Today my mobile office space is our formal lounge room. I’m sitting on the floor, at the coffee table as my boys play in the family room with their Nan-Nan. I have finally come to the realisation that my baby is no longer two months old. He doesn’t sleep peacefully in his bouncy chair or play contently on his play mat whilst I work from the kitchen table. He is 6 months old, he doesn’t stop moving and he is extremely frustrated that he can’t yet chase after his big brother. We call him our wiggly worm. In saying that, it’s absolutely impossible to get any work done when he is awake.
Despite starting solids at five months, which he loves! He is still very much a boob boy and refuses to take the bottle. This makes babysitting arrangements a little tricky. Since Thomas was one, Wednesday’s have always been his day with my mother-in-law and my work day. As of today, my ever accommodating and supportive mother-in-law came to our place to look after both boys. Like the arrangement at Kinder, I’m present but not seen. This time however, it’s my boobs that are needed for comforting rather than me in general.
So far so good, it’s been another win / win situation for all! Nan-Nan is having quality time with both her grandsons. Thomas is having a fun filled day with his Nan-Nan. Jack has the best of both worlds, constant attention from Nan-Nan, his big brother and mummy for milk on tap. And me, I’ve managed to get more work done today in one day, than I have on a Wednesday in the last four months.
My ever-supportive partner, also came to my rescue last week. I had arranged to meet a new client at her home for our first consultation. A mother herself, she suggested that we meet at her place, knowing that it would be easier than a café with a baby. What a great idea, I thought. However, 24 hours later I suddenly had a light bulb moment. Once again, I came to the realisation that I no longer have a newborn who would sleep whist we worked. Thankfully, my partner had a clear work schedule (a rarity!) that morning and suggested that he could look after Jack whilst I met my client for a coffee at a local café. A much better arrangement! My client and I had a very productive, uninterrupted meeting and Jack and daddy had some one-on-one time together. Another win/win!
This week my Mum (or ‘M’ as Thomas calls her) arrives from NSW. The boys and I love nothing more than her visits to Melbourne. A school teacher, she comes down in the school holidays. This means for two weeks Mum will bend over backwards to help in any way that she can and spend as much time with the boys and I as possible. Ensuring that she squeezes all her missed grandparent time into two weeks. On my non-work days, we spend our time together at the park, playing at home or going on special day trips. On my work days, her help too is invaluable. The extra pair of hands means that the boys are in their element, whilst I work away at my computer – with my boobs, once again being readily available when needed!
My working week, like all working Mums wouldn’t be possible without a solid support structure. I’m privileged to speak with a diverse range of working Mums weekly, either within my personal network, through my business or for my blog. Although every situation is different, there is always an evident common theme, the importance of a reliable support network to enable them to return to the workplace. Support comes in all different shapes and forms and is unique to each family; childcare arrangements, grandparents, in-laws, husbands/partners, family members, girlfriends, cleaners and the list goes on…. Each family home has differing circumstances but we all need reliable support to make the juggle of the working week possible. It’s not only having a Plan A but more often a Plan B and C, just in case!
Returning to work after taking time to care for your family can often be a daunting prospect. For many, it is impossible to comprehend how the weekly tasks will all come together. But believe me, they will! Building a reliable and trusted support network will make the transition possible. There are no words to describe how much I love motherhood but I also love my job. I’m forever thankful for my supportive and encouraging partner who has believed in me from the beginning. He has made it possible for me to achieve my dream of starting my own business. However, I would have no business without my fabulous and ever accommodating support network. Thank you to my mother in-law, my mum and of course my partner.
However, I can’t finish this blog without a huge shout out to all of my wonderful supportive girlfriends (Mummies, old friends, new friends, mother’s group..). It is our weekly chats, catch ups and playdates that amongst all the awesome craziness, is a support like no other. More often than not, it’s just a good chat with a girlfriend that provides us with the energy to recharge, reboot and be ready to take on the world!
Life as a working mum is rewardable in every way and it’s our support structures that make it possible.
If you’re ready to return to work and don’t know where to begin do get in touch. I would love to help you embark on your return to work journey and turn your career goals into reality!