We love to empower our students and help start their journey into finding #Workthatworks. Before joining our course, we know many of our Digital Mums struggled to find a healthy work life balance. This is what Anna, one of our amazing students, experienced before recently joining our Social Media Management Course and embarking on a new flexible career. You can read her guest blog below.
I wanted to share my story of my short-lived return to work after my second baby. And despite recently waving goodbye to a job in communications I really enjoyed, I have accepted that a job is just a job and there is (hopefully) another way to combine working and being a mum. And I know everyone has a different set of circumstances and so this is definitely not a case of one option being better than any other. We all have difficult work life balance choices to make. I’ve done all of them – full-time, part-time, staying at home and they are all really tricky! I’ve been suffering from a classic case of trying to have my cake and eat it. Or trying to be a mum and carry on in the job that I did before I had my two kids.
I went back to work full-time nine months ago after my second stretch of maternity leave. I was looking forward to getting back to the office because in between the newborn snuggles, life at home with a baby and a toddler had been really tough. But the problem is you don’t swap one for the other, you just add your job on top of all the responsibility of looking after two small people – even if you spend less physical time with them. So much had changed for me by having two kids but the job and its responsibilities hadn’t.
I had a lightbulb moment when one morning in the usual 7am shoutfest, Martha calmly said to me: ‘Stop shouting at me, Mummy.’ It was then I looked at myself and realised I wasn’t being very nice. The length of my fuse was directly proportional to how exhausted I felt and I mainly took it out on my husband and kids. I put my brave face on at work and tried to smile through all the annoyances- like when the dick in accounts pissed me off. Yet my family got my wrath – because I was exhausted from faking being nice to the idiots in accounts. It suddenly dawned on me that this was most definitely the wrong way round. But sadly, I’d left it a bit late. After the usual teary phone call to my husband after the nursery drop off, he packed me off to see a doctor.
I only came to the realisation that I couldn’t sustain it all after I found myself in the doctor’s surgery being diagnosed with stress and burnout and in danger of tipping into depression. I couldn’t stop crying. I took some time away from work and it was only when I stopped I realised just how unsustainable my pace of life had become. Big changes were needed and so after a lot of thought I quit my job. I’d like to say that thankfully my work and manager were very understanding and we looked at part-time options but there were just too many hurdles to make it work.
Like many mums, I cannot afford to simply not work and was forced into reassessing everything. Freeing up some of the childcare costs instantly gave me the freedom to look at work that I can fit around the kids.
I’m glad I tried to return to my job but for now I’m not trying to carry on my work life as if I didn’t have kids. Because things have changed. I have changed. I can bark a lot but I have also softened. And so I am no longer going to try the fit the square peg of my old job into the round hole of my new life. I’m going to adapt and let my career change with me.
I recently enrolled on the course to finally find #Workthatworks. I was so excited to start the training as a freelance Social Media Manager! The course has been fantastic so far (I’m currently about two thirds of the way through) and it’s great to be learning again. The best bit is the help and support you get from your peer group – our whatsapp group is very active. It reminds me of my NCT group in the early days - polite conversation and staying on task at first but now we all know each other very well and anything goes! I hope they will be lifelong friends and I’m sure we will all be a huge help to each other as we begin our new careers – exciting times ahead!
Places for our Social Media Management Course are now filled for this year and are our next cohort will start in January 2018. However there are places available for our new adapted version of our Social Media Management Course, specifically for mums working full-time (or those of you that don't have the time to fit in 15 hours of intense learning per week) which will start in November. Simply click here to book in an informal chat with our Admissions Team and find out more.