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Tag: work

Self-Employment. Why Having a Boss Just isn’t for Me

Self-Employment. Why Having a Boss Just isn’t for Me

When I was at school, I didn’t really have much of an idea about what I wanted to be. All I knew was that whatever I became, I wanted to do it for myself. My ultimate goal was to become self-employed. I used to think a lot about what jobs there were out there. I’d go back and forth weighing up the pros and cons of being both employed and self-employed. I do believe that there are two sides to the story and that being self-employed isn’t for everyone. For me though, it was definitely the way to go.

By the time I turned twenty, I’d managed to go it alone. I was my own boss and the freedom it gave me was just incredible. I would make my own decisions, without having to please others first. The 9-5 disappeared and I found flexible working much more beneficial, for myself and for my family. Being self-employed has also given me the freedom to pivot when new business ventures have come my way. It gives me the ability to widen my skill set and knowledge base whenever I see fit and not according to the needs of an organisation.

Learning important life skills –

Prior to becoming self-employed, I had worked for numerous different people. I’d had a boss on numerous occasion and I learned a lot from each individual experience. Every different approach to business helped me shape who I wanted to be, it also helped me identify who I didn’t want to be. I firmly believe that it’s essential to work your way up from the bottom, often under someone else’s rule. Staring out this way helps me fully appreciate what I now have and what I’m capable of achieving.

No Limits –

For me, the best thing about being self-employed is that there are no limits to what I can do. This is ideal for me, as I’m a complete drifter and I do like to change the way that I make money from time to time. I’m a huge fan of multiple income streams and working for myself means I can have as many as I like, without stepping on another person’s toes. I find searching for fresh opportunities exciting, I love to put my knowledge and skills to the test. This means that when I do succeed I’m even more proud of myself, as my achievements are the product of my own hard work and determination. I proved to myself a long time ago that I’m capable of going it alone and making it work.

I’m lucky enough to be in a position whereby my drifting is supported. Being self-employed isn’t always easy and for some people the inevitable quiet periods can be crippling. Working alone means that you do have to put some cash aside for a rainy day, that way you cover yourself when work is scarce. Down time is few and far between for the self-employed though,  so if you do find yourself stuck for work I highly recommend you use this time to have a break. The likelihood is that there’s a tonne of work waiting just around the corner and for that you need to be rested!

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Back to Full-Time Blogging – Why I’ve Hung up my Scissors, Again.

Back to Full-Time Blogging – Why I’ve Hung up my Scissors, Again.

Over the past three years I’ve been a complete yo-yo where work is concerned. I wanted to be there for my children, so I said goodbye to hairdressing. Then, after the littlest was born, I thought it might be nice to get out the house again for a few hours. So I went back to the old routine for one day a week, but guess what? It turns out that wasn’t for me either.

Sometimes I think I know what I want, others I’m completely lost and struggle to know if I’m making the right decisions. The fact is though, that I make a good wage from blogging and freelance writing. Don’t get me wrong, I put the hours in. Too many sometimes, if you ask my husband. I love blogging and I just can’t see the point in pouring my energies into a second job that I’m just not so taken with. So I quit.

 

Working around family –

Another reason that me working became an issue, is because of my husband’s hectic work schedule. He’s works so hard in a career that he loves and is constantly progressing. It’s been difficult fitting his shifts around my weekly work day, he managed it for me, but it was a real pain. The thing is I’m a drifter and I’ll pick up different lines of work whenever the mood takes. For him, it’s who he is and frankly that’s more important to me than one day a week to myself.

One of the main reasons I chose to give up my hairdressing role, is that blogging allows me the freedom to work around all members of the family. This is so important right now as the biggest is due to start nursery very soon. I want to be the one that drops her off. I want to be the one that picks her up. I don’t want to miss anything, especially when I’m lucky enough to have choices. The fact is that I don’t have to work and it’s about time I started appreciating the freedom that my situation gives me.

 

Money doesn’t make you happy –

As I touched on earlier, I work hard at home building up my blogging and freelance writing business. I make a wage and I’m proud of that. I’m always looking for more income streams too, which is why I took the hairdressing job in the first place. The money called to me and for that reason, I really don’t believe I thought things through properly. Until a few months later when I felt as though I was chasing my tail. I had even less hours during the week to get all of my work done and I was getting even less sleep than before. Not to mention being a full time mum to two under 3.

The truth is that money doesn’t make you happy. Family makes you happy, hobbies make you happy and working a job you love can make you happy. Grabbing at every penny available does not.

 

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Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

Knowing my Limits – Wife. Motherhood. Life.

I’m often the person handing out tips on how to squeeze some sort of work into every waking minute. I’ve never been shy about telling others how it’s possible to work and look after kids at the same time. A lot of my posts have been written to help mothers in my situation, to make scheduling their days easier and to allow for maximum productivity. This post is going to be a little different though. It’s not going to encourage you to fill every second, of everyday with work. It’s also not going to encourage no work at all. The aim of this post is to highlight that the key to success is to know your limits.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t think working hard is unnecessary. Some days it’s essential that we cram the hours in, in order to progress. It’s that slowly but surely, I’m beginning to realise that burning the candle at both ends will only lead to a decline in achievement. My husband is always telling me that I’m working full-time hours on my blog, as well as looking after our children full-time. Both of these positions are what I chose and are still what I want to do. There comes a time though when something has to give. As my children are always my first priority, it would seem that I need to manage my workload to fit around me. I need to be mindful of how much I’m fitting family life around my work.

Recognising I need to adjust the balance –

As with most things, recognising that things aren’t as they should be is the first step to making a positive change. It doesn’t always mean that we act on it immediately, but it plants the seed. I’ve known for a while that I don’t quite have the balance right. The trouble with me is I get a little addicted to progression and for that reason I find it hard to slow down. If I achieve something good, it just spurs me on further and in consequence down time becomes less and less.

Less down time means less time with the littles and less time with Hubs. Not that either of them mind particularly. The only person it really bothers is me, because I didn’t quit work in the first place, for nothing. I did it because I wanted to be there all of the time. The job that I do now means that I am always at home with them, but it’s amazing how much you miss when you’re sat behind a screen.

Getting it right –

I don’t suppose there’s an easy way to get the balance right. Whether I’m being wife, mother or trying to progress in my work life. One has to give, to make way for the other. The trouble is, all of these roles are so important to me, I want to be able to give each one my full attention at all times. I want the perfectly clean house, the thriving business, to be super mum and the doting wife. It’s time to accept that I can’t do everything. I need to get to know my limits and more importantly, to live by them.

When the girls go to school, I’m sure things will get easier. I’ll have the hours in the day to get on top of everything I have to do. Then once they come home, they’ll have my attention until bedtime. Until that time comes though, I need to make sure that my work is confined to their bedtime hours as much as possible. I’m only too aware that they won’t be this young forever and if I’m not careful, I’ll only remember their younger years as the snaps I caught through a lens.

 

 

 

 

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Three Commitments Every Blogger Needs to Make!

Three Commitments Every Blogger Needs to Make!

Once you’ve been bitten by the blogging bug, it’s impossible not to make a commitment to your corner of the internet. If you blog purely for the love of writing, you still have to pour hours of your life into crafting perfectly worded pieces. If you blog for a living, you have to work hard at building your business too. Whatever drives you to write and to grow your blog, you have to make commitments for it to work.

When I first started blogging I had no idea how much it would take over my life. Now two years in, I live and breathe blogging. I think about work from waking up, to going to bed. It can get a little overwhelming sometimes, but I can honestly say I’ve never had such a passion for what I do before. As with any job, there are good points and bad points. I don’t necessarily enjoy spending hours staring at a computer screen, but I do enjoy what I get out of it. Sometimes I wish I could go a whole day without having to look at my phone, but my blog wouldn’t be where it is today if I hadn’t spent the last couple of years glued to my iPhone.

Everyone’s blogging commitments differ depending on what they’re trying to achieve. To make your mark as a blogger though here are three commitments you definitely need to make!

Commit to working in the evening when the kids are finally asleep –

Parenting is a job in itself and sometimes finding time to blog during the day is impossible. Some days I have the best of intentions, but as my eldest gets older and naps less, sitting down to my laptop before 7pm is near on impossible. So in order to keep up with the work load and to keep my blog moving in the right direction, working after the kids have gone to bed is essential. I know so many bloggers who work into the wee, small hours too. It seems it’s the way forward for the parenting blogger!

 

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Commit to spending far too many hours a day on social media –

Prior to starting my blog in 2016, I wasn’t very good at social media. If I’m honest, it’s still not my forte. Alas, in order to get content out there, perfecting the art of social media is a must for bloggers all over the world. That means spending far more time on your channels that you really want to, with the aim of building your audience and boosting your traffic. It’s time to admit defeat now!

 

 

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Commit to taking hundreds of photographs on a daily basis –

As parents, we probably take a larger than average number of pictures on a daily basis anyway. As bloggers though, we spend even more time snapping the same image over and over to get them just right. Then we lose a few more hours editing them to make them look blog post and Instagram ready. Blogging means we need endless images to share with our readership, so this a commitment we have to be comfortable with. Now’s the time to invest in a masses of cloud storage, you’re going to need it!

 

 

vintage, retro analog single-lens reflex camera
Photo Credit

 

 

 

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Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Thus far in my blogging career, I’ve been able to complete a sizeable chunk of the hefty workload whilst my children slumbered. I would put them down for their afternoon nap and sit down to a couple of hours work in the afternoon. Then when they went to bed in the evening, I’d grab a few more hours for good measure. It was a good balance and one that will be sorely missed.

The last few months have seen my eldest daughter drop her naps altogether. My youngest does still nap, but not for long during daytime hours. This has thrown a huge spanner in the works where my business is concerned, as I’ve lost a whopping 14 hours of dedicated blogging time each week. At first I found myself in a spin of overwhelm and disorganisation. With even less time in the day to get on top of things, I felt like I was drowning in my work load.

Something had to change. Firstly I had to accept that nap time is no more. I’ve had a good run of 2.5 years of mid-afternoon bliss, but it was time to re-asses our daily routine to keep each of us as happy as can be. After much trial and error, we now have a good little routine going!

 

So, here’s how to meet deadlines when your children refuse to nap:

 

Split your days into activity blocks –

The key to keeping everyone in your house happy, is to allocate of time to meet everyone’s needs. In our house, the littlest still needs a short nap around lunchtime, so our day is divided into three blocks; ‘morning’, ‘downtime’ and ‘the rest of the day’. Our morning and the rest of the day is dedicated to our girls, we take them out, educate them and do everything else that comes with being a parent. Downtime however, is time for me to settle the girls down for an hour in order to get through some of my workload. I often enlist the help of Peppa Pig here, but it’s a good rest for the girls and time for them to recharge for the rest of the day.

Create a dedicated work space –

Having an area that’s just for you is a great way to make sure you meet your deadlines. My husband recently built me a desk area and it means that I can leave unfinished work to come back to later. I’m able to jump back into my chair and continue my project without having to wast time reorganising myself. It also means there are no little people using my documents as scrap paper!

Work into the night, but know when to stop –

I’ve accepted that If I’m to continue working at the level I’ve gotten used to, then burning the midnight oil is a given. As it’s the only real quiet time I have, I leave all of the more complicated projects until after the children have settled for the night. Working too late, too often can quickly lead to burn out though. So it’s important to recognise your limits and to hit the hay early once in a while. Burning the candle at both ends won’t be a benefit to anyone.

Use downtime to catch up on easy tasks –

If the kids are up and you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, tackling tasks that are simple will make you feel like you’ve been productive. It’s still work that has to be done and once you have time to yourself you can concentrate on the more complex projects.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help –

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and getting things done becomes impossible. That’s when you need to admit defeat and ask for a little help. Whether that’s getting someone to watch the kids whilst you spend some time catching up, or outsourcing work that you just isn’t at the top of your priority list. Don’t try to be superhuman!

 

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The Ways of a Woman with Ambition

The Ways of a Woman with Ambition

I’ve never described myself as a woman with ambition before. My usual take on life is more sit on the fence, rather than fight for what I believe in. I’ve always worked hard, but I’ve never had a passion for what I’ve done. I’ve always been happy enough to do an honest days work, without needing to push the boundaries or seek ways to continue to learn and grow.

I’m not exactly sure when things changed. I suppose it was sometime after having children, probably during the time I was pregnant with our second. I began writing and steadily things began to change. I found time to write and I found time to learn, I still do. After a while I began to realise that I didn’t have to let the world pass me by, I could join in the fun and make something of myself along the way.

My world is now full of opportunity, I learn something new each and every day. Educating myself doesn’t seem like the chore it used to. I have fire in my belly and I have a constant need to feed it, to keep it burning. Cheesy I know, but it’s hard to describe just how much passion I have for what I do and for all of the amazing things I’m yet to learn.

 

New plans for 2018 –

Over the past year especially, The Tale of Mummyhood has gone from strength to strength. I have so many ideas and plans in the pipeline for my little corner of the internet. 2018 will be a time of new beginnings for me too, with the launch of my second blog Salubrious Place! Earlier in 2017 I had the idea to start another blog with more of a focus on health, beauty and wellbeing. Areas that I have so much interest in, but don’t always fit well with my first blog.

I dabbled with Salubrious Place when I initially had the idea, but the time just didn’t seem right. I didn’t have it planned out well enough and found myself becoming overwhelmed, a little like spinning plates. I’ve had many months to plan now though, so I’m determined for 2018 to be the year I really get Salubrious Place off of the ground.

So now I have two blogs, that are in a lot of ways connected, but also very separate. I’m ready for the work load and even more than that, I’m ready for the learning curve! 

 

Finding time for the day job –

As well as all of this, late in 2017 I was offered an opportunity to go back to hairdressing one day a week. This isn’t something I’d been planning on doing, but it’s another string to my bow and something I just couldn’t say no to. It’s still a self-employed role and I choose the hours that I work, which means I can fit it around Hubs’ shifts to avoid any childcare issues.

I must admit, the first few weeks were hard. I’ve never left the girls to go out to work before and as much as I know people do it all of the time, it wasn’t the norm for our family. I very nearly quit before I’d even begun as I was so bothered by having to leave them. Within a year or so though, both girls will be at nursery and that’ll mean I have to leave them whether I like it or not.

This year I’m going to need to be on top of my game to achieve my goals and to grow every aspect of my business further. Determination, organisation and passion are the ways of a woman with ambition! 

 

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Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Ever since I gave up my first business back in 2015, I’ve made it my mission to find legitimate ways of making money from home. For a little while I was a stay at home mum, but like many others before me I needed something else in my life. I needed to feel the purpose that comes from having a business. I missed the excitement of building up my own empire and the rush from striking good deals and making money in my own right.

The good thing about working from home, is that you have the space to create multiple income streams. There’s the opportunity to seek out numerous ways to make cash, all from the comfort and warmth of your own four walls. I for one, have never looked back since I began freelancing. The fact that I make money from home means that I’m always here for my children, as well as constantly feeding my desire to be successful at work!

There are so many ways that you too can make money from home, all it take is effort and a lot of determination. Here are four easy ways you can make money from home;

 

Freelance writing –

Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home. If you love to write and have the skills to produce good quality copy, then this option could be for you. There are numerous online platforms that provide freelancers with work at their skill level, as well as giving them the opportunity to rise through the ranks as they gain experience. The beauty of this role is that you can take on as much or as little work as you wish and payment is usually made swiftly. If this is of interest to you, I’ve written about more about making money from freelance writing HERE! 

 

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Sell unwanted jewellery –

Most of us have jewellery in the house that we no longer wear. Whether they’re pieces that are no longer in fashion or they’re just not your cup of tea anymore, often they sit collecting dust. The fact is though, that you could be sitting on a pile of cash without even realising it! You can sell jewellery for cash with little to no effort, all you have to concentrate on is the reward. With gold prices currently at a record high, now is the time to get searching through your jewellery box. The best bit about it is that you can be paid for your wares in as little as 24 hours.

 

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Complete online surveys –

As much as completing online surveys is never going to make you a millionaire, there’s still the possibility to make a little extra money for a rainy day. A quick Google search will present you with a whole host of survey sites, some pay in cash, others in points that can be exchanged for vouchers and some in gifts. The secret to making money from home with these surveys is volume. They take very little brain power to complete, you can do them whilst sitting in front of the TV of an evening. Do as many as you can in the time that you have and reap the rewards!

 

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Sell unwanted household items –

As with unwanted jewellery, many of us have a house full of things we no longer need nor use. An easy way to make money from home, is to list these items on online marketplaces and auction sites. Someone else is bound to want what you have and you can use the cash to get something that you really need instead. Not only are you set to make a tidy sum from selling your stuff, you’ll also de-clutter your home along the way!

 

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*This post was written in collaboration with Post My Gold. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Finding your Blogging Feet – Success Tips from Experienced Bloggers

Finding your Blogging Feet – Success Tips from Experienced Bloggers

Entering the blogging world can be extremely daunting. Not only is there immense amount of work to get through, but there are bloggers out there who just seem to be nailing it. For those that have just opened their social media accounts, seeing others with tens of thousands of followers can certainly stop you in your tracks. Initially, reaching those figures seems so out of reach.

All bloggers have to start somewhere though. A good following and readership isn’t handed to anyone on a plate. All of these people have had to work incredibly hard to become as successful as they are. They also have to continue grafting to keep up with the fast pace of blogging, if they want to stay at the top of their game. Considering just how experienced some of these great bloggers are, I thought it would be a good idea to pick their brains. To find out the one thing they continue to do that has helped them succeed and that continues to help them progress!

The one thing I always try to remember is that social media doesn’t always reflect reality. As a blogger, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how successful someone else is. You just have to remember that they’re human too and that they’ve had to work damn hard to get where they are. It’s not sunshine and roses for everyone, all of the time! In my experience it’s best to use someone else’s success as something to aspire to, not something to be envious of.

 

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What makes those kick-ass bloggers, so kick-ass?!

 

Lyndsay from Fizzy Peaches: ‘For me, it’s got to be sheer determination and perseverance! It’s really a 24/7 job and you can’t take your finger off the pulse for two seconds. People think I’m mad for working on Sunday evenings and all the way through my maternity leave, but I’m really pleased I have as I’m seeing the rewards for it now.’

Jodie from Maidenhead Mum:  ‘I will always remember having a ‘lightbulb’ moment over photography. I’d always used smart phone photos and figured that was OK as blogging was meant to be a ‘quick and simple’ thing. Switching to DSLR quality photos has made a huge difference and opened so many doors for me. I’ve invested in a mirrorless camera which gives pro results but which is small enough for me to take everywhere.’

Beth from Twinderelmo: ‘Being surrounded by positive inspiring bloggers. Without some of my lovely blogging friends I would never have had the balls to believe in myself and ask for higher fees which has hugely benefited myself and my family.’

Pete from Household Money Saving:  ‘Focusing on SEO with the help of Yoast. It took me a while to realise the importance of keywords, so people can find you through search engines.’

Samantha from North East Family Fun: ‘Increasing the amount I post definitely helped (I have posted 5-7 times per week for the last 3 years) and teaching myself SEO. My blog can easily have over 2000 views per day if I do nothing at all thanks to good SEO on older posts.’

Laura from Edinburgh with Kids: ‘I’m definitely still working on this but having self-belief and not under estimating my own worth. I still sometimes feel like a fraud in amongst very talented people but realising that people do want to work with me (and pay me!) helps!’

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies: ‘A good network of blogging friends who I can turn to for support and advice.’

Eva from Captain Bobcat: ‘Other bloggers. Without the knowledge they’ve shared with me  (and I keep learning something new every day) I could have never reached where I am now.’

 

A huge thankyou to all who made this post possible!

 

 

 

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#WorkshopWednesday – How to Boost your Pinterest Views in Just a Few Hours

#WorkshopWednesday – How to Boost your Pinterest Views in Just a Few Hours

Welcome to #WorkshopWednesday, my weekly feature with a focus on all things blogging! Each week there’ll be tips, tricks and advice on how to get your blog running like a well oiled machine!

 

When I first opened my Pinterest account, I was baffled. I didn’t really see the point to it and honestly, I found it a little confusing. That was until blogging became a serious profession for me, then I learned just how useful Pinterest can be. These days I’m a huge fan of the platform and I often find myself getting lost in its realms. The best thing about it though is that it’s a great source of traffic – if you’re getting it right!

During my first few months on Pinterest my views were always below 1K/month. This meant that referrals back to The Tale of Mummyhood were incredibly low, if any at all. Then I discovered Pinterest group boards! Group boards can be set up by anyone and that person can then invite collaborators to pin to said board, as well as themselves. The beauty of this, is that you can set board rules within the description to ensure that content added is being shared further than the board.

For example, the Blogstravaganza Group board has a rule that for every one pin you add, you have to repin one from another collaborator. Thus, increasing the views of your pins.

Once I’d established myself in a few group boards, I found that my views and traffic back to my blog went up immensely!

Where can you find group boards to join?  One of the best places to find boards to join, that are relevant to your niche is the Pinterest Group Boards Facebook group.

 

Things to remember –

  • Always find and use boards that are relevant to your niche, that way you are targeting the correct audience.
  • Always stick to the rules of the board, it’s only fair to all of the other collaborators!

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Rhian, From Tum to Mum!

#MumisBest Guest Post – Rhian, From Tum to Mum!

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now I will leave you in the hands of Rhian, From Tum to Mum!

 

Mum is best – Can we have it all?

When you get pregnant, you mentally make lots of decisions about how life might be with a family.

You may decide that you want to follow some kind of “written” guidebook of how life will be (the likes of Gina Forde). Or you might like the idea that you can fit the baby into your life and it’ll be easy to have it all.

Of course, you know it’s going to impact your life and there’ll be sacrifices, but you have no idea what they will really be until that little face pops out and drains every last smidgen of energy you have left. The chances are that the naive decisions you tried to make during pregnancy will turn out to have been a pipe dream.

For most mums I know, even though they may have been super ambitious prior to pregnancy, changes happen. Priorities change. Energy levels change. Work changes. They change.

Priorities

For some Mums, they continue their career path and choose to return to work full time. That’s fine. For a lot of us (me included) they seek a more flexible working pattern because their job is suddenly not the ‘be all and end all’ that it once was. That’s fine too. Many may not be able to change their work situations financially. Equally fine, although I’m sure they’d prefer not to. Whichever it is, that good old “Mum guilt” will go into overdrive.

I am self employed so I didn’t really take a break at all, as I’d work around the clock. I mean, I was up anyway, so I thought I may as well sneak a bit of work in whilst she was feeding. I now have a more organised structure working only during childcare or at night time if I need to.

Energy levels

Once your offspring is sleeping more, you’ll most likely feel more tired. You might now be doing those extra jobs you didn’t get around to during the day well after little one is down for the night. Or you may still be up throughout the night. In short, you’re still going to be knackered most of the time and that’s likely to influence whatever work situation you have.

Work

You haven’t been around for a long time, and in most businesses, a lot changes in a short space of time. So it’s likely that work won’t be the same place that you left.

So what does that mean?

It means that “having it all” might actually not be the easiest thing to achieve. There is a strong possibility that you’ll constantly feel as though things aren’t quite right and you could do something better. You will probably always feel as though you are letting someone down.

So here’s the thing… you’re not.

You’re doing something amazing.

Whether you’re back at work, a SAHM or somewhere in between, you’re showing your child the realities of modern life. It bloody hard and we think we can do everything. Very rarely do I say ‘no’ to much, hence working with a newborn, but seriously, it’s knackering.

There is no perfect solution that won’t make you feel as though you’ve done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson.

It’s an ever-growing debate, and there is certainly no right or wrong. You just have to do what is right for your and your family.

The way I work, I feel like my daughter knows that I am always around for then important things, but she also knows that Mummy works too. That’s her time to have fun with her friends at nursery.

So my advice is, don’t try to have it all. Try to have a good balance and continue to be uber awesome, because Mum, you are.

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