Oooh I do hate to be a cliche, and yet here I am. Even though I have a small business of my own, it’s going to have to take a back seat for a few months while I go out and earn a regular, predictable wage. But as a busy Mummy of three children under six, with limited headspace for more ‘stuff’, just how do I go about finding work that fits in around what my family needs?
It’s the age old question that so many mums (and dads) who are returning to the workplace after time off with their family face. What can I do that allows me the flexibility to also look after my family?
A career change?
What I used to do, PK (pre-kids) was corporate communications. I worked with the leaders of enormous global companies to help them communicate effectively with the thousands of people who worked for them.
I kept this going for a relatively long time after babies one and two (Grace and Lissy) came along by working as a freelancer. I would visit the client at their office when I needed to, and then work from our spare room the rest of the time. Luckily I had some amazing women to work for who were fully supportive of this mode of working.
I planned a longer period of maternity leave after baby number three (Nate). Even our eldest wasn’t yet three years old and luckily we had some savings that meant I was under less pressure to work while we got used to the infinitely more crazy life of being parents to three rascals instead of two.
But halfway through my planned two years of leave I found myself at the helm of a brand new wool shop. It was a long-held dream to start this business and I was so excited. I threw myself enthusiastically into creating a brand, setting up shop, and getting to know a quickly-growing group of customers.
But it was also hard work. Stressful, a massive responsibility that we had invested heavily in … and it was difficult to earn a reliable income from.
So with a heavy heart I closed the shop doors with the intention of trading only online but also knowing that an additional job would be needed in order to achieve that regular predictable wage.
And now here I am. Facing the dilemma of choosing a low-paid yet stress-free job … or returning to my old corporate world where I use all of the skills I built up over 15 years of working, and I earn a salary that reflects that. But I also risk needing to travel and be away from my family, and feeling under immense pressure at work.
There is hope
Tomorrow I am going (with Lissy and Nate in tow!) to a special event in Manchester that is designed for mums who want to get back to work. I’m not sure what to expect of it, but I hope for advice about tailoring my CV, negotiating flexible working, and possibly even meeting some family-friendly potential employers.
Oh, and lots of negotiating and bribing the kids to behave. I feel a bag of distraction toys and snacks will be essential!
I’ll let you know how it goes …