Rant of a working mum

I am totally missing in action and it annoys the hell out of me!  Now according to The Free Dictionary the definition of rant is, “To express at length a complaint or negative opinion“. So here I go.

I am soooooooo busy.  Work seems to be coming out of my ears.  I cannot recall the last time I stopped for lunch.  I work through it every day.  I do not stop for morning or afternoon tea.  On the flip side the best thing about being a working mum is that I do leave at 5 pm, and being late means I leave somewhere between then and 5.30 pm at the very latest.  In the past (B.C. = before child for me!) I would seldom leave before 7 pm, and often worked many evenings and weekends.  My daughter does come first now.  She has my undivided attention from the moment I leave work until she goes to bed.  But then once she has gone to bed and her dad and I have had dinner, if we haven’t had it with her, I generally get back on the computer and of late have been working until 11/11.30 pm.  Go to bed.  Get up.  Repeat.  No relaxation whatsoever.

I am managing about a blog post once a month.  My Etsy efforts have dwindled almost into non-existence.  Don’t ask me that last time I did any exercise (that was pre-arrival of the little girl).  I am not doing anything for me.

Now many of you out there could say that this is self-inflicted.  And there is probably much truth in that.  My dear other half is always saying that workplaces even without intent will take advantage of people.  There is always more work that can be done.  I should say that I am in a senior role, in the core of senior leadership at a large organisation.

But I have to say that ever since I went back to full time work something hasn’t felt quite right.  Now I have been incredibly lucky, with the luxury of 9 months off when she was born, and then being part time with a progressive time increases over 15 months, commencing at 3 days per week, then 3 & 1/2 days per week, and then 4 days per week until she turned 2.  And for my first 3 months back at work when she was 9 – 12 months old she was at home with Dad.  I managed to breast feed until she was 16 months old, she has homemade food, and there are only a handful of nights when Mum & Dad haven’t both put her to bed together.  But I would go back to 4 days per week in a heartbeat. There is something about that additional day that on one hand helps me not get so drawn into work, and more importantly gets me that wonderful, will never occur again time with my little girl.  I have this personal manifesto that if I complain about something 3 times I have to either do something about it or shut up!

Ok, rant over, time for me to take action or be quiet…  Any thoughts out there?

23 thoughts on “Rant of a working mum

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  3. Being a working mom is so hard. I always feel guilty one way or another. There is not enough rest and no matter what I do, I am always behind on something.
    I like the idea of working from home. I think it is an option.
    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. The anxiety is not good either, nor is lack of proper sleep.
    Blessings,
    Annie

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  6. OMG, can we be friends?! I hear you sista! I have just started back at work after bub #2. I say just started back, but I realised I’ve been back two months already! On the Friday before I went back, my team of two staff were made redundant so I am doing the job of three plus trying to push some significant strategic and policy change through (which I was working on over my 9 months mat leave!).
    Re working four days a week, maybe this will help! I work a compressed work week, meaning that I work full time over 4 days. I start at 7am and finish at 5.30pm mon-thurs and have Friday’s off. My hubby is a long-haul truck driver so it’s me running solo during the week and this arrangement, whilst makes for long days, works well because I can focus all my energies into four days and then use the Friday to catch up on housework/life/playdates and the weekend for family time when my hubby gets home. It also saves a day in childcare costs too which helps! Maybe a compressed work week would be an option for you to put to your workplace – at least you’d know you’d be giving your career a fair go, but you’d be making time to be present for your family? (I won’t lie though, sometimes you get caught working on your day off at times, but from the small bit I’ve read, you strike me as someone who would have done that anyway!).
    This year I made the conscious decision to spend some more time on ‘me’ things and in particular focus on my ‘Plan B’ to chase down some of my dreams – I started a blog this year with a committment to writing everyday (bloody hard work let me tell you!) so that I could exercise my creative writing muscle, but also capture a snapshot of our lives for my girls in the event I wasn’t around (whole backstory there, but has to do with losing my mum and missing her now that I’m a mum).
    All I can say to you is keep on keeping on! It sounds to me like you’re struggling with the balance between being driven and loyal to your job and being present for your family. I get it!!! I’m in the same place!! I suspect that you are a loyal person and that going over and above in both roles is probably just the everyday norm for you. It’s a lot of pressure and I’m sure that your rational mind gets that you’re making it hard on yourself, but it’s just who you are and you want to do a good job at all of it! My mantra lately to combat my own self is simply ‘Remember to breathe’.
    Finally, utilise the support of your blogging community! One of the best things I’ve found is being able to vent or ‘rant’ knowing that there is a small chance that someone else will read it. My readership isn’t huge, but just putting it out there sometimes helps with the burden. Happy to chat anytime xx

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  7. I wonder if there are small adjustments you can make within your existing role. Hub is right, you do need to guard your wellbeing, all the ‘work smarter not harder’ stuff is maddening.

    Is it contractually expected that you will work from home in the evenings? Could aspects of your work be restructured, delegated or prioritised to allow you 2+ non working evenings a week? Is the temptation to work into the evening due to notifications from phones and other technology?

    I would also say that happy mamas who can model what it is to look after their needs are really important. I knew as young as six years old that my workaholic parents were unhappy, I couldn’t explain why, but I would have benefitted from a healthy, happy mama, rather than an exhausted one. Parenting is being reinvented and under the liberal parenting culture remains the same judginess, you can give your daughter quality time and attention, focusing on her every waking non minute might not be best for either of you.

    I hear your frustration and inner conflict, this stuff must be tough to navigate. But you matter too.

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  8. Firstly, I think you’re an INCREDIBLE mum. You give so much of yourself to your little girl, despite everything; hats off!
    I feel an immediate connection with u – we seem to have so much in common. I’m a mum too, I love the crafts – knitting, crochet etc (they were actually my survival mechanism while I was home full-time looking after the boys when they were younger). Trained as a neuropsychologist, I was juggling a demanding life in the corporate world and two young boys, so I totally feel your pain!
    Are you serious about suggestions for an alternative to the madness? If so, I’d be happy to share what I’ve got my hands on with you. xx

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  9. First I want to say that you are one amazing mama! Way to go on giving your daughter your all, the breastfeeding for 16 months, being there for as long as possible for returning to work full time and also for having the courage to post about what many mamas feel! I have enjoyed reading this post and all the comments as well! I had to laugh as I read through the post, since I too am struggling to keep up with blog posts (on my OTHER blog… then I ended up starting a blog about being a working mama but wanting to be a SAHM 😛 Go figure!) and also the Etsy shop… mine is down to 2 custom order only items and I almost dread when someone inquires for an item – when will I have time?? Here in the US, maternity leave is typically only 6 weeks… then mama’s are heading back to work FULL TIME! I took 10 weeks off with both of my babies, but that was still too soon to leave them full time! Not sure what your faith walk is, but I have found that prayers first always (but not always immediately) shed light of what direction to go in difficult situations. As a fellow working mama, my heart and prayers go out for you! This season is certainly difficult, but you don’t sound like the type that gives up. 🙂 God bless!

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  10. I have an 11 month only son and work four days (officially four, but I usually end up working 5) which is exhausting, so I have no idea how you do 5 and stay sane! Hats off too you for doing it this long. As someone mentioned earlier, I found a day working from home made a huge difference. I’m only in the office three days a week and I do the other day from home. Like you, I’m also part of the senior management team of a large company, so initially I encountered a of stack resistance to the idea of working from home, but I really stuck to my guns and eventually they came around. I really hope there is a way to reduce your load and good luck!

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  11. It’s tough…..it really is. I hear you. My kids are teenagers now but little ones in care/pre school/ after school care etc etc is really hard. And getting away on time to do the pick up is horrendously stressful. And the stress starts at about 2pm when you start trying to organise things so there are no last minute issues (which there always are) that will make you late. What worked for me was working one day from home. It’s not ideal, nor was it my preference but it at least gave me one day where I didn’t have to get everyone out the door, didn’t have to dress up and didn’t have to send my little one to after school care. Whilst it may not be the long term solution it’s not a bad interim measure. In any event, you’ve started thinking about change……..so it WILL happen and it will be good!!!!! Jane

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  12. I work in the pharmaceutical industry, lab rat turned paper pusher (QA) who is 45 with a 7 yr old. I still struggle with this work-life balance. I’m not in a position to quit (step kids who I love dearly), but I am looking for a change. Tech writing? Consulting? I don’t have a good plan – yet. Hang in there. Keep looking at options, even some that may not be in a traditional office (or lab!) setting. Good luck.

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  13. Take an hour to yourself. Once a week. Go for a walk. Go to a yoga class. Find something for you – it’s easier if you do it during nap or sleep time to ease with the working mom guilt. Find time to breath and center yourself. Good luck!

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  14. Take action! I know exactly where you’re coming from and was in the same situation three years ago before I set up my business. And when I say take action, that doesn’t necessarily mean quit your job, but make a change. Take a small action. Small changes can make a big difference. What’s most important to you? Take some time out to be ‘you’. Nurture yourself so you can feel fabulous nurturing others. I wonder what pushes you to work so hard? When I ran The Confident Mother earlier this year, one of the most powerful speakers was Toni Brodelle (https://inspirationparty.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/whose-love-did-you-crave-the-most-as-a-child/) and I was really powerfully struck when she asked “whose love did you crave as a child?” and then “what did you need to do or be to get that love”. For me it was my Dad and I worked hard, impressed him with my good exam results etc. That to me explained my drive to be perfect, to work hard, to achieve …

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  15. Hello! Am also a kiwi, ex labrat working in north Melbourne….and had a baby girl just after I hit 40. She’s only 4 months now and I am already not wanting to go back to work.. not only will I miss the wee noopa, but there’s no end to my shiny craft ideas.. hehe. Leaving work on time is exactly what you should be doing right now..!

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  16. It’s so hard and I feel for you. Me, I’m an action kind of person and I’d say do something! When I was in a similar situation and complained (read: bawled my eyes out) one too many times, my lovely husband said, “go back in there and quit.” While I’m not suggesting you do anything so drastic (soundsl ike quitting may not be the thing for you – and even I didn’t do it there and then in the heat of the moment), I am suggesting that only you can make something change. I know it’s possible because I did it. I went self-employed – again, not saying this is necessarily the answer for you (and it’s certainly not an easy option!) but just wanted to illustrate that however it feels at the moment, you have options. Here’s a hug – because you sound like you need one.

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