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Buy buy sell sell says Jemima Grace

Back to Business. Will It Be All Work And No Play?

Michele

Buy buy sell sell says Jemima Grace

So after The Big Family Holiday, everyone went back to work, Izzie returned to Nursery and Jemima and I went back to enjoying our last few months togther. Because next year, I too am going back to work.
If I’m honest it’s starting to irritate me when well meaning people politely ask “if I’m nervous about returning to work” because No, I am not scared.

I am absolutely terrified. You see I’ve been out of the game for 3 years now and there’s a couple of things that concern me. I’ve always worked in Sales and supposing I’ve lost “it”? That ability to persuade someone to buy something they could more than likely, live quite happily without. I mean some Sales people bug the living daylights out of me.

But then will returning to Sales be much different to my “work” now? It’s interesting that looking after your own children doesn’t constitute as work but looking after someone else’s does. You’re never interviewed to look after your own children but its one of the most challenging, multiskilled jobs you’ll ever do. Training is very much on the job and the renumeration package is frankly shocking.

Looking back I’ve been through some gruelling interviews and assessments to check I had what it took to sell various products of equally questionable importance. Then when successful, I embarked on lengthy training schedules just to sell a few tons worth of stock. But I guess nothing could have prepared me for the challenges of parenting.

Granted, IVF wasn’t a picnic but treatment taught me different skills on a much deeper level rather than focusing on practicalities. As an apprentice parent, very few people teach you things you really need to know, like jiggling a pram will get most babies to sleep and Sudocreme will stop their bottoms resembling a Belisha beacon.

There are also other things, much more relevant to the work place, I’ve learnt in the last 3 years. So if I was asked that old interview question, “what skills would you take with you to your next job from your current role?” Now where should I begin?

Let’s start with Negotiation. I think all corporate HR departments should recruit toddlers to improve employee’s negotiation techniques. My toddlers are ruthless and reluctant to follow rules, therefore I’ve learnt to drive a very hard bargain. In the last 24 hours I’ve negotiated on pretty much everything from why they can’t have chocolate for breakfast but can have a piece after lunch; to why they can’t have another hour but only another 5 minutes in the bath.

Occasionally one negotiating party may not be happy with a compromise so Confrontation is inevitable. The shame of very many public paddys has given me strength of charachter. A toddler will sniff out weakness and if for example they want a ride on those annoying Noddy or Thomas The Tank Engine contraptions, outside the supermarket, refusal will often offend and result in said child throwing themselves on the floor. I don’t enjoy watching my child publicly disgrace themselves but sometimes you’ve just got to stand your ground.

To ensure Confrontation is kept to a minimum, Time Management is key. Yesterday I put Jemima in her pram for her afternoon nap, went to the post office, bank and picked up the groceries while walking the dog. Ok the dog looked a bit bewildered, peering out from an umbrella, parked outside Barclays (I wonder why they allow my children but not my marginally, better behaved dog into the bank?) but a few throws of his squeaky ball and all was forgiven. After all, any working relationship requires give and take.

Above all, I’m fiercely Competitive. I will do whatever it takes to be the best Mother I can be for my girls. Not because I want to be better than anyone else. I just want to do whatever I can to make them happy. Primarily because seeing them thriving gives me an amazing, warm, fuzzy feeling and secondly when they’re content they’re much more manageable.

I could go on but arrogance is never attractive, especially at an interview. So let’s move onto what’s really bothering me, which is that I won’t always be there for them, that I may be distracted or delayed by work.

I’ll use Jemima’s Rhythm Time Class last week as an example. As soon as we walked in, I knew something was up when a mini Batman walked past us to join the mini Spiderman sitting in the circle. Yes, I had missed the “your child must come in fancy dress” memo. I could argue that I was on holiday but I’m 3 years into this now. I should know that Halloween or any celebration equals dressing one’s child up appropriately. To be honest Jemima wasn’t bothered but guilt doesn’t cover how I felt. Supposing I start to make even more mistakes like this?

I guess put into perspective Fancy Dress is unimportant as a few weeks ago, I got a call from nursery. The first thing the Headmistress said was, “don’t panic”, which of course was the first thing I did but all that was wrong was Izzie’s temperature was slightly raised. They asked, “did I want to pick her up early?” I think I squeaked “yes” before I handbrake turned off the drive and shot down to nursery. Supposing I can’t get to her as quick as she needs me, next time?

But if I think of that other favourite interview question “where do you see, yourself in 5 years?” A few years ago I could never have seen myself here. I’d just started IVF and barely hoped that would be successful. Let alone that I’d have Isabella working in the cloudanother baby naturally just a year later. Sometimes you’ve just go to go with the flow. After all I’m going back to work part time and will give this my best shot but my 2 baby girls will continue to be my number one priority, full time and forever.


Comments
  1. Great post! I admire you greatly, I have been a stay at home mum for 12 yrs now, and the thought of returning to work terrifies me. Us SAH parents under value ourselves and fail to see what important and very relevant skills we have accumulated whilst bringing up our family in the best way possible. And what a great list of values you’ve posted. Xxx

    1. 12 years? How can you still be so perky? I have only ever heard you say nice things about your family so I admire you greatly. Thank you so much for taking the time to read, comment and retweet. I remember your support when I was plucking up the courage to publish my first post so your comments always mean a lot. Thank you. x

    1. Well that’s the biggest compliment I could wish for especially given you’re such a great parent yourself. Excellent use of the word toddle! Although I do expect it will be a little more challenging but then nothing worth doing is ever easy. You taught me that one. x

  2. So well written, thank you – I’ll be keeping a note of it for when (or if!) I ever go back to work! You’re right, as mums we learn so much in such a short space of time, it does almost make us superhuman. Good luck with the return – at least you can rest easy knowing your priorities are right.

    1. What lovely comments, thank you. I’m so glad you think my post was well written as I do tend to ramble on a bit when I get going! I keep meaning to write shorter posts but sometimes its difficult to stop. It means a lot too that you said I’ve got my priorities right. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and read, I really appreciate it.

  3. Even though mine is 16, I still sometimes beat myself up for being a working mother. But then many mothers work these days, so at least we are giving them a realistic view of what life holds. Knowing how well you cope when challenges are presented to you, I know you will cope brilliantly with juggling it all.

    1. Thank you for the vote of confidence! I’m flattered you think I can cope well with challenges. Although really you could have fibbed & told me the guilt eases after 16 years! Only kidding, I love that you always keep it real. Thanks for taking the time to read, comment & retweet, its very decent of you. x

  4. Did you swallow a dictionary. Your post was well written, great use of vocabulary and very well organized. It was also very witty and clever. In Jack’s class I was asked to answer the daily question today. Who has it easier girls or boys. At first I thought boys but then I thought, look at how amazing women with children are at multi- tasking, look at how we are able to handle mostly everything that is thrown at us. You may have forgotten the costume but Jemima wasn’t late for her rhythm class! Returning to work will be easy for you after all the experience you have gained in the last few years with negotiation, time management and confrontation.

    1. Loving the flattery thank you, especially from yourself, a teacher! I’m glad you think I have what it takes, I like that sort of pressure. Thank you as always for reading & commenting on my post. Its always great to hear what you think.

  5. Fantastic post, must be best yet. Although think a few pointers
    – Never mind the toddlers, you can rock any employee back an forth to sleep
    – Supercreme on bottom would be optional and highly dependant on colleague
    – child like paddys are an everyday accurance
    – dressing up like a peacock is a standard requirement up north so shocked you haven’t blende in on this one yet!
    But the one thing I am confused on is … what does ‘part time’ mean?

    1. Wow, best post yet? Thank you. Please let me respond to your rather pertinent comments. I’ve always been inclined to leave the bottoms of fellow colleagues alone. I’ve heard things may get complicated once bottoms are involved.
      As for putting employees to sleep, I think self help CD’s would work better rather than my jiggling.
      Client paddys? Oh yeah, I remember them, along with their short deadlines & diva requirements but hey that’s a customers perogative.
      Dressing up is something I’ve become very accustomed to but just because I’m used to something doesn’t necessarily mean I indulge in it.
      Finally let me explain part time. My current employers have tied me into a tacit agreement that I will always be there for them & I think you should be sensitive to this, after all you have a substantial interest in their company.
      Thank you for taking the time, to read, retweet and comment, I hope I have adequately answered all points addressed.

  6. I honestly believe that for some children a working mum is the inspiration they will need when the time comes for them to work and earn a loving. 3 years at home deserves a medal after 6 weeks of ring a mum decision made I wanted to return to work I hung out for 12 months with Amelia and that same fear you are feeling was there on my first day back. One day back in work with adult company and the challenges work gives us each and every day made me realise that I could do both, I could work while try enjoyed play school and socialise with friends and when I got home tired and in need of some me time that was time sat reading a book, singing a song or just being Mum (I say Just but clearly dont mean it) you will make an amazing working mum and will cherish both. You will find the time to see them grow and do there first in everything and if you are not there then they know dad or nanny or grandad will be and at times they love that its bit mum that it is a different face smiling back at them! Good luck honey I know you can do it and fear will drive you on xxxx

    1. Thank you, very wise words. I’m not a big fan of fear, so you’re right I will do my best to fight it & of course win! Its great to hear you say going back to work was such a positive experience for yourself. Kind of gives me hope. Thank you so much for taking the time to read & write such meaningful comments. x

  7. If only employer could see this post and realise whey mums could be an asset in the workplace.
    Don’t fret – you make the decision to go back and if you decide it is not for you, you can change your mind.
    One day at a time for you and your lovelies.

    1. It’s really good to hear my post came across that way & that employees wouldn’t run a mile! You are right I will give this my best shot but I can still call the shots so if it doesn’t work out for everyone we can always rethink. Thank you very much for taking the time to read comment, I’m very flattered.

  8. Wonderful blog. I struggled to cope with a baby and was terrified of going back to work. The solution for me was to go back to work part time when he was four and a half months old.

    This worked brilliantly for me – I was no longer bored at home struggling to cope with a baby, worrying about returning to work; my son was at an amazing nursery where he was fed healthy food, in a wonderful environment.

    Whilst I was on maternity leave my firm employed a man to do my job who was less qualified than me but on the same salary, so when I returned I asked to work 3 days a week on my full time salary – and they said “yes”.

    They weren’t happy about part time work, so I suggested a job share, which worked really well.

    This meant that I had a few amazing years whilst my son was growing up – I no longer had the fear of returning to work, I had my full time salary, but worked 3 days a week, and I really appreciated my days at home with my son.

    I used to wake up every day thinking “I am so lucky”.

    And for those worrying about returning to work – it’s a doddle compared to looking after a child.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and write such thought provoking comments. Its really good to hear your story and how returning to your job worked out so well. I really appreciate your vote of confidence too because when you’ve spent 3 years singing nursery rhymes, its good to know the work environment may not be as daunting as you think.

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