Victoria Jobson

I feel so humbled reading Victoria story below she lists so many benefits of being a working parent…

I am a registered mental health nurse.

I work with later life clients on an acute assessment and treatment inpatient ward. In a mental health unit. I work part time 22.5 hours a week.

I realise how precious time is and make my days off count with my toddler son on weekdays when we are off.

I think it is tiring and hard work working then being a mum with all the expectations, however, I also believe that work provides a purpose and an achievement that is good for my well being.

As well as providing financial income it demonstrates and role models to my son that work is important and that teamwork matters. That we all have a purpose and skills we can offer others.

It means that we are as a family not always stressed about being able to afford things and I have the rest of the days I don’t work to have time with my son and husband when he is not at work.

It is important to have time somewhere for myself and even if that’s to do jobs at home etc. We don’t have grandparent childcare support, however, I do now have one day a week whereby I am not at work and my son is in preschool, this is so valuable. Plus to maintain friendships where possible my old friends and newer friends inc mummy friends.

Overall if I’m fed up and ever near to feeling sorry for self .. work always puts my woes into perspective as there are always others in a worse position and I get great reward from working in part of a team and giving to others.

Being mum is my best ever job. However one day my son will no longer need me as much as he does now so I still have my career identity to keep me mentally challenged and stimulated.

Victoria Jobson
RMN
Mother to son 3.5 years

Tiffany Turner

Meet Tiffany, Office/HR Manager for a Norwegian Family Office (Finance). Her account of being a working mother is so sincere, describing “Mum guilt” something so many of us genuinely feel. We Are Working Mums is a campaign to share these very stories and learn from these inspiring women…

I generally leave the house around 7.20a.m. and return home around 7pm.  I take Dexter to school on Mondays and get to the office around 10.30a.m. On the remainder of the week with the exception of Fridays (my day off), Dexter is taken to school by either my mum or Danny, my partner.

I rely a lot on other mum friends at the school for after-school care.  Monday’s Dexter goes to a friend from football training either myself or Danny collect him around 6.30/7pm., Tuesdays Dexter is in after-school club (which I hate, its miserable and he looks miserable – HUGE guilt), Wednesdays my mum collects him, feeds/bathes him and on Thursday I finish work at lunchtime so I collect him.  Friday is our day as I am home.

I have a huge amount of guilt having to rely on others mums, my mum who is brilliant and is a massive support.  It’s a constant juggle to make sure he is cared for, who is picking him up i.e. Danny or I and I worry he doesn’t have a proper routine although this is his routine and he has been used to this as I returned to work when he was 8 months old.

Meal Times – I try to have stuff here for my mum to give him on Wednesdays, usually, this is something she can put into the oven sometimes stuff I may have cooked i.e. spaghetti sauce etc but often it will be shop bought (M&S).  He usually has either an omelette or bagel for breakfast and I try to do this before I leave – luckily he’s an early riser! Weekends I cook from scratch or we eat out.

Weekends are usually for his activities, Friday night football training, Saturday swimming. He also has football training after school on Mondays, all these are paid for clubs.  In between his activities I like to do things with him, cinema, soft play etc. He has bundles of energy so needs to be constantly entertained, if not he’s on his iPad which fills me with more guilt!

I usually take time to study to/from work where possible.  If not in the evenings after I have put Dexter to bed so around 8pm. which is hard, I’m usually knackered.

Generally, I feel I fail on most levels, but he is happy, happier when I’m around but he is happy and eats well and generally anything.  I do have working mums guilt so he is also spoilt but thankfully not horrible with it.

Kelly Mepham

Meet Kelly an inspirational Mum who’s turned her lifestyle into a career that works around her kids #workthatworks

I’m a Personal Trainer and my business is called Kelly Health & Fitness. I switched from working a normal 9-5 office job in Sales and Marketing to being a freelance Personal Trainer to enable me to be a more hands on Mum at the end of the school day.

I wanted to be able to do both school runs and help with homework etc, and then work when it would least impact the children. I work most mornings 6-7am, come home to get the children ready, work when they’re at school, and I then go out again when they’re getting ready for bed. I have a disjointed day but it fits well with the kids.

Fenella Simmons

I like not being somebody’s mum, wife or daughter when I am at work.

Work can play a huge part in maintaining our identity as an individual. Here’s another inspirational story from Fenella…

I work as a family support worker for a large charity. I have 4 children, 17 years to 4.

I manage by knowing that I have a job that is worthwhile and I enjoy.

I like not being somebody’s mum, wife or daughter when I am at work.

I enjoy the different challenges of work which are so different to home life.
The balance for me is working three days. I have no cleaner or gardener and my days not working are spent cleaning cooking washing shopping. The time is only 9:15 to 2:45 in a school day so time feels short sometimes.

My husband works nearer the schools so he does the childcare run which is handy as he leaves work earlier on my work days.

The juggle is childcare and I don’t always think the balance is right. My mother helps take my youngest to school and another goes to club at school and we use a childminder.

This can get messy as it is different each working day. School can just cancel a club due to bad weather or the teacher is off sick and I am left trying to sort something from work. My dear mother normally helps out if she can but it can be stressful, as can sick children. My older two are easy now and look after themselves to a certain degree and due to being an older mum I know how short these years are and to make the most of family life.

Work that works.

LinkedIn, connecting the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. I used to work for that company. I joined early doors when LinkedIn was in hyper-growth. The work was challenging but the payoff was the opportunity and the personal development. Rewards were varied and included international travel (picture a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon), receiving a transformation grant towards life-changing medical equipment for a relative and forging some life-long friendships. It was awesome there, and with such rich exposure to new technology and forward thinking working practices, myself and my colleagues were attractive to recruiters throughout our tenure.

In 2016 with a much longed for baby on the way it was the right time to leave, which was followed by a wonderful year off with my newborn son. As we entered 2017 I had the urge to the reinvigorate my career. I was determined to re-enter the workplace, with a willingness to be flexible searching for a role that complimented motherhood. 6 months and 29 job applications later my bubble has well and truly burst.

I’m tempted to detail all the negatives in my story, like the time a CTO arranged to interview me in a dirty pub… following a technical competency drilling I reached out to take a sip of water from a glass on the table but I quickly remembered I was never offered a drink. Perhaps more insulting was the time I travelled 75 miles to attend a 3rd round interview at a company HQ to “meet the team” only to find the team didn’t turn up. No job candidate should be treated with such little respect.

But there have been plenty of positives such as becoming an expert job applicant open to new challenges, growing my network of working parents who have all been excellent advisors willing to share their best practices and dilemmas and getting clarity on what it is I really want to do.

I’ve learned so much on this journey and want to share some steps in my search for flexible work:

  • Start by being ready, have your LinkedIn profile and CV up to date.
  • Change your LinkedIn headline to “Open to opportunities” so recruiters can see you’re looking.
  • Sign up for job alerts on flexible work sites such as 2to3days.com and Workingmums
  • Practice, practice & practice your job history as “tell me about your career” is often the first question.
  • Don’t be afraid of using the words “flexible” and “job share” there are such companies out there!
  • Research the remote working movement on twitter I found 5 relevant remote companies with employees in the UK and EU and sent them all prospective job applications.
  • Speak to recruitment agencies, tell them your situation the most you may get is information on industry trends.
  • Ask for a video call if recruiters want to meet you, they’re unaware of the challenges of arranging childcare.
  • Reach out to your network, someone may know of an opportunity in their team. I managed to get 2 first stage interviews and some contract work.
  • I mentioned industry trends earlier, think about retraining in an industry that allows flexibility such as Social Media.

So what am I up to now? Well, I’m retraining with Digital Mums on Social Media Management, a career I’m really excited about. I’m also launching a social campaign on Working Mothers. A subject I have a newfound respect and passion for, celebrating Working Mothers so others can feel empowered and inspired by their stories. Please join me in my next play and support WeAreWorkingMums.