It’s February 2016 and I’ve been back at work after Maternity Leave for about three weeks. One of the female managers who I don’t really know asks me how I’m getting on. I’m honest and say it’s good to be back but it’s a bit of a shock to the system and I’m still finding my way. She nods empathetically and then says to me “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. You can. I’ve never met any group of people more productive than working mothers.”. It was meant with a helpful and supportive sentiment and it was a positive thing to hear. However, I’m not sure if it was necessarily the right thing for me to here. You see, in the last 14 months I have pondered a lot on life and balance. And on that phrase that gets thrown at all new mothers:
“You can have it all.”
I have kept a Gratitude Journal since the start of 2016. Over that year it made a MASSIVE difference to my mental attitude; I now more naturally see the positive in things. My blog is a place to share thoughts and opinions. But more than that, it’s a place I record life so I can look back in the future and remember how things were. Whilst I will always have my private journals, in January 2017 I also decided to take a leaf out the books of other bloggers and create a monthly gratitude feature. Here’s what I am grateful for this month:
These questions are getting tougher by the ‘day’. I’m not even a quarter of the way through and I’ve hit a tough one:
6. Something you’re proud of in the past few days
I’ve been considering lots of different things in my head and I keep coming back to feeling proud because “H did x” or “H said y”. But they aren’t things I’ve done that I’m proud of, which is what I think the question really means. But sitting down now to write this post, I’ve realised what I’m really proud of sitting here on the sofa, right here, right now. I’m proud of getting through this week!
I read a lot of blog posts and articles online and whilst I share a lot of them through tweets, it’s easy to miss them and hard to come back to them at another time. So another monthly feature I’m introducing (along with my ‘Five Favourite Finds‘) is a list of my top ten reads for the month. They will be a mixture of formal news articles and blog posts. Enjoy!
As a long time commuter, I know it’s easy to dwell on the negatives of commuting: the cost, the time, the delays, the horror of being rammed next to a stranger closer than you get to most relatives… I will openly admit that the one thing I really wish I could change about my job is my commute. But…it’s not all bad. Since returning from Maternity Leave I’ve reached a new level of commute-appreciation. So next time you feel anger at having to spend in excess of an hour / day on a train for half your salary, bear these things in mind:
Sitting watching TV yesterday evening, I realised it had been over a week since my last blog post. I’m not one of these people who strives to blog to a schedule but I do try and write something new each week. However, over the last week, during the little free time I’ve had, my brain has struggled to function. Fueled on tea I have had a very productive working week, but that followed by Mummy Duties at home have meant that now the week is at it’s end I have used up all energy reserves.
I have been a part-time worker for almost three months now. People working a shorter week had never bothered me in my pre-Motherhood existence and I have anyways found it easy to schedule things in with a bit of thought and planning. I am now experiencing the reactions of others first hand though and it has been quite interesting; Most colleagues are happy to embrace and accommodate my working hours whilst some aren’t bothered by it but just forget my different availability and sometimes end up with some last-minute organisational challenges. But then very occasionally I get more extreme reaction where the annoyance fact that I’m not always available is visible on someone’s face. I’ve also been subjected to various comments, some jovial and others serious, such as “Enjoy your day off!”, “Hmm, yes it’s a bit inflexible.” and so on. It made me think about some pre-conceptions I feel many people have about part-time working. So for those of you out there who work with colleagues on part-time hours, here are some points to bear in mind:
I’m 14 months in to my Parent role and during that time I have suffered various colds, sore throats and the like*. But on Bank Holiday Monday I was awoken by our lovely small person at 2am. I gave her a drink, some bonjela and popped her down to sleep; I however got back into bed and proceeded to not sleep for over an hour because my head was THROBBING. It literally felt like I had a (small) anvil on my head. Some time later as I lay awake Storm Katie started blustering around the house making those eerie windy sounds; H woke crying and I got up to sooth her. After making it back to bed, I crashed out into an uncomfortable slumber. Then the alarm went off and it was time to get up…
I’ve been back at work for two months now (has it really only been that long?!) and it has been a real rollercoaster of emotions. Normal post-Maternity Leave anxieties aside, I had always been looking forward to going back to work; But I also knew it wouldn’t be easy. I haven’t yet regretted my decision to go back. I am enjoying seeing my work colleagues again and using my brain more. H also really, really enjoys nursery so I am fortunate to rarely suffer from mummy-guilt.
Days at home with the small one involve a lot of playing in the same room and pottering around the house. So it always comes as a surprise to me how tired I feel at the end of those days; More tired than when I am at work. But when I stop and think about what I actually do on the days I am at home, it makes sense. Because chasing after a baby-verging-on-toddler is DAMN HARD WORK!