small village in Lancashire and I had no idea how different things would be. Instead of feeling lonely and isolated and counting down the hours until my husband comes home, the day passes by me in a flash, and I’m now back to dreading the return to work in January next year.
I started blogging in September 2016 as a way to pass the time and keep my brain occupied while I was on maternity leave, and it just grew from there. Blogging for me is mainly a hobby, but over the past couple of years it has become a source of income for me too, which helped us massively when it came time to buy our first owned home last year. I mainly blog about parenting and my ‘niche’ is baby led weaning. I loved weaning my first son Dexter and shared all of the recipes we used which have become extremely popular on Pinterest and Google. I am so excited to wean my other son later this year and share even more recipes. Aside from that, I also write about days out, travel, reviews and of course what life is like as a working mum.
People often ask me if I want to give up my job and perhaps blog full time or find something with less hours. (I currently work 41 hours a week and commute for two hours each day) and to be honest, I don’t have an answer. The threat of redundancy has been hanging over the people who do my job for years, and just recently we lost another five managers in our area. I think the time is coming where I will have to accept redundancy, but I cannot imagine being a stay at home Mum indefinitely. As much as I love being at home with my squishy newborn, I also know how hard those days are when my toddler is here and not at the childminders. As much as I love him, being at work actually gives me a much needed rest from his excessive energy! I can’t imagine what it will be like with two of them bouncing around!
I do wonder how I will cope returning to the work place as a full time working Mum of two. I’ve been surprised at how easily I’ve adapted to becoming a Mum of two; going from one to two is much easier than going from none to one, that’s for sure! I’m lucky that I have an excellent childcare provider who I trust implicitly, a supportive husband who does his best to help around the house, but most importantly loves spending time with his children and a job that I actually like and enjoy doing.
As much as I’d like to give up work to blog full time, I like the independence and freedom my full time salary gives me. Without it we wouldn’t be able to go on holidays, eat out regularly or spend money on decorating our new house just the way we want it. Blogging gives me an outlet to do something for me inbetween the craziness of working full time and being a Mum, without it, I think I would go a little bit insane!
Nicola is a Parent Blogger at Mummy to Dex where her main focus is on baby led weaning. If you’d like to find out more you can find her on Instagram @MummytoDex, Twitter @mummytoDex, and Pinterest @MummytoDex
I set up the Mummy Juggle series as I was interested in hearing from other Mums on how they deal with the daily struggle of working life in the hope that it will provide a place for Mums to share tips on how to make life a little easier. If you enjoyed this post and have a story to tell that you would like to see featured, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be great to hear from you x