Motherhood comes in many forms and it looks different at every stage. We asked the mums of TTC to share the lessons they’ve learned about finding the happy balance between parenthood while building a rewarding career.
All the Cuddles: The Upside of Being a Working Mum
It seems no matter how old your kids are, there’s one common upside of being a working mum: the cuddles at the end of the workday. When asked about the best part of being a working mum, many of us from the team said:
“The big exciting cuddles you get when arriving home from work”, says our founder Alice.
As our Engagement Manager/ fur mum Jem puts beautifully, “There are so many things that I love about life as a working fur mum! But the best part is just being around something that adores you and thinks the world of you, she follows me everywhere when I’m working from home and just wants to cuddle. Peaches never fails to cheer me up and often tries to comfort me when I’m missing home, feeling overwhelmed, or had a bad day”.
For most of us, the cuddles at the end of the day are priceless but so is the mental stimulation you get from interacting with your peers and clients. It’s a great way to maintain a sense of self. For Karen, our newest member of the dream team, being a working mum means that she does more than just “mum” things: “I want the boys to know that mums don’t just stay home and look after them”. Same goes for our Engagement Manager Jodie, who has a tween and teen: “It’s great to be able to use very different parts of your brain and remember those separate parts of yourself that existed before kids”. Tamsin, our Engagement Manager echoes the same sentiment: “You really appreciate both parts of your life – after a crazy morning getting everyone ready for school, I love sitting down at my desk and working with lots of great adults. Then at the end of the day, I’m so excited to see the girls again and hear about what’s been happening in their day”.
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): The Biggest Challenge
I’m sure many of you reading this can relate – the biggest challenges working mums face is not having enough time to spend with children. And that ultimately leads to the delicate dance between prioritising work and sometimes missing out on the little milestones:
“It’s missing out on the little moments, like first words or even school dropoffs. It’s also very hard to switch off”, says Karen, our Training Consultant, and mum of three boys under eight.
One of our new mums and Engagement Manager, Stacey, has fully embraced the best of both parenthood and a career. Although she admits that she sometimes feels the guilt and sadness of potentially missing those ever so important first milestones…first steps, first word.
For Alice, allocating time between work and family can be a tough balance: “It’s feeling guilty that you either aren’t spending enough time at work or aren’t spending enough time with your child(ren)”.
From babies and toddlers to tweens and teens and young adults, every mum is tasked with finding more hours in a day, regardless of what stage of motherhood they’re in. For our Office Manager Adrianne, the biggest challenge working mothers face is still: “Juggling all the hours and being 100% available for everything and everyone”. Engagement Manager Jodie agrees: “Once I switch off work, I switch on the mum to-do list that seems never-ending”.
For mums with furry children, the challenges are not dissimilar. It’s about the challenge of allocating enough time at work and at home: “I’ve had to adjust to being comfortable with leaving Peaches for a few hours on her own at home. I have recently begun to go into the office more frequently and I can’t help feel guilty that I’m leaving her, (even though I’m 99% sure she sleeps for most of the day”, says our Engagement/Change Manager, Jem.
Shortcuts and Cheats for the Working Mum
- Have dedicated workdays and dedicated play days
- Do the washing in 5 stages: wash, dry, put in a pile, fold, put away
- Use nap time to catch up on emails and other work-related tasks
- Prep meals in advance
- Say ‘yes’ to help from family and friends
- Set weekends as ‘family days’
- Serve store-bought bolognese without the guilt
- Making the kids responsible for things (it makes them more confident and independent and reduces your to-do list at the same time)
- Having a shared family calendar and being super organised is the only way. Alternatively, having a live-in nanny, housekeeper, chauffeur, chef, gardener and a personal assistant would help too!
- Stick to this: If it’s not in the calendar/task list, it doesn’t exist!
Best Advice About Juggling Motherhood and a Career
- Be sure to find time for yourself (e.g. exercise, massage, catch up with friends)
- Say YES to help: Make friends with your neighbors! You’d be surprised by their willingness to baby/puppy sit
- One for new fur mums: Dogs are resilient and will be absolutely fine without you. You’ve already done so much for your dog to make sure they are happy, safe, and really loved
- Forget the mother guilt, it’s the quality of time you have with your kids, not the quantity!
- Every family and their circumstances are very different so try and focus on what works best for you and your family.
Finding that happy medium between work and family is possible with the support you get – from both the office, your partner, and your family. I call myself lucky to have colleagues that remind me to take it easy, a partner who gives me time, and family who will listen to me vent when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. What’s helped you find that fine balance?