18 April 2017

Working Mama Life : The Return to Work Edition

Pre-kids I kind of considered myself a bit of a career woman. I graduated University with a Bachelor of Information Technology (with Distinction, because perfectionist) whilst working at the same University progressing through the ranks to eventually be a senior member of a small team supervising three staff. At this stage, I hadn't even pondered having a family as I wasn't one of those people who yearned to have children so I enjoyed the responsibility and wasn't too phased if my work issues came home with me occasionally. We moved to the Sunshine Coast and although I transitioned to the same job/team in a new University, I had essentially demoted myself by applying for a position that I was formerly supervising. At around the same time I found out I was pregnant and it all changed. What initially was a desire to progress and lead in the workplace was the hope to just come in, do my job and leave at the end of the day leaving all stresses and responsibilities in the office. Ned arrived, my maternity leave went way too fast and I returned to work eventually securing a permanent change to my hours to just under 22 hours a week. This allowed me to challenge my brain, take ownership of small projects and mix with a bunch of people who I genuinely enjoyed spending time with whilst also having a decent amount of free time to go to the gym and spend time with Ned. When it came time to leave work again when pregnant with the twins, I'd accrued enough leave to have more than a year off, all paid (most of it at half pay). Today I received an email from my boss letting me know that my return to work date is approaching and I need to formalise my returning arrangements. Wait, what? Didn't I give birth like five minutes ago? Reality is, the girls are ten months old and I'll be returning to work less than a week after their first birthday. Am I excited about it? Not particularly, but I'm also not completely upset about it either. While work means paying others to look after my children, potentially missing big developmental milestones and sacrificing my weekday gym/coffee shop/leisure schedule which I've grown accustomed to, it also means I get to use my natural analytical brain, bring in some additional income, and keep my skills current that I spent years learning and developing. Oh and for this fashion lover, it means I have an excuse to ditch the mum uniform and activewear and frock up a couple of days a week. Admittedly, all I considered initially when thinking about returning to work was money. Would the cost of childcare for three children warrant me working or would we be better financially me not working and staying at home with the kids taking on some additional group fitness classes? Now I'm a little less naive and know there's more to the equation. At this stage I can't predict what my working future will be but I'll be rejoining the workforce as a working mama in about eight weeks. If I can handle twins, surely working will be easy right?

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