Thursday, 31 January 2013

The benefits of my job- Life as a working mum

In the past year, Since returning to work after the boys, I've only really disliked my job.

Disliked it from the perspective of it being a full time job, it takes me away from my children, and with the thought of sticking with three children, that I am now working till I'm very old and grey.

For all of the things I dislike about my job, having explored job opportunities for the last couple of months I have come to realise I'm more lucky than I think, and as a result (even if they don't appreciate it) my family do get a bit of a better deal.

Why? Well, of course, let's make a list!

I don't work 9 till 5
If I managed to get a job in our nearest city, no doubt I'd be setting off for work at 0730 and getting home at 1900. 
Yes, admittedly at least once a week I leave for work at 0545 and get home at 1900 the following day.
But that means I usually get to see my children three days a week.
If I got myself a 9 till 5 job I'd probably never see my children given they don't wake till 0830 and the boys are asleep by just gone seven.

I still have a bit of a say over my diary when organising meetings. 
At the moment we have a lot more support in the first part of the week, so I try to organise my time away to sync with this. It works most of the time and this helps.

I get to work from home
I don't have a base office to report into. On the days I work from home it means I get to see Squeaks off to pre-school or playschool, and am here when she gets home. 
It also means, whilst the boys still nap for a few hours in the afternoon that Mr J can pop out for a game of squash and no-one is any the wiser.
I get to see my children in the daytime which is a huge plus.

It is a good salary given the above
In addition to all of those advantages, I do get paid enough that we can (most months) afford a stay at home parent. There are still things we could do better on budget wise, so am fortunate that we still have some leeway.

I do get additional benefits
Linked to the above, work have introduced a flexible benefits package, which means we qualify for childcare vouchers. This means Mr J gets some respite on a weekly basis.

Pareto's Principle
I couldn't have done this much study and not brought academia into the mix. So, I follow the  80:20 rule.
Although technically the rule means I should be focusing on the 20%.
In my case I love 80% of my job. And yes, the 20% I do focus on because I find it unbearable.
But if I love 80% of my job that can't be all bad.

Flexible working
Whilst few have prevailed, the organisation does have a flexible working policy. I hope that as the children get older this gives me flexibility to do the school runs given we live close to the primary school.

Holidays and weekends
I spent seven years working for Bhs. You had to work every other Saturday, every few Sundays, Bank Holidays, and you could choose whether to have Christmas or New Year off... and chances were if you chose Christmas you'd end up getting called in over the New Year as someone had developed a mystery illness.
Fortunately, I only work at the weekend if I think I am falling behind, I can choose when I want to have holidays, and Bank Holidays are a day off.

12 years service
Oh how the 80% resents this. I so can't believe this bit.
But that 20%, well, with long service comes increased holiday allowances.
And so, in years to come (because I may as well give up all hope of leaving) I will be able to run away to a gite in France for three weeks every summer. (I've thought this one through, the gites are reasonably priced, the travel will be unbearable, two weeks would not be long enough to get it out of our heads, so three weeks it is, and this way the remainder of the summer holidays may go swiftly.

I get to work in London
I do try to work things that rather than travelling all over as much as possible is co-ordinated in London. Whilst for many years I loved to drive, I have learned that driving does tire me. And I can travel by train and get work done, and get tired. But at least the work isn't waiting for me.
I don't make as much as I should when working in London, it was on my '13 in 13' and is one I must do better to appreciate.

And without even knowing it, of course, I've got my top 10.

And so, this is my post, of optimism, for all those days the job gets the most of me, for all of those days I feel like I'm the worst parent, and for those days when my family don't like me for working away.

This is me saying, my job is better than most, my job allows the lifestyle we have chosen for our family.
And if we can hold tight on this bumpy ride... we'll get there, wherever there is, in one piece.


  1. Working full-time and having to leave your babies at home is rubbish, although I do envy those that do on an almost daily basis. Just to say, from the perspective of the stay-at-home parent that we do appreciate all that the breadwinner does. My OH works crap shifts, and puts his life on the line every day, but the money he earns for us all keeps us all secure. I know he has crap days where he'd rather not go in, but he does. And we all love him. As I know all your children do you.

    1. Thank you. It's such a difficult one to get a balance which allows you to think you're doing the best- still in search of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

  2. You seem very at ease with your working life and that's such a great yet rare thing these days, especially for working parents. I work from home so my hours are made up whenever I need to work. Some days I don't do much and other days I never stop. There is a balance to be had and you're lucky if you have it.

    CJ x

    1. It's taken a long time to accept, but I think it's better to accept it than to resent it (too much energy can be spent resenting things). x


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