Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Working Mum: working away

When I met Tony, he was a social worker doing respite care and my job at that time was covering England. We accepted each others work and spent time together around shifts and travel.
Jobs changed and by the time I was pregnant with Seren Tony was teaching and I was still working away.

Every Monday I would leave at 5am to travel to Norfolk, on a good week I would leave Norfolk on a Wednesday evening and spent the rest of the week working from home. Other weeks I would be fitting in meetings in London and wherever else. I stopped doing this probably at 35 weeks- I have no idea where I found the energy looking back, but it was just the way it was.

When I returned to work after Seren, life had changed. My priorities had changed and the recession had taken hold. We were given additional technology to encourage working from home. I no longer had to be in Norfolk so often and so on average, as things got busy I was travelling a few days a week but overnights were only a few nights a month.

In the run up to the boys I was still staying away but I had cut back on travel, and the likelihood was if I was travelling I needed an overnight for energy conservation.

Since being back at work the same routines are in place. On average I work two days at home for every three days travelling. As I finished for Christmas a potential new project was mentioned, and in the New Year I have been asked to lead on it. I am very excited. I have been working on the same thing since 2006, it is 'my baby'. It was something I was involved in since inception and it is now core business, although it's a constantly evolving 'thing' and keeps me motivated and my brain occupied. But I spoke to my manager before Christmas about how I worry about being too precious of it, in my world my team is small and we are good, we recognise the need to keep getting better so we are not perfect, but perfect because of this recognition.

But, the new project will take me away from this, not entirely but enough. And already it is impacting on my travelling. The next couple of months will be absorbed in developing a proposal that works, and should it be successful it will move to developing systems and processes, and then into delivery. I love the prospect, but I worry about maintaining my precious work life balance.

But the one thing that makes life easier, that makes me wonder how people coped in 'years gone by' is the wonder of MMS I have just come back from two days in London, and these are the photos which I received whilst so many miles away.
I won't include the words which accompanied the texts, but they made me smile.

How much more bearable working away is when you have a mobile phone at your side.

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