Three working mothers on how they successfully balance their careers, childcare and mum guilt
THE number of working mums in the UK has hit a record high.
Three quarters of mums have jobs now compared to 66 percent in 2000. The Office for National Statistics revealed that more than a quarter return to work within three years of having a baby.
But as any parent knows, juggling a job with childcare is no mean feat. And as two thirds of mums bear the brunt of childcare compared to a third of dads, the result for many women is overwhelming.
Here, we speak to three working mums about how they balance work, life, childcare and mum guilt.
‘Pre-kids, you don’t realise that mothers are superwomen’
MUM-OF-ONE Matilda May, 33, works as a compliance testing manager for an international company. She lives in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, with her husband Pete, 36, who also works full-time as a field enablement manager, and their daughter Ella, three. She says:
“I WENT back to work full-time when Ella was ten-and-a-half months simply because we couldn’t all live on my husband’s income. It is a juggle, but I want to give my daughter the world when she grows up.
“When I interviewed for the job that I am in now, I literally hadn’t slept all night because Ella had been puking on me after she caught a sickness bug. I was shattered.
“But I put on a brave face, and got the job. That’s what working mums have to get used to, putting on a face even when we’re exhausted.
“We’re up by 5am, when I’ll have a coffee, Ella will have her milk and we snuggle on the sofa watching Peppa Pig. This is my favourite part of the day where I can really enjoy Ella before all the work madness kicks in.
“We then drop Ella off at the childminder’s where she goes from 8am to 6pm costing £60 a day. My husband and I are constantly discussing who can drop her off and who can pick her up.
“Sometimes I catch up on work in the evenings because there is limited time in the day and this can be hard for me, but I carry on because I have my career.
“I don’t think you ever really get over mum-guilt. I think I will always have mum-guilt whatever I do.
“But since having Ella, I always try to be happy, because a happy mum means a happy baby. I want to give her someone to look up to rather than someone who is tired, or sad, so I do it all for her.
“I’ve met quite a few mums who have looked at me funnily for putting Ella into childcare so early on. But I had to go back to work, we didn’t have it as an option.
“I learned to stop talking to others about it. It’s impossible to know pre-kids what parenting will be like.
“You don’t realise how mums are super-women until you become one. On the other hand, I definitely spoil Ella. Because we get limited time together, I will buy her that doll in the shop instead of saying no to her.
“I do not want her to have a tantrum because I don’t want her to be upset in the time we spend together. We often tell her, ‘Mummy and Daddy need to go to work so we can give you everything you want’. My life is busy, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
‘You always want to do more for your child’
WOLVERHAMPTON business owner Sunny Kooner, 32, is married to Baz, 32, with four girls, Nimran, two, Harnam, one, and eight-month-old twins Avnee and Amree. She set up Delightful Desserts in 2015 and now has 24 stores. Sunny says:
“OVER the past three years, it’s like I blinked and my whole life had changed, in a good way. I’ve had four children and set up a successful dessert business. The day-to-day stuff is crazy. I am up at 5.30am and by 9am I’ve changed nappies four times already.
“Baz will take the older girls to nursery if they are not coming with me to the office and I will feed, wash and dress the twins. Then I let them nap while I shower and get ready. At the office, the twins will often sit with me in meetings. They are very popular.
“At 5pm we head home and I’ll cook for the kids. While the big girls eat, I feed the twins and Baz will cook our dinner. Then the cleaning begins.
“All the girls are asleep by 9pm and me and Baz usually go downstairs, watch TV and raid the chocolate cupboard.
“I work from home on Fridays so I am with all four kids. I want to make sure I have “girl time”. I worked through my first pregnancy. On my first Mother’s Day, I left my daughter with my mother-in-law because the shop was really busy.
“Mum-guilt is something you have to put to the side. I think about the end goal and giving my children the best life.
“People often say to enjoy my kids because they are only young once. That doesn’t help because I could do more.
“As mums, you always want to do more for your child. I constantly feel torn.
“When I am with them all day, I love them so much. But at the same time my heart is telling me I need to be working.
“I have days where it is really tough. With all my children, I was in the hospital recovering for one night and still on my phone running the business. I don’t know what maternity leave is.
“All mums are trying to get by. I don’t think we know how capable we are until we are given something.”
‘I set up own business to support the family’
SINGLE Liora Peri, 43, from Hemel Hempstead, Herts, has three children, Shachar, 15, who lives with autism, Kesem, 12, and Yakira, seven. She is a family support practitioner and owns Bricks, which provides after-school LEGO clubs for kids with autism and ADHD. She says:
“MY family functions beautifully with just me and my three children. I was with my eldest two children’s dad until he took his own life when they were four years old and 18 months old. I had a new partner but it didn’t work out, and I have now been single for nearly six years.
“Three years ago I had to give up my job as an outreach officer to take care of my autistic son because he was awaiting a special needs school. I decided to set up a business that could work around my children, utilise my skills and knowledge working with vulnerable families.
“My business aims to help build up their confidence and self-esteem. I haven’t taken out business loans but I funded and sourced all my own materials gradually over two and a half years.
“By 6.30am, I am up with the children getting ready for school to leave at 8.10am. I then do admin all morning and run a Lego session for children before collecting my youngest daughter from school.
“I then run a special needs session which my daughter attends.
“We finish at 5.45pm and then go and pick Kesem up, as she stays at a friend’s after school. Then it’s home, dinner and the bedtime routine.
“I get help from fantastic friends who volunteer to look after the kids. I feel proud of what I am achieving as a single mum as I have no family or partner that supports me.
“It has been extremely hard work but my children understand that I need to work to support us and they help when they can.
“When their dad passed away, I had to be upbeat and keep on top of things because of the kids.
most read in fabulous
‘I’M NOT THEIR SLAVE’
Mum only bathes her kids 3 times a week and lets them eat with hands
MIND THE GAP
Why is Keanu dating a grey-haired artist more shocking than Leo’s girlfriend?
Rich Kid who spends £400 a month on COFFEE in tears after visiting food bank
Mum covers walls in Xmas wrapping paper & people can’t decide if its tacky or not
Mum makes DIY advent calendar using empty tray, pound shop sweets and toys
November 7: Jupiter changes your mood from indecision to determination
“People say to me it must be hard after losing my partner, but I just dealt with it the best I could. And my son has shown me what strength really is.
“I love what I do, and what I do helps so many children and supports so many families.
“I feel guilty that I’m not at home after school like a lot of mums. But my children appreciate that I have to work hard to be able to support us as a family.”
This content was originally published here.