The Realities of Being a Part-Time Working Mum

Hello again! The past couple of weeks have been so busy, with work, my little man and working on something that’s a potentially exciting future project. But now it’s finally the mid-term break and I feel I can breathe a little easier for a few days.

Five months into my return to work I think that it might be time to give an update on my new life as a part-time working mum. I wrote about my return to work back in October. It was all very fresh at that stage and my overwhelming feeling back then was that my maternity leave had been far too short. My little man was only four and a half months old. However, due to the nature of my job, I had to return at that point. Leaving it any later could possibly have meant that there would have been very little work for me to return to and, unfortunately for us, we simply cannot afford for me to be a stay at home mum. 

Fast forward a few months and we have settled into a rhythm. To be honest the weeks are absolutely flying by. It has been such a godsend having my mum look after my little man, he’s quite happy to be left with her and I can go to work relaxed, knowing that he is being well cared for. Mum’s also enjoying her extra time with her grandson and they have developed a lovely bond which is just great. Due to the nature of my job I only work short days so I’m back by mid-afternoon. In this respect I don’t feel I’m missing out too much on time with my little boy which, for me, is the most important thing. I’m only working a three-day week so it’s great to have so much time off with the little man. 

One of the huge positives for me with regards to going back to work is simply socialising with other adults. It’s just so important to get out there, chat to people and to have a life outside of your own home. Although I do mainly work with children (I’m a music educator going into primary schools teaching music to 4-12 year olds) I do get that time in the staffroom which has been invaluable.

However in terms of the way in which I work, returning to my previous job as a working mum has made me see things in a completely different light. My job is one of those where if you don’t go in you don’t get paid, it’s just the nature of it. I’ve worked this way for the past ten years, so I’m used to it. It’s also term time only in a country which has incredibly long summer holidays (2-3 months). However, pre-motherhood I was able to work as many hours as possible in the day and I worked evenings and weekends too which meant I could earn enough to keep going through the school holidays. But now things are so different! Not only do I have to take my little man into consideration but there’s also my husband’s multiple sclerosis which, as I’ve mentioned before, currently means he can’t take sole care of our little man. Naturally this will change in time but for now, that’s the way things are. 

So whilst I can work during the day, I can’t work in the evenings anymore. I could work all week in my day job but that would mean using childcare which is too expensive in comparison to what I earn. We’re so lucky that we have my mum looking after our little man but, although she loves it, I wouldn’t ask her to do any more than she’s already doing for us. 

So the result of all this? Well, it’s made me see that my current job on its own won’t sustain us but at the same time I don’t want to give up the work/life balance I have. So it’s simple. I need a portfolio career! 

My additional income has to come from a job I can do from home and to me the obvious solution to this is to pursue my dream job of becoming a freelance writer (which is currently very much in the pursuit stage!). My ideal situation is to combine that with my current job allowing me to continue to be the part-time stay-at-home mum that I want to be, whilst also being in a working environment three days a week in term time. 

I’ve managed to get myself into the frame of mind where I’m determined to make this happen which is not a bad place to be. I know from past experience that staying positive is the only way to make things happen so I’m trying to banish any negativity from my brain and keep telling myself that this will happen! To help me I’m also reading the brilliant book Mumboss by Vicki Psarias which is so inspiring, leading me to believe that my dreams are realistic (once I’ve finished this book I plan to review it in my new Book Review section of my website).

I know that every parent has different aspirations when it comes to working after having children, for some that’s to work full time, for others it’s part-time and then there are those who choose to be a stay-at-home parent. None of these are the wrong thing to do. We all do what we feel is best for our family situation. I certainly feel that my aspirations are what will work for my family at the current time.

So I’ll just keep on writing because at some stage this just has to work!

Colette x

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