Navigating returning to work as a mummy of two has been just as it sounds a journey. I wrote previously about the decision of whether to return to work or not and since then my husband and I have looked at loads of options. We realised pretty quickly that for us it would not work financially if I just stayed at home and did not work at all, but we also wanted so very much to have at least one of us be with our boys as much as possible so we have been trying to look for flexible options and its tough to find anything.
No way back
My previous career is within HR and there was just no way that I would be able to go back to working at my level in that profession without really being full time or at the very least 3 days a week like I was before. I couldn’t go back to my pre mat leave role as I had the option of redundancy and I took it. I just couldn’t face going back there again. The politics alone was driving me potty and frankly after I had my first baby I just did not care about who said what when and who was getting ahead of who. I couldn’t focus on the ridiculous David Brent style management speak it just made me want to giggle. Now I know that some mummies want to go back to their working lives and I say good for them. Everyone should be able to make their own choices, but for me it wasn’t going to be the right choice to go everyday to the city and be stressed and over worked so I needed a new plan!
Launching my own business
I did and do really enjoy the actual HR role though and I love interacting with people so my first return to work was in the form of setting up my own business. It seems that mums everywhere are doing this now (http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/mums-do-the-business-the-number-of-female-entrepreneurs-who-juggle-work-and-looking-after-their-children-is-growing-fast-8846577.html) so I figured why couldn’t I be successful too. So I thought about what I had to offer the world and started to think about the fact that I for years been helping my sister and friends write their CVs, complete job applications and help them prep for interviews. It seemed that I had been helpful. I have worked recruiting people and sifting through CVs for years so I know what recruiters are looking for and so can make that CV fit the bill. I have been selling CVs and interview coaching on my website (CV Righter) and through ebay for about 6 months now and it is going great. I am getting referrals now and more work coaching other mummies who want to go freelance or helping them deal with their return to work and flexible working applications. The best thing about it is that I can work in my own time when it suits me so if I am doing a CV at midnight then that’s fine. My clients just want it to be good they don’t care when I write. So I thought that was it, that’s my future, but then an opportunity came up that I just couldn’t refuse…
I take my kids to baby and toddler swimming classes and have done since they were around 8 weeks old. I have always just loved it. I used to swim as a child competitively and love being in the water. Since my background also includes being a trainer I always kind of thought ‘I could do that’ when I watched the teachers. Then an email dropped into my inbox asking if any of the mummies might be interested in becoming a teacher. Ahhhh! What should I do? It was the perfect idea – flexible hours, term time working, a reasonable salary and fun. We debated it at home repeatedly and just went back and forth as it would mean at least some time away from the boys, but ultimately I really wanted to do it and so off I went on my own little learning journey as part of returning to work. It was so scary learning something totally new. I had exams to pass and had to be away from home at training courses for up to 5 days at a time which put pressure on my husband and family and broke my heart a little bit being away from my babies. It also meant I would need some childcare. I was able to work on a Friday and Saturday so we have had to sacrifice a bit of family time and get a part time nanny, but she is literally perfect and just so wonderful with my boys that she feels like part of the family so I never worry or feel guilty when I leave them with her.
First Day Back After Returning to Work
So finally after all the qualifications and practicing today was my day for returning to work. I spent 5 hours in the water today and taught kids from 8 weeks to 3yrs old and I loved every minute of it. It felt like I was at work for about 10 minutes not 5 hours. Just seeing the little kids smiling and hearing them laugh was enough to know I made the right decision. I am still getting to spend 5 1/2 days per week with my babies and the rest of the time I am with other babies. The best thing is that the role can grow with my family and as the boys go to school I will have all of the holidays to spend with them and for now I can be with them the majority of the time. I can’t really believe that I get paid for doing this job. Of course it has its challenges; kids don’t always do what we want and there can be full lessons of screaming little ones, but mostly they just love it and I love being part of helping little ones learn a vital life skill of swimming. After day one I am exhausted. I feel like I did a few rounds with Mike Tyson to be honest, but I am still excited to go back again tomorrow. So I wonder did I find the perfect mummy returning to work job? I think so…
Shortly after starting this role I discovered I was pregnant with twins!! This meant four under four and ultimately to me giving up baby swimming teaching at least for the immediate future.