Friday, 27 April 2012

A tale of two halves: the story of the working mum

I feel like I am ranting a lot lately... but if I can't do it here...

I am really proud of my work achievements this week.
Since January I have been working on a new project, and since February we knew our deadline was April 26th.

Government announced in the run up to Christmas a new fund.
I told my manager in my end-of-year review that I needed something new to challenge me.
The twain met.

Of course, government delayed the prospectus going live, and then delayed the release of the application form and guidance. And of course the date to submit proposals stayed the same.

We have been running workshops with construction employers, who now seem more or less agreed that I should have a NVQ in Herding Cats (I don't think they've twigged they're referring to themselves).
We've gone from a room full of people thinking this is impossible due to commercial sensitivities, to a proposal being submitted as a collective.
We ensured all of our directors are committed to what we were doing, and have approved each aspect of the proposal.

We met the deadline.
At 23.30 on Thursday 26th April 2012 we submitted our proposal (the deadline was midnight).
We had ten major companies collaborating, federations working together, 5 SMEs are raring to go, and the Union are on board.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have achieved something worthwhile.

The flip side- I have had more overnights with work this year than I have in a very long time. They have been worthwhile from a work perspective. I have missed my husband and children far too much.
It has put unbearable pressure on my marriage- end off.
This week, I finished work at midnight Sunday, 1am Monday, midnight Tuesday, 2am Wednesday and 23.30 Thursday.
I feel guilty because I could not bring myself to work today.
I could not bring myself to work today because I don't see why I should spent my weekend catching up on my sleep, missing out on my oh-so valuable family time because I have exhausted myself due to my work hours.

Next week I go back to my day job. A day job I have neglected for four months. A team, that despite my efforts not to neglect, are stale and bored.
Despite thinking the pressure was on getting to April 26th, the truth is I now have to catch up on four months work... in probably less than a month, if my team are not to completely lose motivation.

And then there is of course, the next consideration. If our proposal is successful, can I manage it?

If I were to manage it I think it would be a secondment.
I already have an 18mth secondment, and 2 six-month maternity leaves under my belt. I know how painful it is to go back to a job someone has been trying to cover in absence. Why would I want to do this again?
Because it's a fantastic proposal!
But it's highly unlikely to be a promotion. So why go through the pain?

I feel a bittersweet end to the last four months.
The sense of achievement from submitting the proposal is tinged.
The guilt of working rather than spending time with family is so impossible to describe.

And, this is me, this is our life.

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