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It's hard holding down a job and being a mum isn't it?!#*!

(42 Posts)
Lotsoftoys Mon 06-Apr-09 11:24:52

Here is my story at the moment! Anyone else out there want to share some bad and good times as they struggle with maintaining some degree of credibility at work?? I seem to be making a pigs ear of it...

Today I'm at home for the 4th time since February with a poorly dd - feeling anxious about the work I'm not getting done...

So I went back to work at the beginning of Feb when dd was 8 months old. I went back at a more senior level, 3 days a week, in a busy and well know arts organisation.

The job has been very pressured - more so than usual as the organisation has been through some major and very public restructuring.

I was very keen to get this promotion which is maternity cover until next feb.

But I am finding it really tough! I feel out of control, never quite keeping up with my full-time colleagues, I feel over-shadowed by the person who I am acting up for, I feel that all of the very hard work I put into my job before having dd is forgotten and that i am seen as a half-present and insignificant member of staff. And I'm sleep deprived...!

I heard women talking about this before I had a baby - feeling out of the picture in a career sense and now I get it. I have always cared a lot about my career and so feeling like I'm not excelling is affecting my self esteem in other parts of my life.

I feel annoyed by it all - annoyed because I'm not a man, not a younger model, because I'm a mum....

OrmIrian Mon 06-Apr-09 11:28:34

IME part-time is very hard. It means that you aren't always there when meetings are held, when decisions are made, you might be walking out of the door when vital stuff is happening. You are not able to stay on when needed. You cannot be flexible. I did it for 5 yrs and I didn't realise how bad I felt about it till I stopped. Back full-time now and I am loving my job and my home life is better too.

Luckily I have a Dh who has been able to step into the breech.

Lotsoftoys Mon 06-Apr-09 11:33:19

Yes that's it - being part-time you are constantly just out of the picture. I seem to be fire fighting when I'm there. And when your not there to pick up on a new urgent issue someone else is there to take care of it - which inevitably makes you feel replaceable!

ruddynorah Mon 06-Apr-09 11:34:07

do you have a dp/dh who does his share? has he taken time off when your dc is ill?

MarlaSinger Mon 06-Apr-09 11:36:32

I am part-time and think it is the worst of both world's. I feel like I am either trying to mentally prepare for my days off (what we are going to do/where we'll go etc) or trying to prepare for my days at work (checking email at home on days off, juggling two wardrobes, being ORGANISED)

If I were full-time I'd have more paid help (I have 2 hours cleaning which is great but doesn't achieve much) and if I were a SAHM I'd take life day-by-day, I think.

tattycoram Mon 06-Apr-09 11:36:59

I totally understand. I've just (after about a year and a half back at work) upped my days from three to four and have found it's made a really big difference. It swings the balance back from being all about home with a bit of work, to being more about work with a bit of home, so I am far better able to remember what I was doing from one week to the next (you may not have this problemhmm). Also four days is pretty much full time in terms of the amount of time in the office. Perhaps you could think about doing that when your dc is a little bit bigger?

Re the sleep deprivation. Yes. It's awful. My job is quite academic and there have been days when I have read the same document over and over again and it just hasn't gone in, because I am so shattered. Again that will get a bit better as your dc gets bigger (hopefully).

Lotsoftoys Mon 06-Apr-09 11:42:49

dp is very supportive with a stressful full-time job - takes over in the night to let me sleep and has also taken time out when dd is sick (although is much tougher for men to keep doing this i.e. to sustain sympathy at work - which is also infuriating!)But of course I am often the one shopping, cleaning, blah blah. However much he tries and does help I tend to balance all of the household logistics in my head.

I think four days is going to be the answer. It's just all so tight financially with teh childcare isn't it?

The other thing that is really doing my head in is older female colleagues with kids not showing solidarity. They seem to have forgotten...

Haribolicious Mon 06-Apr-09 11:43:01

Similar situation here but DH contracts - his daily rate is too much for us to lose so it makes more sense for me to take the time off if DS is sick...esp when he has to earn more so that I am able to only work 3 days per week!

I do find this frustrating and I find p/t is really hard for your exact reasons toys - every week I feel like I've 'missed' something and feel like I'm having to second guess situations as I've not been privy to conversations/metings that have been held on the days I'm not in angry. Maybe I should get something more menial and just enjoy the hours? Then on the other hand (in this economy blah, blah) I can't really afford to take anything less sad.

Lotsoftoys Mon 06-Apr-09 11:45:36

Oh yes I have been daydreaming about something less mentally taxing... running away to the seaside to sell ice-creams was my last fantasy... all very silly but the urge to escape is strong!

angelene Mon 06-Apr-09 11:48:17

Agree with tatty, going from 3 days to 4 has made a big difference with me. My job makes no concessions to part time hours, we have to do the job in whatever time we are available, so when I was working 3 days I felt that I wasn't doing well at work and I wasn't doing well at home either, trying to do work at home.

I had to think it over quite a lot, obviously it's tipping the balance from 'mostly at home' to 'mostly at work', but I am lucky in that DD loves nursery and is very happy there, which made the decision easier.

The illness stuff is horrendous though - I live in fear of conjunctivitis or anything else which carries a 48 hour exclusion from nursery. I had to work a lot of time back over the last couple of months but it doesn't help on the credibility front.

Snorbs Mon 06-Apr-09 12:13:36

For me, going from full-time to part-time marked the change from having a career to having a job. I'm still doing the same work but it's clear that I'm never going to get promoted from my current position and I'm much more "disposable" than I was.

To be honest, now I've accepted this I'm a lot less stressed out. I know what I've got to do and I just get on and do it. On the plus side, I'm a lot less involved in all the office politics and bitching, which is nice...

stickylittlefingers Mon 06-Apr-09 12:34:14

This is very interesting - I've stayed FT because of worries that I would suffer from what has been described above. But when I have taken time off - like last week I took the morning off to take dd2 to a routine hospital appt and therefore took dd1 to school - the girls seem to have so appreciated it and I've loved having more mum-time with them.

How about staying FT but moving the hours a bit? I've wondered about having one or two later starts so that I can have more morning time, given that so often I don't get in til after at least dd1 has gone to bed.

At the moment with the "economic climate" I'm so pleased to have a reasonably well paid job with no signs of being made redundant at the moment, I don't want to rock the boat.

Milkmade Mon 06-Apr-09 12:56:17

It's not so much the FT/PT bit that I feel has made work credibility harder (I went 4 days until dd was one and now take alternate mondays off) but the fact that instead of staying till 8 regularly and late if necessary I now leave at 5:30 most days, and rarely get in before 9.

Lotsoftoys Mon 06-Apr-09 18:08:58

I'm shocked by the realities of part-time working and motherhood - and can't help thinking we could do with some kind of union - a parent's union! My own work place has no union at all. If i ruled the world, or at least was in charge at work I would give all of the staff training about understanding the pressures facing parents in the organisation - just as we might consider the needs of disabled staff etc.

Many of the senior staff where i work are rather affluent and have au-pairs etc - so they set some kind of standard in terms of working very long hours and socialising a lot in the evenings - this is really hard to keep up with. As an art organisation we have lots of evening events to attend which I am not doing at the moment but the pressure is definitely on. We don't get overtime for any of this of course but can get time off in lieu - which as a part-time person it is almost impossible to find the time to take.

I'm still breastfeeding and expressing at lunchtime - I can't really complain as they've been very accomodating about this but I have had a few comments about the fact that my 10 month old doesn't sleep through yet and people have suggested I give him formula to knock him out - I know that this doesn't work!

In the team I manage there is a much younger member of staff who has a tendency to do the jobs I can't do when I'm not around which of course is a double edged knife - it helps with my workload but can make me feel discredited. I am trying not to feel so threatened and to 'surrender' to it all but it's annoying me so....!

kentmumtj Tue 07-Apr-09 09:31:57

i think its incredibly hard to work and be a mum and a cleaner and a cook and an organiser of their lifes and have meetings and write court reports for work.

To stressful to mention.

I am a part timer and i think part timers get a really rough deal. IMO i think we have to cram a full time job into part time hours which makes the stress of being at work that mre stressful.

Then when your feeling that stressed you come home and have to start the home life job, cooking, cleaning, bathing children, doing homework etc and thats if i make it back in time and are not caught up in some emergency.

Gosh now ive offloaded that i can breathe.

Its hard work being a working mum, think we all need a pat o the back followed by a nice long holiday in the sun smile

MrsMattie Tue 07-Apr-09 09:44:54

I have to say, I found full time work even more hellish. I was just utterly frazzled. I also went back after maternity leave to a more senior position (for a high profile broadcaster grin) and it was a chore, to be honest. I could never compete with the childless singletons and I hardly ever saw my baby. If I'd have been offered a genuine part time opportunity I would have snapped it up, but was only offered four 10 hour days (would've been 12 hour days including commute) or 3 days a week with a demotion. Sod that.

notyummy Tue 07-Apr-09 09:46:47

I think it is particularly hard when you are not getting a good nights sleep...heres hoping that will get better for you.

I went back when dd was 6 months old for 4 days a week, and I think on the whole that allows me to make an impact at work whilst spending some time with her.

The illness thing is difficult and wont go away in the short term (2.8 yr old dd had sickness bug last week). Comfort yourself with the fact that there may be less days off when they are older due to immunity built up by getting loads of bugs from nursery as baby/toddler.

We have no cleaner/au pair, but dh is very hands on and does the nursery drop off in the mornings most of the time, and a good portion of stuff round the house. He is about to start a new jon which means he will be away 4 nights a week, which means that our carefully constructed edifice may crumble...I am in the process of recruiting a mothers help for the mronings because other wise my day does not work. I have 1 1/2 commute each way, and I have to be able to leave early to get to the office to put in a long enough day so I can leave early in the afternoon to get dd whilst the nursery is still open.

HeadFairy Tue 07-Apr-09 09:53:07

the more I read about other people's experience of working motherhood, the more I realise I'm very fortunate in that my job doesn't carry over from one day to the next. We work to deadlines that day so being part time doesn't really impact on my career in that respect. However I can't travel any more and my career has suffered as a result. I figure I'll coast for a few years and then put my foot back on the gas when ds is older (and any other dcs we have).

The hardest thing I find is the relentless grind. I got home from work at 8pm last night (having left the house at 7am) and I was still sorting out washing at 9.30pm. I managed to sit down for an hour to watch the end of the Henry VIII doc and the news. That was the sum total of my evening's relaxation. I'm dreading this week as I'm doing 5x12 hour days (mon-weds plus sat and sunday)

anniemac Tue 07-Apr-09 10:01:28

Message withdrawn

kentmumtj Tue 07-Apr-09 10:01:53

i feel tired reading all these posts and i must add that 8i noticed many of you have small children i have 4 older children and IME it gets harder not easier as the children become more demanding of you time than when they are small. Plus they are all at different ages and needing different amounts of impossible time spent with them.

I would love a nanny but cant afford one, but then again i wouldnt want to miss out on doing the things i should be doing with my children otherwise what would have been the point of having them

MrsMattie Tue 07-Apr-09 10:03:26

That was one of the things I found soul destroying@Headfairy.

My day used to be:

Up at 6.30m
Leave house at 7.45am & drop DS to daycare
1 hour commute across London
Work 8 hour day
1 hour commute home - arrive home at 7pm earliest
Seeover tired DS for half an hour before putting him to bed <sob>
Throw dinner together and wolf it down
Do prep for the following day at work / washing/tidying/sort clothes out for next day etc.
Fall into bed

Start all over again the next day...

I loved my job, but I had to give it up because the rest of my life was just so soul destroyingly shit sad

MrsMattie Tue 07-Apr-09 10:03:59

See tired DS, not 'see over' - excuse typos!

anniemac Tue 07-Apr-09 10:11:43

Message withdrawn

HeadFairy Tue 07-Apr-09 10:16:09

MrsMattie, that's horrible.

My day yesterday was...

up at 6am, shower, get dressed, have breakfast
DS up at 7am, spend 15 mins with him (simultaneously getting his stuff together for the cm)
Leave at 7.15am commute across London
At work at 8am
Leave work at 7pm commute across London
Home by 8pm
Cook and eat dinner, few other jobs while dinner cooking, done by 9pm
Sort clothes out til 9.30pm
Watch tv 9.30-10.30 (though watching the news is part of my work, so not technically relaxing)
Fall in to bed at 10.30pm
Asleep 10.31pm

HeadFairy Tue 07-Apr-09 10:17:27

Tomorrow's not so bad though, I start at 10am so I'll be able to spend about an hour with ds and take him to the cm - though I don't finish work until 11pm so I won't get home until 11.30pm so will fall in to bed at 11.31pm.

Day off Thursday woooo hoooooo! (it's going to rain boooo hoooooo!)

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