Saturday, 12 July 2014

All Change on The Work Front

It's been a bit quiet around here of late, there's been a lot happening in my Real World which has been taking up a lot of my time and energy, so that when I do have a minute to catch my breath I can't summon the energy to do anything that requires any brainpower

The transition to motherhood has been quite a rollercoaster and it's affected me in many ways, some expected and some not so expected. The most unexpected effect has been the difficulty I'm finding in being away from Forrest for any length of time. That appears to be getting worse rather than better and it's something I need to work on for both our sakes

Another has been the physical discomfort I'm still experiencing. Despite being told that SPD spontaneously resolves after the birth in 99% of cases, I'm still experiencing symptoms (I know, I should definitely have guessed that I would fall into that awkward 1% - I bet you did) and the pain in my coccyx from the birth is still there, meaning that I have to be very careful about what I do and how I do it

These two things were pretty crucial in my decision-making process when it came to going back to work. My employer had agreed to let me work three days a week, which was great. The nature of the job though and the volume of work meant that those three days were likely to contain five days work in reality and would involve early mornings and late nights plus lots of travelling and overnight stays. Not ideal when you struggle to drive any distance and can't bear to be away from your baby

My return to work was hanging over me like a storm cloud, silently stealing up on me, getting inexorably closer and I started to feel sick and teary every time I thought about it. We discussed childcare, looked at nannies and nurseries, worked out the finances and logistics but my feeling of unease grew. I realised that it was ruining my maternity leave, the precious time I did have with Forrest because I was constantly worrying about the ins and outs of being a working mum. How would I cope with asking for time off from such a high pressure job because my son was ill? I'd been one of the people who'd joined in with lambasting those women - if someone had cancelled a meeting with me because their child was ill then they wouldn't get a second chance. I know it's wrong but in the world of business those attitudes do exist - I inherited mine from my boss but they exist because everyone is under pressure to perform and it's cut-throat out there. I always felt bad that it affected mostly women and not men but like it or not, that's the way it still is, and I had a department to run, targets to meet and a board to answer to

I discussed it at length with Matt and we decided that the best result for us as a family would be for me to become a part of his expanding business. I could work flexible hours, bring work home if I needed to and have time off to be with Forrest if he was ill. So now Forrest goes to nursery for two afternoons a week. On those days Matt collects him and takes him home, gives him his tea and bath and puts him to bed while I work on until late. It's only been a couple of weeks but it's working brilliantly so far 

It has meant that I'm having to learn a completely new skill set but I'm loving it! I'm really feeling the benefit of less travelling too, I used to have a new company car every 10,000 miles and I was changing cars three or four times per year - that's an awful lot of driving. These days it takes me ten minutes to get to work and Forrest's nursery is only five minutes up the road so drop offs are quick and easy and I'm always on hand if there's a problem

There will be things I'll miss about my old job of course - I'm far less important at work than I used to be for a start! I worked for an FT250 company, a multi national plc, it goes without saying that there were great perks as well as the stress and pressure. I'll miss the good bits of course but I'm a different person now, with different priorities and I'm just not the best person for that role anymore. My qualifications and transferrable skills will stand me in good stead and eight years with my employer will look fantastic on my CV should I ever want to return to my old career. And I'm grateful - I had eight great years with that company and I got a lot out of it

But now I'm focussing on my two new jobs - being a good mum and being part of what is now the family business!


  1. Best of luck, Rachel. I'm glad you've been able to find something which means you have the flexibility and time to be with Forrest.

    Having made a similar change for other reasons I would say the one aspect which might be harder than expected is the decrease in 'importance' from other people's eyes. It's silly but I found it bothered me a lot at first as I had spent a lot of time defining myself by my academic/work life.

    I hope it goes well for you all x

  2. So happy that you have found something that works for you and your family :)

  3. What an interesting post Rachael, several people on my team went off on maternity last year and are slowly coming back, it is interesting to see how everyone reacts differently. You sound like you've found a perfect solution, and having Forrest near and you happy seems like a win-win to me! I hope it all works out m'dear x

  4. Hey Rachael - I don't know what your background is but I'm guessing from the "Bookkeeping for Dummies" it wasn't accountancy - if you are doing more of that now and ever need a hand or a question answering or anything at all, drop me a line and I'm happy to help :) Menekse x

  5. Good luck with your new venture! I'm glad you found something that works. x


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