Work Life Balance Conundrum

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I’ve just started doing some freelance work. I don’t have any childcare in place as the cost for three kids doesn’t make it viable, so it’s a question of fitting in work around nap times, in the evenings and at weekends. Am I mad? Quite possibly. Will it make for a good work life balance? Only time will tell…

Work life balance

I love spending lots of time with my children and there are lots of laughs.

Work Life Balance

The work life balance is always a bit of a conundrum. When Sofia was six weeks old I started to work part-time from home. I was intending to start doing this 10 weeks into my maternity leave as statutory maternity pay wasn’t particularly appealing. With no one covering my leave, I felt compelled to check emails and once I started doing this I got involved and then thought that I might as well be paid for my efforts.

Newborns sleep quite a bit, so I was able to get a lot of work done in this time. However, being a new mum, trying to keep some semblance of a tidy house and doing work, was pretty stressful. I was going to mother and baby groups in the morning, rushing home to reply to the most urgent emails, and then rushing back out again for an afternoon activity. Armed with my Blackberry, I was ‘always on’ and constantly waiting for a red blinking light, which signalled another email.

When Sofia was approaching one I was very fortunate to be offered my job back part-time; going into the office two days a week and essentially working from home half a day. I LOVED this set up. For me, this was the perfect work/mum balance. I loved the banter with my old work colleagues and talking about topics other than the children. I even enjoyed the commute as I had an hour of uninterrupted time where I could read a magazine or listen to music. On the three days I wasn’t in the office, I had real quality time with Sofia and spread my half-day working from home across the evenings and nap times.

When the twins came along, I knew that working – even part-time – was no longer viable. I totally immersed myself in motherhood and no longer checked my phone obsessively for emails. It was liberating to not be mentally drafting a work email whilst at a children’s group or planning a press release at a play date. I totally embraced and loved this lifestyle change and really let go.

Work life balance

My working from home pose.

However, the twins are now 22-months, and I have found myself craving something more mentally stimulating to go alongside going to groups, washing, cleaning, cooking and more cleaning. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the fun and laughter we have and I certainly wouldn’t want to work full-time, but I’ve had the feeling that I need an additional challenge and – dare I say it – I’ve been missing work. Blogging has been a great channel since I started writing for TalkMum in November of last year; that inspired me to start this blog in January of this year.

Last week an accommodation company, after speaking to a number of other people, asked me to do its PR. That made me feel good.

Who needs sleep anyway?

Work life balance

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About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.

4 Comments

  1. Hi. Lovely post. I work from home too and it is so difficult to keep the balance between being a mum and working when you are at home all the time. My work is full time but thankfully it is quite flexible and I can compensate the non working times in the evenings. It is getting easier as my son is growing (he is 2.5 yrs old now) as now he can entertain himself so I can do more work than I could when he was younger and needed my constant attention. I sometimes wish I didn’t have to work so I could be a full time mum but then I guess as you say there will come a time where you will need a challenge and miss talking to other people about topics not necessarily related to children.

    • Thanks for your comment. I think people mistakenly believe that working from home is the ‘easy option’. I think it’s more difficult. I was only part-time from home with my first daughter and found that I wanted to do everything – take my daughter out all the time to do things, but also do my job well. It’s a challenge! It’s good that your work is quite flexible.

    • I found it was much easier when my daughter was under one. She slept a lot as newborns do. As soon as they enter the toddler stage and need a lot of entertaining it gets very tricky.

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