Working part time means different things to different people.
For some it is the ultimate work-life balance and allows more free time. However, for working mothers “part time” refers to “the part of your life that you get paid for” and for some this implies that the rest of the time you are sitting around having coffee, catching up with friends and relaxing.
As a mum, I know that is so far from the truth it’s comical. It can be hard when you describe to someone else what you do during the day and you can see them thinking “all right for some”, “nice life”, “coffee, play dates, how easy”. And yet, the reality of it can be far from this.
As a part time employee and full time mum, you are the ultimate multitasker – you are a professional, a manager, a decision maker, a home maker, a carer, an organiser, a cook, a cleaner, a financial controller, a peace maker…and I could go on! All of these roles and all of these jobs need to be fitted into the 24 hours you have. For me when I went back to work after having my children, the easy bit was actually being a vet!
Some colleagues thought that I’m joking when I said that going to work was the easy bit of my week for me. It was the part where I could think, do something for myself, for my career and not be at the constant demand of a small child!
I have several actual jobs – I am a mother, I am a vet, I am a coach and mentor, I am a trainer, I am a speaker and I run a holiday cottage. I love all my jobs but for me the most important is being a mother to my two precious children. However, I wouldn’t be able to do that without having the other jobs I have too.
Working part time as a vet gave me back “my time” and freedom to think; something I never appreciated until I had the children and returned to work. By working, it gave me a break from the children, and them from me. It may be a well-worn phrase but for me it’s true “working makes me a better mother”. I have more patience with them when I know that I have done something for myself, used my brain and interacted with adults.
Some may think it selfish but it’s really important to find the balance that works for you and makes your life work for you and your family.
So, what do you want to get out of returning to work?
Is it just to pay the bills?
Or to provide a purposeful contribution to society?
Over the past few years, I have asked myself many questions and done a lot of soul searching. At times, the balance hasn’t been right. At times, I have been lost to know exactly what it is from being a mum and having a career, but now I am much clearer what my needs are and how those needs can be fulfilled.
It’s important to know what it is you want to get from returning to work so you can make your new role in your career and as a mum work for you.
If you are looking for help identifying where your priorities lie, how you can make your career and your life work together then please contact me at email@example.com – I would love to hear from you.