I was at a social media training event this week. I got chatting to some great people over lunch, including an inspirational business woman who runs an award-winning franchise and another lovely lady with a pretty high-powered marketing job.
We are all Mums and were comparing notes around the usual day-to-day headaches of working around the children, such as childcare and feeling that we weren’t spending enough time with them.
It’s all too easy in this situation, we all agreed, to hit yourself with the big guilt stick about all the things you don’t do with your children when you are working and the gaps you feel you ought to be filling.
But there are some real positives, aren’t there? The financial one is taken as a necessity these days. My franchisor companion explained that Mums used to buy into her franchise in order to provide handy additional income – whereas more and more mums now are turning to opportunities like this to provide them with a real replacement to employment in the traditional sense, but one that fits around the children.
For me, a major advantage of working – particularly as I’m my own boss, comes from the huge boost to my self-esteem it gives me – I feel like I am a ‘real person’ again! I always knew that the job I already had (and will always have, let’s be honest!) in being a Mum (especially one to 6 gorgeous kiddies!) is the most important one in the world, but it gives me such a lift to be able to talk to people about the other side of my identity too!
I will probably always question whether I’ve got the balance right or not and over the past few weeks when it’s been hugely busy and I’ve been up till silly o’clock most nights and not touched the housework, it definitely isn’t! These are usually the days when I really miss the time I had when I was full-time Mum and all I had to worry about that day was entertaining and feeding my little ones and sorting out their schedules!
I don’t want my children to feel that they come lower down the priority list than my work, but equally I am really glad to be able to give them a self-employed Mum as a role model. That was one plus side to working that my lunch companions hadn’t thought of but did agree was a big one! I also get a huge buzz from meeting new people and learning new things (a given in the world of social media – it never stands still!) Feeding that buzz and energy back into the family, I believe, lifts the energy of the whole household!
Although I might miss the time freedom of being a full-time Mum, I used to hate the feeling that my 14 year-old daughter was just launching out on life’s great journey (with the others following quicker than I might like) whereas I wasn’t going anywhere. I can’t remember the last time I felt that now!!
I suppose I am questioning my positioning on this more than I normally would as my little lad is starting school after Easter (I delayed the start as he is a young 4 and school were happy to accommodate this.) I am absolutely dreading it as I will miss him and the special times I have had with him so much and I know that it will be nigh on impossible to replicate this time once he is at school. He is such a dear little chap, loving his art and crafts and playing and I just hugely regret the times I’ve snapped at him ‘in a minute’ so that I can just go and do something else, or the times I’ve happily let him watch TV so I could do a bit of work when I could have been spending such happy times with him. How I wish I could turn the clock back and have that time with him again!
Instead, I just have to cling to all the beliefs I’ve written about here to prop me up a bit. Not sure how good a job they’ll do at the school gate on that first day, but I’ll let you know!
What are the biggest pluses for you in being a working Mum?