Maternity Leave is Over – To Work or Not To Work?

So you’ve had some time off with your baby since he or she emerged into this crazy world during maternity leave. You’re getting the hang of breast feeding, formula feeding, weaning, sleep training, early mornings, teething, dribbling, nappy changing, messy play……..the list goes on. When your bundle of love arrived, not only were you faced with keeping an actual human alive but you learned how to navigate baby groups, coffee shops with a pram and the trauma of that first use of a public changing facility. After the use of many a Dettol wipe of course.

You made it! You got through those first few weeks and months of maternity leave.

You survived. Hey, I’m guessing you did pretty well actually. But let’s not get all cocky now, oh no. Because now you have to face that other looming life question, what about that thing I did before baby – you know, the work thing?

Whether you need to return to work for financial reasons or because it’s a good chunk of what you consider to be your identity. Whether you choose to take a different job for flexibility or say ‘ta ta’ to the world of work entirely, it’s a bloody big decision.

Before I had my son I was working for a large international financial services business. Oh yes, check me out, the ‘career girl’. Kind of. I’m not sure I was ever comfortable with that particular label but for some people it seemed to fit fairly well. The combination of a demanding role, pretty competitive peers and a long commute made me question whether I wanted to stay on that particular treadmill or take a leap of faith and try another one. The subject of me joining the family business had been discussed A LOT! In fact, I’m pretty sure I managed to glaze many a pair of eyes with that particular procrastination. And having a baby it seemed was the push that I needed.

It was in no way an easy decision. When I was unexpectedly signed off work at 34 weeks pregnant, I actually cried. Yep, I really did love my job that much. I didn’t leave because I hated what I was doing. I left because it didn’t quite fit with the person I had become anymore. That and the role I was offered on my return wasn’t entirely game changing, but that’s for another blog post!

What influenced your decisions about ‘the work thing’ post maternity leave? Did you ease back into your previous role or take an alternative route?

I’ll be talking about ‘keeping in touch days’ and my reality of work post maternity leave – what was your experience?

x

The New Tupperware Team Leaders – The Rise of the Mummy Blogger

When reading about the mummy blogger movement which has exploded in recent years, I have heard many references such as ‘the modern Tupperware team leaders’ and I can’t decide whether it amuses me or frustrates me.

Don’t get me wrong, having had past experiences in the world of party planning businesses back in the day, it’s not that I find the comparison derogatory in any way as in fact I earned a nice bit of cash from Virgin Vie (what did happen to them?) thank you very much. It just seems to be a lightly veiled pat on the head kind of comparison. You know ‘Awww, how nice she does that to earn a bit of spending money’. Hmmm, not sure many mummy bloggers start of in this time consuming world for a bit of spending money. Perhaps to pay for the swimming lessons, school trips, holidays etc. Spending money, what’s that??

For me, the rise of the blogging mummy appears to be a sign of something much more significant. That women are creative in stretching their own abilities and are capable of achieving great things. Back in the pre-internet era (anyone below the age of 20 may need to google this historic period in time) women used what resources where available to them to satisfy their entrepreneurial spirit and yes, that included the classic Tupperware parties, Virgin Vie (god bless all who sailed in her) and Anne Summers – is that one still going? The digital world has certainly created more opportunity to no longer be constrained by company structures and direct selling. The digital world is a little more subtle than that in terms of earnings and revenue. The digital world takes creativity, resilience, technical ability and, above all, the passion to create something unique.

I think women have always had a flair for maximising all of the resources available to them in order to create opportunities for ourselves and for our loved ones. But it has moved forward in terms of creating further intellectual challenge. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can create a successful income earning blog. So perhaps the Tupperware comparison is a little tongue in cheek as we are no longer looked down upon and patted on the head. Instead we are looked up to as a force to be reckoned with.

Women everywhere who are burning the midnight oil tap tap tapping away, I salute you! x