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High earning mothers

(686 Posts)
ClarissaG Sun 26-Jan-14 17:29:54

I'm interested to start a discussion group for Mums and Mums to be who are juggling (or planning to juggle) a high flying career and motherhood. I loath to use the term 'Power Mums', but those who earn enough (£100k plus) to afford a team of help, but have the kind of pressures and working hour expectations that that level of salary brings.

I read the Mumsnet Guest blog with interest (http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_blogs/1977242-Why-is-society-so-unsupportive-of-high-achieving-power-mums) but the comments less so.

Is there scope for a supportive group for such Mums with practical ideas, experiences and thoughts rather than judgement about whether we can 'have it all'?

I am mid thirties, a VC, 12 weeks pregnant and have not yet told my fellow partners. I want it all but have no idea if that is realistic or how my future is going to pan out!

LauraBridges Sun 26-Jan-14 19:05:07

I think we would be done in by other women who stay at home or work part time or earn a lot less than that if we tried to debate it but I would be interested to see if that happened.

My children are teenagers are older. If you are 12 weeks pregnant - firs congratulations. I told no one at work until 5 months (it did not show in my case) as I felt it was private and my business and wanted no fuss made at all. I was also lucky never to be ill when pregnant and worked until I went into labour. (My two oldest work in the City by the way so we have a finished product - children of full time working mother who turned out, in my view, very well as indeed so children of full time working fathers of course - it's pretty gender neutral).

I used to go to City of London working mothers group at lunch times once a month when the children were little. It was helpful because they were similar mothers to me. Now we have the internet which is even more helpful. I was on the radio this week talking about some of these issues and it was a bit sad because 15 years ago I was on the radio talking abaout similar issues and we still seem to think children have one parent only who has anything much to do with them - the mother whereas the reality is that all over the City are men and women between them working full time and fairly sharing their responsibilities.

The first thing to sort out is the husband if there is one, the understanding that he may well be advertising for and interviewing nannies and you will each be taking it in turns to get home first rather than just because you're female you are responisble for babies and home.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 26-Jan-14 19:42:11

High earning single parent mums - now we are an alien species or at least that's how we are often made to feel. The number of times I hear 'oh I just don't now how you do it' - because I bloody have to.

LauraBridges Sun 26-Jan-14 21:46:25

I am not so sure but I am one. I've been both, long marriage, single parent. Some women have to stay married as they earn nothing and are tied to the meal ticket. If you earn a lot you may have more choices to do what is right for you and your children so it's a win win situation.

I always think that comment made when I was married and when i was single was rather sexist - how do you do it? I do it the same way as a man would do it. We all have children and cleaning and houses and shopping and work to do. The suggestion it is harder for women is fundamentally sexist. If you are in a relationship when men and women pull equal weight - the kind brighter women tend to ensure they choose then it's no harder on the man than the woman.

WytebordMarker Sun 26-Jan-14 22:28:43

hello! This thread gives me hope. I am in my 20s, have a very demanding job in the financial industry. Since I have no female colleague who has a kid and work full time, it seems impossible to be a mum and have a career.
Sometimes I wonder if it would only work if career women like us continue to work crazy hours, save up a lot, retire early in order to have a kid.

Please do share how you juggle between the two. smile

Blankiefan Mon 27-Jan-14 07:11:56

I'd be interested in this. I've recently had my daughter and have hit a bit of a dead end when looking for advice on some work / pregnancy / motherhood related questions. Things like - how to prepare to tell the board about the pregnancy (I now know how not to...!); how to balance Mat Leave with Keeping in Touch; etc.

Had anyone found any decent sources of material on pregnancy/motherhood from a primarily-work focused position (books/etc)? Everything I've read is well-intentioned but is very defensive / focused on protecting rights rather than career (classic example - "don't do KIT days as it'll hit your SMP" rather than advice on how to retain a decent element of ownership on your business when key decisions are being made in your absence...)

ClarissaG Mon 27-Jan-14 07:54:04

Great to hear from everyone. Thanks Laura, and I wondered the same - how well this would go down on a public forum, but we will see. The population is very varied, everyone should respect that (in theory!).

It would be interesting to hear about the offline, City of London groups if they still exist.

Blankiefan, I've found nothing either. I would love to hear how not to tell the Board. I sit on 6 (only female on all of them) and need to tell them in the next few months. I intend to work right up to my due date but really don't know if this is realistic? Thoughts? Already I feel like I will loose credibility waddling in 8 months pregnant. Ridiculous, but they can be a sexist bunch (albeit unintentional) at the best of times.

I need to give everyone an expectation of when I will be returning to work. Due date is August, a dead time for deals so quite well planned! Luckily I can work from home a lot and even now I only need to be in London 2 days a week. I know everyone is different but I would love to hear from mothers with experience, is a month off post birth realistic? I am thinking of returning officially 3 days per week to give me breathing space, but I expect I'll end up working nearly full time (under promise, over deliver is my theory). I was considering a nanny for 3 working days a week, and all other household help is already taken care of.

Is there is constant feeling of guilt that someone else is bringing up your child?

I am a partner in a small and new VC so not an employee as such and there no rules on maternity leave, pay etc. We are going to have to sit down and decide the sensible thing rather than refer to contracts.

My husband is extremely supportive and will pull equal weight. He is also self employed and works from home a lot, but not in a sense where he can also child mind.

Far too many questions, sorry, but I am an empty font of knowledge on this subject. All my friends with babies have given up work altogether, they are great and I love them, but they won't be very helpful!

LauraBridges Mon 27-Jan-14 09:08:10

Clarissa, I never felt guilt at all. You should feel no more guilt than if your husband carries on working. If you have children and work if you are a man or woman you bring up your children just as much as you bring them up as a stay at home parent when the children are at full time school. Just because they have a nanny some of the day does not mean their father and mother are not bringing them up.

As for how long to work I went on until I went into labour. First labours often last 20 hours plus (mine did) so there was no problem or rush. Only one started in working hours and I just went home, even cycled from the tube station actually (although I am not saying that is best practice).
With the twins I was still commuting in at 39 weeks. You're not ill. In fact I felt most ill in the first 3 months (sick) when no one knows you are pregnant than later.

Then you need to decide what time to take off. I am not typical as I took 2 weeks but the main thing is that you let employers know. Do be aware that going back part time can give you the worst of all worlds, taken less seriously at work, husband thinks you are the main childcarer so more sexist roles at home and less pay and you do full time hours anyway and child confused by the different days rather than secure and stable by the same pattern every day but entirely up to you and your husband - he might want to work part time and you full. The couple need to decide.

For my twins I worked for myself. I took business calls the next day after the birth actually - not hard at all, in fact much easier as I was self employed by then. I could work from home more then by email which worked fine - our nanny brought them in to me to breastfeed.

However you and your husband have to take your own decisions of what is right for you. Also I know half opf mumsnet will shoot me for saying this but being at home all day with a small baby is pretty boring domestic work, clearing up sick, changing endless nappies, washing machine on 3 times a day etc etc. Being at work all day and then home with the baby for us both worked as the best combination although we did both rush home and that can have a career implication. one of us was home by 6 every day when the nanny stopped and that was fine for me.

Yes, a month off post birth is realistic. We hired our daily nanny when I was still pregnant and she knew her starting date was doing to be 2 weeks after the first baby came,. I suppose had the baby been early that might have been a bit uncertain for her but it worked fine. We never had anyone living in (no spare bedroom and didn't like the idea, like privacy etc).

A lot of women on mumsnet will describe being ill after having a baby. I was never ill so going back fast was fine. With baby 3 I think I took 5 weeks and that was in a summer holiday time - that was the longest. I genuinely believe it's easier back at work in terms of physical recovery than at home once you have another child already as looking after a baby, toddler and 4 year old without help is very hard physical constant work when you've just given birth, whereas a rest on the tube and then sitting in an office on the phone is much better for physical recovery too, not that I had any complications, no C sections. I did express breastmilk at work using a battery operated breastpump but I doubt anyone knew I was doing it. With the twins i was based at home and working for myself except when in meetings so instead just had them brought to me to feed which was certainly easier and nicer. Whether you breastfeed or not of course is up to you.

There is a nice book by Valerie Grove on amazon from years ago when she interviewed women who were successful and with large families which I found very encouragingb at the time. It probably costs 1p now.www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/0701208260/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1_olp?ie=UTF8&qid=1390813641&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=the+complete+woman+valerie+grove&condition=used

I should read "Lean In" too but I've leant in and have teenagers now and it's all worked perfectly so haven't read it so far.

noviceoftheday Mon 27-Jan-14 09:46:27

Many congratulations Clarissa!

Both times, I told fellow senior colleagues at 3 months and then staff and clients at 5 months when I started to show.

I went into the office until 37 weeks with both pregnancies. First dc I stopped then and just did occasional checking of emails to ensure smooth handover. Second, I stopped at 39 weeks and 5 days went into labour at 40 weeksgrin.

In terms of how long to take, personally, I wouldn't put pressure on myself by committing a month. I went back part time at 17 weeks both times and returned to full time at 16 months. I felt much more settled as a mother by then. Also each time I had 3rd degree tears and couldn't move without pain for 6 weeks.

With a nanny, go for one with a lot of experience with babies you will just be less anxious and also one that's prepared to do more than is rigidly their role. Eg my nanny cooks for whole family now and leaves the kitchen spotless each day.

In terms of juggling, my advice is outsource and pay well including Christmas bonuses and birthday presents etc. people will go the extra mile for you if they feel appreciated and you will need it!

ClarissaG Wed 29-Jan-14 07:53:08

Hi, apologies for the slow reply, I've not had much time the last few days to dip into the posts.

Laura and novice, thank you both so much for taking the time to write about your experiences, I know everyone is different but I can't tell you how helpful it's been. I know what is possible now, so just have to predict what will be best for me, my career and my husband and baby (not sure which order all of those should be in!). I've ordered the book too.

Hope the tread stays open, must be many people in similar situations.

Thanks again,
C.

I earn nowhere near what you all do, but our family life is just like those on here - DH and I are totally equal in our care of DD, housework and other such stuff. My work is on a manic shift rotation and he is often the one doing pick ups, tea, bathtime etc.

I also feel no guilt at leaving dd with a (frankly amazing CM) while dh and I are both at work, and sometimes feel like a pariah amongst friends who constantly lament the trauma of leaving their dcs in childcare for even two/three days pw.

Sorry I wont be able to contribute too mich to this thread but am pleased to see working mothers out there who have a similar traon of thought to me.

ClarissaG Wed 29-Jan-14 08:49:42

Hi 'Ken Adams'(!) - good to hear from you. I have this thing in my head that I will feel guilty about someone else looking after the baby, so its great to hear that you feel no guilt either. I guess I have to remember there are millions of people out there, regardless of circumstances, who don;t look after their children day in day out. I have a false perspective as that's what all my friends do, and probably what my family and in laws expect me to do!

LauraBridges Wed 29-Jan-14 08:52:33

MyN, I am sure you can as lots of the issues are identical whatever you earn, as a parent with children. In fact most parents who do well at work seem the ones able not to feel guilty either about not doing their work well enough or their families, spouses, hobbies. Those who can make sure they do a good enough job at home and at work tend to be happier. it is a sort of robust internal contentment perhaps and I would say stoicism also helps in life whatever you earn and whatever you do - internal strength. In fact I think that is just as important for life and coping with us (as whatever we do and whatever we earn we will all have to cope with difficult things, deaths, illness whatever our circumstances).

Woody Allen was once asked how he succeeded. He said - I show up. So many people don't show up. Workmen don't always show up when arranged, suppliers, customers, parents at work etc. If you can keep showing up you win half the battle.

Clarrisa, good luck with it. I am slightly concerned that new mothers in City type jobs in 2014 seem to think they have to take a year off, as if that were some kind of rite of passage and friends will criticise them if they don't whereas when I had my first children women took less time.In fact the pay is no different - 6 weeks at 90% pay and after that virtually nothing (compared to what high earners earn) so the financials are not too different from 20 years ago although some firms will offer you more IF you agree to come back and those of us self employed get nothing of course (except I suppose state maternity allowance).

novice is right to say be good to a nanny. We taught ours to drive when the oldest child was coming up to school time and would need a lift one day a week. We took her out on loads of driving practice, paid for the lessons etc etc. We also were very good at always being home when we said we would and paying over time etc. and tolerating her domestic uselessness (no one is perfect and she was good at other things).

Millionprammiles Wed 29-Jan-14 09:48:19

FWIW my advice:

- Think carefully about what length of maternity leave works for you, financially, career-wise etc. Don’t commit to a return date until you really have to. Don’t feel obliged to take a year (I really don’t think it makes a difference to the baby) but equally don’t feel you have to be superhuman and return quickly (assuming you have an option).

- Sleep deprivation can bring even the most capable person to their knees and turn the most loving couple against each other. My advice would be if you intend to return to work soon-ish and assuming you don’t have a baby who miraculously sleeps through early on (I know of none), hire a maternity nurse. In my experience they’re not evil, they don’t leave the baby to cry on their own but they can help get your baby into a routine and sleeping through.

- Buy the best childcare you can afford as others have posted. Looking after babies/children properly isn’t simply an innate skill that kicks in upon birth of a child. Some parents are great but others really aren’t. Most are great only some of the time. It takes knowledge, effort and commitment to do it properly. A properly skilled and motivated childcare provider can be fantastic for a child.

- Some mums come back to work feeling they can’t ever mention their children or keep photos on desks etc. In my experience it doesn’t matter if you do or you don’t. Don’t conceal, apologise or explain. Just be great at your job.

- As others have said be wary of p/t roles. You may find you’re doing the same job for a pay cut and you’re undervalued both at home and at work.

A forum is a good idea, I had some good tips from my manager before I went on mat leave that proved invaluable.

Poloholo Wed 29-Jan-14 15:08:04

Hello OP

Here is my advice for what it is worth. I'm in a slightly different position in that I work for a large organisation so things like a lengthy maternity leave are much easier than in your shoes.

- lose credibility waddling in? Not if you don't let it. Just don't bring up pregnancy ailments with colleagues unless you need to so don't moan about the heartburn, the swollen feet and whatever unnecessarily. That is more likely to make you lose credibility than looking like you've swallowed a beach ball. If anyone says anything, look confused and say "surely you're not implying I can't [make investment decisions or whatever] just because I'm pregnant?"

- People will forget very quickly how long you had off. So don't feel forced into only having a few weeks. Bear in mind that if you have a rough birth after a month you may still feel ill. I would have struggled at that stage.

- Definitely get a maternity nurse

- if you are planning on 3 days a week (perm or temp?) but you think you'll end up full time then that is a bad outcome. You'll spend 2 days a week trying to juggle a small baby with your work and feeling resentful plus having negotiated yourself a 40% pay cut. It is one thing doing is for a while if you need to keep things ticking over but personally I'd prefer a longer ML and then go FT

- I said it on the other thread I think but on your return don't complain, don't explain.

- I don't feel guilty about someone bringing DC up as they're not - their father and I do, we hire childcare who help. Don't look at it that way at all.

AlicanteLullaby Wed 29-Jan-14 20:44:09

Hi,

I feel like a bit of a trespasser on this thread as I don't think that anyone I've ever met would consider me a 'power mum'. My background is that I worked in a (relatively) senior public sector role when I had my two children, so I got a lovely long maternity leave but paid for it afterwards. After my second maternity leave, I was well and truly 'mummy tracked' so I threw it all in and started my own business, doing what I've always done, but for more money. So I am now an inadvertently 'high earning mother', complete with all the demands that running one's own business entails. This has all come about in the same couple of years that my husband has pushed for and got partnership in a large law firm. Life is crazy here, but we have happy, well-balanced children.

Based on my own experience and that of friends who work in demanding roles (partners in law firms, medical consultants, academics), here's a few thoughts:

- As has been said before, pay for the most expensive childcare you can afford. We have a nanny who has kept everything going so I don't have to. Make roles and expectations clear. For example, our nanny does my daughter's reading book and son's speech therapy work every day.
- You might or might not feel guilt. You don't have to. I think that it is a tiny minority of mothers who don't feel ambivalent though and wonder if they are doing the right thing. You would also feel this if you gave up you career and became a stay at home mum. It's the price we pay for having choices and because family life is complicated.
- If you have parents who are fit and willing to help, let them. My mother has saved the day time and time again.
-Think long-term. You have many years left in your career. People take time out for many different reasons, time out for maternity leave is not the end of the world. My (child-free) friend was despairing when she left a job with nothing to go to a couple of years ago (bullying at work). She is now global design director for a multinational company again. It's always best to play the long game.
- Although the hours and demands can be harder, both working in your own business and being senior in someone else's business does often also buy more flexibility, which is a huge advantage.
-I'm not quite sure how to say this point and it's just my view but spending free time with your partner and children will be really important. Basically, I have had to turn down lots of social invitations, narrow my social circle and simplify home life to cooking (I love it), chores, close friends, country walks etc. I guess that some people can cope with a busy work, family and social life but I realised that something had to give. we have good friends with shared interests (folk concerts, the beach) but have dropped the whole dinner party circuit, drinks party thing. I suppose, for me life really is too short to stuff a mushroom!

Best of luck smile

BusinessUnusual Wed 29-Jan-14 21:59:49

Clarissa

I have never felt guilty about use of childcare. I took six months maternity leave each time, which meant going back before the baby's separation anxiety kicked in, which was good for both of us. DH and I always took equal responsibility too for arrangements etc.

You will need to time deals as far as possible (and I know it's not always possible) over the last couple of months. I stopped work around 4 weeks before my EDD each time as that put a safe line in the sand where I wouldn't be carted out of a completion meeting timing contractions and demanding hot towels grin but I was still available for queries arising shortly after going off as I wasn't coping with baby/lochia/breast feeding. Personally I felt more comfortable having a definite plan rather than working to the last minute and possibly having baby early and leaving things incomplete, and you may want to discuss this with your LLP partners regarding workload management.

Do you have plans on feeding? I know if I was taking a short leave like you plan to, I would have planned to only feed for a week or so, though I know Laura managed it - one less thing to worry about, to my mind.

thegraduand Wed 29-Jan-14 22:59:53

Hi

I'd love to join, have to admit I left a six figure job in the City and am now earning slightly less in the regions, (but am better off given commuting costs and lower childcare costs)

My advice echos that above

- get the best childcare you can afford, and what works for you. We had a lovely nanny, some it if was unconventional, she was always 10 mins late in the morning, I was always 10 mins late in the evening, but it worked for us.

- it's a lot harder without a supportive partner. DH and I have always tried to be equal in this, we share school runs now, we take turns in everything so we can manage work calendars and home, we know when each other has to travel and has early meetings, so the other doesn't.

- take as long off as you need, and don't worry about work once you are off. I took 10 months, it was great, took me a few weeks to unwind, but then I was glad I did. Don't try and be a hero when you are pregnant, we my GP told me, we weren't designed to be pregnant, do a long commute and a demanding job. However really go for it in the bits of the pregnancy when you feel good, I had periods when I was amazing at my job because my hormones meant I didn't take any crap from anyone.

- You won't know how it's going to go until you are doing it. I couldn't have gone back after a month, DD was in hospital seriously ill at 21 days and again at 8 weeks (she's fine now and never been in hospital since) and had reflux, so didn't sleep for about the first 12 weeks. If yu have a baby who sleeps and eats easily, you will feel human a lot sooner, but you have no way of knowing any of that until the baby is born.

- you may end up working differently, I can't always stay late as I need to get home for DD, but I will often be working after she has gone to bed. It's also good if you have a good employer, I know work for a smaller company and I've even brought DD into the office when I was desperate. Being senior also helps, as you tend to be more in charge of your own diary, i can come in late and leave late and vice versa without it being questioned

Whowherewhywhat Thu 30-Jan-14 00:26:36

Hi,

I've had three children through my career so far, both as an employed and contract situation.

I worked right up to the birth for all of them, I felt we'll with all pregnancies and had no impact on my effectiveness with the board, and I didn't expect to be treated any differently.

I did leave it as late as possible to tell them , 5 months at least with all 3 pregnancies, was employed for first pregnancy and contract for other 2 and can honestly say it made no difference to my normal working day or relationships.

We have had every type of childcare unders the sun! BEst for babies / young children is a nanny and very hig level of flexibility for frequent last minute meetings etc! E
We also put the children in nursery pt as well even though we had a ft nanny so they got to meet children, socialise etc, and now they have all started school with no issues of integration etc.

I went back between 9 and 12 months , am soo glad I took the time off Nd enjoyed the wonderful bubble of new born days, switched off from work completely, no contact until I went back, put plans in place for my cover when permanent so I knew who was covering and they're Approach.

Dh and I share all childcare and responsibilities for home, food etc zcompletely 50/50 , we both have stressful jobs so we juggle between us what needs to be done, we do not breakdown taks on traditional male / female, we just get it done , we also have cleaner and gardener so anytime outside of work is 100% family time as much as possible.

I try as much as possible to work a normal working day in office then work late at home if I need to, I don't care if people see me going out of door at 5.30 anymore, IM happy that my work speaks for itself and I get the job done in the ours that suit me, I will always be flexible of course for emergency boards etc, but work hard to not work those hours if I don't need to anymore!

It can be very hard but also soo rewarding, I wouldn't have it Ny other way, and glad I work, though sometimes yearn to do the school run! I felt guilty for a long time , especially when I had 3 under 4 and people would be shocked that I worked ft in my role as well, I actually find the "I don't know know how you do it!" comment bloody annoying, as if its abnormal to do wha we do as. Family!!

ANywY, rant over, congratulations on your pregnancy, enjoy it, and, if I were you, don't. Omit to a return date until aft you've had the baby, you may be surprised that you won't want to go back straight away, coffee/ baby mornings can become strangely addictive!

LauraBridges Thu 30-Jan-14 22:27:52

One of the most important points emerging from the thread is that high paid women tend to have a partner who does as much as they do at home. I think it is as important as anything else. If Clarissa has sexist in laws and parents who expect women to do certain things but not apply the same to men they need to be ignored and/or challenged.

On the breastfeeding you need to do what is right for you. I was very into and even read my mother's NCT leaflets on it as a teenager and had my first babies in my early 20s. I loved it (breastfeeding) and always fed just before I left home and as soon as I got back and all the times in between and in the night. I remember those times as very special now I look back (my youngest are teenagers now) but not everyone wants the hassle of expressing at work. You can also choose to feed when you're at home and use formula milk when you are at work if you prefer. I have actually never given a bottle to a baby ever despite having 5 children (although of course our nanny did).

I was in a City building today where I have not been for a while and I remembered about 20 years ago going in there to express milk - such an embedded memory of long ago.

I agree with the suggestion of a nanny above. We never used a nursery. We did however with each child when they turned nearly 3 have them also at a morning nursery school (not day nursery) which helped the nanny who had one toddler at home and then the toddler and baby so the oldest child at least was off her hands for a few hours in the morning.

I liked the certainty of hiring the first nanny when I was pregnant with the first child and going back in a few weeks with a firm date for that as I need the security of fixed plans that don't change (obviously had I been seriously ill they would have changed) Clients and employers obviously like that type of certainty too but a lot of mothers don't feel any need to fix a return date. Of course when you get to baby number 2 you already have the child care for number 1 going strong and can hardly sack the nanny whilst you're on a second leave so it's in a sense even easier to get back quicker if that's what you want.

All I can say it is heaps heaps easier to have babies when you have money. Having my last two when I could just order on line all the kit immediately rather than trawling round church jumble sales to find a second hand carry cot for baby number 1, was so easy.

ClarissaG Thu 30-Jan-14 23:15:34

I'm really overwhelmed by the time everyone has taken to post, thank you so much. It's turned into a bit of a 'me centric' thread, sorry, but I hope there are others who will find all this advice invaluable in the future, there really is a lack of other similar information out there.

I think one key area where people have different views is about providing a fixed date to your employers / partners for a return. We all know from the perspective of running a business it is very helpful. I think not providing a date sends out a strong message that your career is now going to take second place. Shoot me down for this.....

Great advice on the part time aspect - worst of both worlds. I've had a rethink on that.

One aspect that seems overkill is having a nanny / maternity nurse from day 1 if you are going to take, say, 6 weeks off. Yes, a 2 week settling in period needed for a nanny, but if recruited from Day 1, are you not both knocking about with nothing to do for a lot of the time? Again, this is probably gross naivety on my part, but I have no reference point.

And honest answers:

Was your brain in the right place when you returned?
Did you all feel as driven and focused afterwards?
Do you think you were treated differently by male colleagues?

I'm assuming a full time nanny salary (Cambridgeshire / Suffolk area) is £25k - £30k. Far off?

I am a whole lot less worried by everything now, I'm going to print off this thread and keep it. Thank you again, Laura, Blankie, novice, Ken Adams, Million, Poloholo, Lullaby, bu, the grad, WWWW

Whowherewhywhat Fri 31-Jan-14 01:22:15

For me, easy answers to your questions
1. Yes- at work I found it relatively easy to "forget" about the children as I knew and know I have a great nanny / childcare I'm place. However I did snd do spend ALOT of time planning everything still!
2. Absolutely, if not more so, since having the children, I am more focused as I feel so grounded with my family, I want to support them in every way I can, but it also gives me much needed me time, even if it is at work!

Spot on with salary, I'm Berkshire, 30k ft experienced nanny, included petrol money etc.

I didn't recruit a nanny until I was about to return to work, well I started the process about 2 months before I returned, as cvs, interviewing etc can take a while. For 2nd nanny I used an agency, cost more initial costs but was soo much easier as I didn't have to filter out unsuitable a etc first.

I haven't found I've been treated any differently at work, but maybe because I don't really talk about my family at work or let them know about poorly children etc, I try and work around it, unless absolutely necessary, I m not one for photos on desks etc smile

LauraBridges Fri 31-Jan-14 07:54:09

It's easy to make time to write on here now my youngest are teenagers - there is just so much more time than when there are small children around.

On fixed return dates I was rather hedging around the point above but I do agree with Clarissa. Also it suits my personality which likes things to be definite and clear and planned. I started planning how many babies I would have and my career in my teens. Not everyone is the same. Obviously it is much easier for clients and people at work if they know when you plan to return.

On the new questions (and in a rush as I need to drive the children to school)
- as your brain in the right place when you returned? Yes never understood that issue at all. i could take a business call the day after the twins were born. My brain was no different at all. Even with baby no. 1 the day after birth the midwife found me with a book on the bed about tax law (I didn't end up a tax lawyer but it was relevant then) and how to breastfeed the day after the baby was born. Nothing happens to your brain. I suppose if you take ages off you might get out of the work habit just as on a long sabbatical. In fact having a lot of children to support is a driver to working hard to earn the money to keep them, not vice versa in my view)

Did you all feel as driven and focused afterwards?
I don't use the word driven as it's only used against women or most of the time, never against men. However yes more so. If you have to afford to pay a nanny and then in our case school fees that's quite an incentive to try to earn a fortune. I did love cuddling babies - I adore babies so had quite a few, I have supported and written about and been into breastfeeding always too but none of that mean I wasn't interested in my work. I did and their father did want to get home on time more than before and that was my compromise.

Do you think you were treated differently by male colleagues?
Years ago after the first one said he didn't think women shoudl work with babies after I had my first and was surprised I was back after 2 weeks but I didn't feel differently treated. I felt more in common with older people at work. I was 22 with a baby and married so that gave me a great connection to older clients and partners and it helped me get over the problem of being too young (I graduated when I was 20). Later with the last 2 I worked for myself, eat only what I kill etc and it was never a problem. But then I leaned in - that is all there is to it. If you don't carry on working hard whether it's because you have a new lover, hobby or baby work does not go as well. If you do you're fine. I was pleased to hear daughter 2 is reading Lean In. Apparently she's said she's good at everything on her appraisal.. although I did suggest finding the odd fault might be necessary... laughing as I type.

Bohemond Fri 31-Jan-14 08:07:05

Hi ladies,
Can I join?
Am hoping to get pregnant this year (at a ripe old age). I differ in so far as I am high earning self employed with a variety of clients for whom I do project work. Have come from a similar world as most of you though. With no structure it is going to be very difficult for me to work out when to tell clients (all projects are on differing timetables) and there is the added complexity of whether to take on new projects when I may be off in 9 months time!

BusinessUnusual Fri 31-Jan-14 08:17:56

How long do your projects typically last and how many days per week do you spend on each?

Personally I would carry on as normal until you actually are pregnant and take a view then.

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