“You can’t treat motherhood with the same schedule you would use in a 9-5 job.” Louise
In some workplaces you’re going to be surrounded by people who aren’t very supportive or understanding when it comes to time off for family matters. Once again, their opinion or attitude is out of your control; it should not affect the choices you make. There are rights to protect working mothers and allow for flexibility.
I spent so much time in work when my two older children were growing up that I didn't meet teachers until I could make parents evening. When I married my husband and fell pregnant I was given my maternity leave early because of my sickness. This gave me a chance to catch up on everything I had missed out on. I loved being a school run mum. I’m serious, I was so excited to meet other mums and be there to hear all about my children’s day as they raced out of the school doors towards me.
For the first few weeks I was always on time, both morning and after school, until the reality of not having to be anywhere other than home hit and my children began to relax too much. They knew that if they forgot their PE kit, I would shoot down the school to drop it off. I thought being a working mum with a strict routine was the dark side. This was before I had this experience of being a stay at home mum, which for me was just as tough and sometimes even tougher! Being a stay at home mum on maternity leave before I had my third baby, I would spend a lot of time thinking about what was happening in work. Did the staff and children miss me? Had someone else taken my role over? Were they better than me? I had to learn how to switch work life off from home life, which isn't easy, but speaking to and spending more time with friends and familymembers who didn't mind me not being very energetic was a massive help.
I also started to notice the other working mums at the school dropping their children off.
I wondered how they were doing it so gracefully and, more to the point, how did they work their hours around the school run? I began to make friends with some of the mums and I learnt that by communicating with their employer about hours and family commitments they felt reassured that their employers understood. This wasn’t the case for everyone though.
When my children were in nursery, I went to work wondering how they were getting on and if they were missing me. I’m sure all mothers think like that when returning to work. I still miss all three of my children during the day and when they aren’t around me. But I know they’re fine and I make an effort to be fully in the present moment when I’m with them.
I do believe that mums suffer a terrible amount of natural separation anxiety. No matter how many times I wanted to believe that it was my baby who missed me and who wouldn’t settle with anyone else, it was often me building this up. The last thing I wanted to hear was, ‘She will be okay.’ Even though I knew she would be, my mind didn’t allow me to think that.
If you’re spending hours at work thinking about how your baby is getting on in nursery give them a call on your break or ask them to send updates. This will bring a lot of reassurance.
I still worry when my children are out of my sight, but it also doesn’t stop me from working hard for my business to provide for their futures. It’s getting that happy medium when it comes to taking control of your thoughts and putting them into perspective. You know your own personal reasons for getting up and going out to work. You must also remind yourself that if it’s not making you happy or giving you the outcome needed, then think outside the box and come up with a plan of change. I’m not suggesting that all mothers want to change their jobs, because they don’t, but you deserve to be happy. There will always be an answer to the barriers.