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Tag: working mum

Is Female Success Only Judged by Achievements in the Workplace?

Is Female Success Only Judged by Achievements in the Workplace?

If you’ve been reading this blog of mine for a while, you’ll know that I’m in a constant battle with myself about work. The individual in me wants to hold down a full-time job, bring in a full-time wage and rise through the ranks. Whilst the parent in me, wants to spend every waking minute with my children, to make sure I’m bringing them up as soundly as I possibly can. What struck me and unsettled me recently, was the realisation that some people only judge female success on achievements in the workplace. Leaving being successful as a mother down by the wayside.

The reason this bothers me so much is that even though I go back and forth regarding my own work situation, deep down I know I’ll always be a mother first. I’m not prepared to go back into full-time work, outside of the home until they are old enough to look after themselves. I’m not ashamed of that, but sometimes I am made to feel a little insignificant. I was recently told that I ‘still have time to make my mark’, but what if my children are my mark? What if bringing them up to be happy, stable and respectful human beings is very best achievement of my life?

Am I privileged or lazy?

When I’m in conversation with working mums, they often refer to my situation as ‘privileged’. They think that because I stay at home, I am somehow married to a millionaire who keeps the little housewife. This just isn’t the case. Becoming a stay at home mother takes a lot of sacrifice. It’s a team effort. If i didn’t work hard in the home, my husband wouldn’t be able to work hard outside of the home. I don’t get to go out everyday and ‘do lunch‘, in fact some days I’m that busy I don’t get to eat lunch at all.

Others think that I just don’t want to work. That it’s easier to stay at home, rather than bring in the bacon. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have put all of this effort into building up an online business. One that means I can still be a stay at home mum, but also means I can still be recognised as a ‘worker’. As a side note, whoever thinks staying at home with children is for the lazy among us, is very much mistaken. Children are hard work.

You do get some people who understand what I do. They understand what it takes to bring up children and to give up a huge part of yourself to do so. Even though they seem to understand, I still feel my status as a female would be markedly higher if I had a working role outside of the home. Mother’s get judgement and sometimes empathy, whereas working mothers get celebrated.

Someone came up to me on the school run recently, handed me a leaflet and said ‘you don’t do anything once you leave here do you?’ It was for a group that I would obviously be able to attend as I’m not a ‘working mother’, I should surely be grateful for something to do with my time. I’ve no doubt that this wasn’t meant at all maliciously, but I have to admit that it cut me a little bit. I DO work hard, it just appears that all I am is a mum and you can’t judge success on that.

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog

#MumisBest Guest Post – Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog

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 Vicky from The Mummy Bubble Blog!

When hubby and I were first discussing if it was the right time to start a family one of my biggest worries was a work-life balance.

When I’m not dashing around as the cook, cleaner, drink-pourer, bum-wiper and all-round dogsbody for my kids, I work as a journalist for a tabloid newspaper.

I work from home, but my job can be extremely demanding, involves a lot of driving and drops extra hours in my lap at short notice.

I’ve also been asked to travel abroad at the last minute to cover a story with no guarantee of when I will be back home. I’ve known colleagues who have been stuck abroad for weeks on a job, it’s just the nature of what we do.

And don’t get me wrong, it is a very exciting career, but my big worry was when you bring kids into the mix, how can I possibly do both?

I want to work. It’s a valuable break, it makes me feel good to do a job I can take pride in and, let’s face it, one income doesn’t cut it these days.

However I also do not want to be a mum who isn’t there for bedtime. I don’t want long chunks of time away from my children where I don’t see them for more than a week.

A couple of nights away from my kids every now and then is the maximum I’m prepared to do when they’re this young, that’s just how I feel about that.

Every mum is different I know and some are happy to concentrate solely on work in the week and then find time for their kids at the weekend.

We all have to find our own way, but this really wasn’t for me. How could I have the best of both worlds?

In the end we decided that we couldn’t let this worry influence when we start a family. You can get too bogged down in perfect situations for when you should have your first baby.

There is no right time.

So I got pregnant, suffered terrible morning sickness which disrupted my work days hugely, and finally had our first child.

As my year of maternity leave went on, we discussed what we would do next.

There were a few factors in play here. We couldn’t afford for me not to work, we wanted a second child and soon, and how would things like the nursery run work?

I was very lucky to have supportive managers who were willing to discuss my concerns and offer me the chance to return to work full-time with hours that would work for me.

My daughter was put into nursery four days a week and spent one day with my mum. My hours were adjusted so I could always pick my daughter up from nursery on time.

This meant never missing a bedtime.

But after all that,  just two days before I was due to return to work I found out I was pregnant again.

When we started trying for our second baby I had no idea it would happen so quickly, but there you go!

I now faced a huge amount of guilt as I went back to work with improved hours, knowing that soon I would be buggering off again.

When I did come to tell my manager, he was nothing but supportive. Phew.

I went back to work for just seven months. In that time we got in a good routine that I felt really happy with.

I dropped my daughter off in the morning, then went home to work and before I knew it, it was time to pick her up again. What really helped was that she loved going to nursery.

And now I’m back in that return to work situation once again.

Except this time the nursery bill will be doubled. To put both kids in to nursery four days a week would cost more than my monthly take home pay.

So, why work? Because I want to. But I also want to be a mum. Can I achieve the holy grail of “having it all”.

The answer is no, I don’t think we can have it all. You can’t be a full-time mum and have a full-time career. But we can find a balance.

My balance is my children will be with my mum one day a week and I will work Sundays in exchange for taking Fridays off to be with the kids.

This means both are in nursery for three days. It’s still going to cost more than a monthly mortgage payment to send them but it’s more manageable.

Also my eldest will get some free childcare hours from April next year and this will help.

I return to work in January, so that’s when we will find out if I have managed to get the balance right.

So after rambling through my story, I thought I would share some tips with you from what I’ve learned over the last three years of trying to find a good work-life balance:

Talk about it with your other half. Having a discussion and deciding what the ideal solution for both of you would be is a good start. Then you can go into the practicalities of how it would work.

Do the math. How much as your bills and how much would childcare cost? Can you afford it with your salary? Would it be more affordable if you worked just three days a week? Can a relative help out one day a week so you can save a bit of money?

Be honest with your boss. If you can be upfront with your manager from the start about what your concerns are then you can hopefully meet in the middle. Most good employers will offer flexible hours as an option. Remember just because you’ve had a child doesn’t mean you’re not a valuable asset. If anything you’re more of an asset now as you can juggle like a total boss after having kids.

Let go of the guilt. Just because you have a job you love, doesn’t mean you can’t have a life outside of that. Having a child is no reason to feel guilty.

 

 

Bio:

I’m Vicky, a mum of two gorgeous girls – aged two and eight months. I live in the South East with my hubby. I love food, travel, a good walk, a decent movie and a compelling TV show to get hooked on. I’m on maternity leave at the moment but work as a journalist when not chasing around after little people.

I blog about all aspects of parenting young children – it’s  what I do all day every day after all. I like to write about the funnier side of having kids, because you’ve got to laugh sometimes! I’ve also been known to get a bit soppy about my kids. I love to share my parenting SOS tips, highlight my favourite child and baby products, and big up fun and fabulous places to visit with the family. News is a big part of my life so I’m also bringing you the latest news for parents with young children.

You can see more from Vicky here:
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#MumisBest Guest Post – Jess from The Prosecco Mum

#MumisBest Guest Post – Jess from The Prosecco 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 Jess from The Prosecco Mum!

The subject of this blog came at a time when I’ve been starting to realise how quickly my maternity leave is going and just how soon I’m going to be back at my desk working, whilst my littlest cub enters the big bad world of nursery and big cub starts a new term in kindergarten before embarking on her big school adventures!

As my bio suggests, I’m not what I’d call a maternal mum. I’m definitely not all Cath Kidston floral and home baking. If truth be told, quite often my kids drive me insane. Though that’s not to say I don’t love them an insane amount, I do. I just also like to keep a balance of ‘Jess and Mummy’ – personally, I could never be a stay at home mum (SAHM). I enjoy work, so with both children I have chosen to return to work when they were 6.5 months old.

That doesn’t mean that it’s easy juggling work and a baby…and I write this having only ever worked whilst having one child – October could be interesting when there’s two of them to get dressed, fed and out the door. That’ll be a whole other blog in itself I’m sure!

Pre-babies I went to work full time, I worked hard and then when I finished what I had to do I went home and chilled…sometimes that was on time, sometimes it was a couple of hours past ‘home time’. Hell, sometimes we just spontaneously went out for dinner when I came in too.

I often overindulged at the weekend, rolled in to work with a hangover on Monday, took every second of my lunch break and had frequent visits to the toilets perusing Instagram (on a friends recommendation.. never Facebook or Whatsapp, that’s too visible).

Anyway, that was then. Life BK (before kids).

Now, I work part time but continue to try to fit five days worth of work into three. I don’t roll in with hangovers, I barely take a lunch break and I don’t even have time for a poo. [If I could just get over the pooing at work phobia]. But these days there’s the mind battle of whether to work four days instead of three, a person who still wants a career as opposed to a ‘swan in, swan out’ part timer.

Every day is a balancing act.

But then, there’s the other side. The guilt of being, quite frankly, a shit mother. I don’t always take my daughter to nursery in the morning and sometimes I don’t even pick her up either, daddy will do it. I just can’t seem to get up and leave my desk at 5pm, so I get home just as she’s going to bed then sit racked with guilt that I’ve missed out on that precious hour with her before she hits the sack and I see her for thirty minutes the next morning before I go again.

But I’ve never been a maternal, earth mother, stay at home mum type. Quite frankly, one child at home all day everyday would drive me crazy, two of them would most certainly drive me to the bottle! Not only that but I’d spend far too much money on trying to entertain them and myself – SMP is dire and I’ve never really been one to stick within a budget so I’m often going cap in hand to my husband for a ‘top up’. I also fear if I became a SAHM then the hubster may expect that I’m going to run a tight ship with cleaning schedules, lunches and dinners planned and prepped and become an overall domestic goddess. That’s enough to get me back into the daily grind. Feather dusters really aren’t my thing.

Being a part time working mum is the perfect balance for me – and the children. I get to fire my brain up from 9-5 three days a week, have adult conversation, not have to listen to Billy & Bam Bam, Shimmer and Shine or Ryder to the rescue, Sir, earn my own money and drink hot tea. Meanwhile, the kids get to spend their days with their friends whilst being constantly entertained with painting, dancing, teddy bears picnics and trips to the woods instead of being dragged to do chores with me – food shopping and visiting the bank/post office isn’t high on their ‘must do’ list.

So what’s the best bit of my working day? Getting to relieve my job share (nursery/grandparents dependent on day) and do my other ‘job’ from 5pm-9am, so for me I really have the best of both worlds.

 

You can see more from Jess here:

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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.

 

Photo Credit

 

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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#MumisBest Guest Series – Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger

#MumisBest Guest Series – Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger

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 Romina from Mini Mummi Blogger!

 

I’m a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. I’m sure most of you would agree that, by the third trimester, your pregnancy feels never-ending! Aside from constant nausea until about 16 weeks, my pregnancy was pretty uneventful until late into my second trimester. I ended up with symphysis pubis dysfunction (https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/symphysis-pubis-dysfunction), and more than once had to work from home for several days in a row because it hurt too much to walk (and couldn’t really move, in any case!). Pregnancy is a singular experience – yes, you are performing a miracle, but you’ve got to endure relentless symptoms and pressures along the way! Needless to say, by the middle of my third trimester, I was well and truly ready to go on leave. At the end of the Christmas closure at the office, I went straight into my maternity leave one month early.

After several years without a proper break, I was looking forward to some downtime. Retrospectively, I think I wasted most of that time sitting on the couch binge watching Downton Abbey and a bunch of other shows I can’t even list now. I wish I had done something more productive and rewarding with that time.

My labour was pretty intense: I was induced twenty-four hours after my water broke because I wasn’t getting enough contractions. Obviously I don’t have any prior experience to compare it to, but the contractions got really full on really quickly and there was barely any respite in between. After nine hours, an episiotomy, and a vacuum, my gorgeous little man came into the world. Despite the elation and boundless love I felt, I was still pretty knocked out by the birth and it took several weeks for me to start feeling somewhat normal. Coupled with the difficulty of breastfeeding in the first couple of months (that’s another story that I won’t go into here), my son was about 3 1/2 months old before I could really start doing “things”.

We’ve gone for a lovely walks in the sun, read books, played with a variety of toys (that I have to keep rotating because somebody is very inquisitive and gets bored playing with the same thing for too many days in a row), and even started baby swimming lessons! I adore my little man and I love spending time with him. But sometimes, I miss doing things that I did before, like reading a novel, doing a musical at the local community theatre, or even working on my uni course. Now that he’s almost 7 months old, I’ve started finding pockets of time here and there to indulge in some of my own hobbies. I’ve really enjoyed putting together my own mummy blog, and realised that I’m at my best when I have something productive and rewarding to focus on. That doesn’t mean that I don’t find taking care of my baby rewarding or productive, of course it is. I’m talking about something that is just for me, for my own satisfaction, and my own sanity.

While I wish I didn’t have to leave my son to go back to work, the cost of living and other things mean I do you have to. I’m lucky enough to have a job that provides flexibility and understanding, which helps; and I also don’t have to go back full time, which I’m grateful for. So, as I pass the halfway mark of my maternity leave and am staring “return to work” in the face, I’m forced to think about what that means for me. If being a stay-at-home mum was an option, would I actually want that?

If I’m honest, the answer is no. I’m the type of person who needs to be challenged in an intellectual environment, as well. I love writing and thinking and learning – in fact, I’ve barely stopped studying since I first went to university a good 13 years ago. I don’t just have to go back to work, I want to. There’s nothing wrong with staying at home to raise your family, if that’s what you want and if you can afford that option. My own mother was a stay-at-home mum until we were teenagers; that worked for us because we didn’t have much family around to help look after us kids, and my dad was able to support us on a single salary. But that just isn’t for me. And I’m lucky that my son has two grandmothers itching to mind him!

Equally, there’s nothing wrong with going back to work part time or full time, even if you can afford not to. Some mothers need to feel that they are contributing financially to their family, or like they are “someone” besides a mother. Every mum needs to do what suits her best, and fits in with her own circumstances. After all, if a mother is operating at her best, feeling confident and fulfilled in all aspects, she will be better able to care for her children.

I dread the prospect of walking out the door on my way to work and seeing my bub’s sad little face because his mummy is leaving him behind. But, such is life. My ideal scenario would be to have my own business, and be able to work from anywhere. The best of both worlds! It isn’t an option at the moment, but it’s in the cards. I guess I’ll just wait and see!

Bio:

Mini Mummi Blogger is a first time mummy to a beautiful baby boy. Currently on maternity leave, she is looking to put her writing/publishing experience to good use through her blog, helping other mummies navigate through the wealth of often conflicting (and, sometimes, even discouraging) information out there about pregnancy and motherhood. She believes that every mummy knows what’s best for her own baby – even first time mums!

You can see more from Romina here:

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Louise from Lou-Ekai!

#MumisBest Guest Post – Louise from Lou-Ekai!

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 Louise from Lou-Ekai!

 

Motherhood can be challenging! Everyone tells you this but I suppose you don’t actually realise until you have your bundle of joy.

It’s challenging in a number of ways, emotionally it’s challenging because no matter how confident you are with parenting your child, there’s always that voice of doubt in your mind, questioning “am I doing the right thing?” It’s physically draining and also mentally when you haven’t had a full nights sleep.

I didn’t realise how challenging it would be, and becoming a single mother while I was pregnant, I didn’t realise that it would be much harder than I anticipated. Although I embrace being a single mum, I have so much anxiety and questions I wish I could ask someone, but nobody has the answers. This is our journey as mother and child and I hope to give him the best child hood I can provide.

Now the lovely summer weather is out I like to get out and about with my son. We either go to the park some point in the day, or we go to a stay and play group.

I’ve been looking into swimming lessons recently, and art and craft groups specially for under 5s. I think he’d like that. I think what’s important is that he gets a lot of stimulation and experiences, he loves messy play, older children (it fascinates him that they can ride bikes, can run so fast and can do things such as jumping or skipping) and he loves different environments, so I try to do different things every week if I’m feeling up to it and if he’s well within himself.

I’m a 20 year old single mum who isn’t currently working, but I go to study at university this year October which I’m nervous about because it will be the first time I am leaving my son.

Even though he is staying with family, when he’s 2 I would like to put him in nursery one day a week just so he has social stimulation and endless play. I’ve been trying to look for a Play-based nursery but can’t seem to find any in my area.

Every day seems like it’s on repeat. I wake up, do breakfast, get him and myself dressed and then we end up going out doing activities or sometimes we stay in. By the end of the day my carpets are obliterated, there’s food smashed everywhere, toys in every room and I need to clean up every inch of my home ready for it to be destroyed again tomorrow.

Because I breastfeed and didn’t introduce a bottle for expressed milk, on the night he doesn’t sleep unless I’m feeding him. He won’t settle when my mum has had him in the past so I rarely get a break. If it’s one of my friends birthday or an event, I have to plan in advance and whenever he wakes up, I have to come home because he just does not settle without my breast milk.

He’s currently 17 months coming up to 18 months, and my plans for breastfeeding is to continue until he self-weans himself which he is showing signs of. He doesn’t want the milk during the day if he’s very active, it’s just the night where he’s dependent on it. I went on a breastfeeding course and learned a lot about self-weaning. They normally do this above 18months although there’s stories of babies self-weaning before that.

Even though motherhood is challenging on every aspect, and your life changes for this beautiful human being, it’s worth it. We can’t deny as mothers that some days are harder than others, but speaking to other mums and realising that’s completely normal to feel that way, is a huge weight off your shoulders.

We are only human, and we must realise to not be so hard on ourselves. All we can do is try our best!

 

You can find out more from Laura here:

Twitter – https://mobile.twitter.com/Louekai/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/louekai/

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/louekaixo/

And check out my blog – https://louekaixo.wordpress.com

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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!

 

Photo Credit

 

 

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Lisa from What 2 Buy for Kids

#MumisBest Guest Post – Lisa from What 2 Buy for Kids

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 Lisa from What 2 Buy 4 Kids!

 

Juggling home and work life can be a challenge, but I love what I do and it’s all worthwhile! I work in the office Monday to Friday and try to do on average 35 hours a week. If I need to, I do work at home in the evenings, but I try to keep Saturdays and Sundays free for doing family things.

When the kids were younger, I was a SAHM, and I loved every minute. We had so much fun, enjoying activities, such as baking, gardening, arts and crafts, and imaginative play was a huge part of our lives! We also would meet up with other mums and children for playdates, trips to the park and activities such as Jo Jingles and Tumble Tots. But once my kids were school age, I needed to fill in the gap and extra time that had now been created. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about, but also do something that would allow me to work from home. Before I had my kids, I was a primary school teacher, so I wanted to use my knowledge and expertise as a teacher (as well as a mum).  I put my thinking cap on, and came up with the idea of setting up a website selling fun and educational toys and gifts for kids.

So, 7 years ago what2buy4kids was born. I started the business from my dining room at home. In the beginning I worked pretty much all the time, working when the children were at school and when they went to bed at night. It was handy working from home, though, as I didn’t need to rely on childcare. I could still drop the kids off at school and pick them up. The school holidays were more of a struggle and I had to rely heavily on children’s holiday camps, activity clubs and overnight stays at grandparents and friends’ houses were a godsend. I would try to have either a morning or afternoon off work now and again, so we could go to the cinema or the local park for example. Days out to the local farm, Chester Zoo etc…  had to wait for the weekends. Weekends became very special, where we spent real quality family time together.

Last year, my business had grown so much that I had no alternative, but to find larger premises with offices and a warehouse attached. Fortunately, for me, this came at the right time, as my kids were now old enough to look after themselves. I still do work lots of hours, but I do try to have Saturdays and Sundays off. Easier said than done, especially in the run up to Christmas!!!

The hardest thing about being a working mum is finding the right balance between work and home life. I sometimes feel guilty when I can’t drop and pick up from school, when I miss a school sports day, Christmas play or end of term concert, but I always make sure that someone goes in my place. I do my best to balance work and home life and that’s why I’m not always in the office. As I’ve already mentioned, my weekends are very precious, and we always try to do fun and exciting things on my days off.

Everyone’s situation is unique and different, and there’s no right or wrong answer, as to whether you should be a SAHM or working mum. My advice is to do what feels right for you, but if you are considering working, my top tip for working mums is to do something you enjoy and are passionate about – then it really won’t ever seem like you are actually working!!!

Bio:

Hi – I’m Lisa, wife to Jeremy and mum to 3 kids. Chris is my eldest, Emma came along two years later and Katie is the baby of the family. I live in a small village, called Appleton, in Cheshire. I run my own business, what2buy4kids, which is an online toyshop selling good quality toys and gifts for kids from birth to 12 years.

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Zoe from Mummy and Liss

#MumisBest Guest Post – Zoe from Mummy and Liss

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 Zoe from Mummy and Liss!

About Zoe:

I’m Zoe from Mummy & Liss, I’m 18 years old and a young mum to Alyssia Grace, I’m a Stay at home mum and I am from Somerset. First of all I want to start by making it clear that there is no right or wrong way, but whatever way works for you and your family. 

Zoe’s Story:

As I said above, I am a Stay at home mum to my now 1 year old little girl, some would say that this is a ‘cop out’ as I am not actually going out to work and contributing to the ‘money pot’ at the end of the month however in my opinion, this can be just as challenging.

Before having my daughter last year, I wanted to be a midwife or a paediatric nurse, both in which I still really love the thought of. I applied for an apprenticeship in a hospital 30 minutes away from my home, but had to withdraw my application when I found out I was pregnant. I am a young mum, so I left school and was thrown right into the deep end of motherhood. I have always wanted to be a mother, and I have stepped in and played the mother role to my 2 younger brothers when my own mum fell poorly with extreme postnatal depression when I was just 11 years old, I was actually classed as a Young Carer at the time and went to a support group once a fortnight. I am now 18 years old (nearly 19) with a little girl who is now 1 years old.

Like many other new mummies to be, when I found out I was pregnant, I panicked. I didn’t just panic at the thought of telling my parents or the pain of giving birth, but the worries about where we would live alongside the financial worries of how we would afford everything. As I said, when I found out I was pregnant I was just 16 years old. I was living with my boyfriend and his mum at the time (not ideal, but it worked for a while) Until she found out I was pregnant and kicked me out. My boyfriend got an apprenticeship and worked a job alongside college to help bring some money in for our soon to be ‘little family’. I battled for months with depression and with the help of the mental health team and the midwives, I got my own flat when I was 8 months pregnant. I applied for various jobs whilst pregnant but as soon as I told them that I was pregnant, they turned their noses up at me. Time flew by, and in February 2016 I had my daughter Alyssia. My partner had 2 weeks paternity leave and then had to go back to work full time. I was at home on my own, all day every day with a newborn baby who was at the time suffering with colic. It was an extremely tough time for me and my whole world changed when I had my daughter.

I was definitely very naive before having a baby, I assumed that when the baby sleeps I would get on with all of the housework and everywhere would be spotless. That wasn’t always the case though, I was exhausted and actually fell asleep with her alot of the time. My partner would work 8am until 5pm every night and I would always make sure his dinner was on the table and all of the housework was done by the time he got home, but I really did struggle to cope at times. I was so exhausted and in my own little bubble that I didn’t really contact anybody for days, didn’t leave the house and just got on with life. It wasn’t until somebody asked me when the last time I went outside was, and I couldn’t tell you.. It was over a week and I was getting really down in the dumps.

As I said above, Alyssia suffered with colic from about 3 weeks old – I breastfed for the first 2 weeks and she was then moved onto Aptamil formula which I didn’t realise at the time she was allergic to, hence the colic. Some days I felt like going to work would be much easier than trying to juggle everything else. I needed a break and this seemed to be the only way out but I decided that actually my baby needed me more than ever and I needed to do what was right for me and my family. My daughter is now 15 months old and usually at 1 years old alot of the working mums will be returning back to work and sorting out childcare. I absolutely love being a Stay at home mum, I have been able to watch my baby grow up and see all of her firsts which some mum’s may miss by going to work. However I can imagine its not always financially possible, for example: If you have a mortgage to pay off, both parents may need to work in order to be able to achieve this. I rent a property and all in all, it benefits me more to stay at home with my daughter than to go out and work and spend it all on childcare (earning next to nothing at all). I do quite often feel the pressure and feel like I’m not contributing enough but then I remember what I do actually do, and sometimes I feel like being a stay at home mum is actually much harder. 

I started blogging in January 2017 and moved over to a self hosted blog in March 2017 after my little girl had just turned 1 years old. My plan for this year is to build my platforms and then hopefully, if all goes well – in 2018 I plan to go Self Employed with my blog and become a “Stay at home working mum”. I plan to have my children and then when they are all grown up, I would like to maybe get back in the game and work for the NHS. 

I feel like the term “STAY AT HOME MUM” often gets read as, “somebody with children who stays at home all day doing nothing” I just want to clarify, that is definitely not the case. 

A typical day to day life of a Stay at home mum with a toddler would be: 

·        7.30 am – Daddy goes to work 

·        7.45 am – Wake up & Change Alyssias nappy

·        8.00 am – Breakfast 

·        8.30 am – Get dressed, Cuddles & TV

·        9.00 am – Alyssia plays with her toys while I pack last nights dishes away, I clean down the sides & tidy the kitchen, I also put a wash load on and fold any washing that has been dried and not yet packed away.

·        9.30 – I will sit down and spend some quality time with Alyssia, usually we will read books or just play with her toys together. She loves sitting on my lap and reading together.

·        10.00 am – Snack time, Alyssia will usually have some fruit or a biscuit with a drink around this time and If it is a blogging day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) I will post my blog post and update my social media.

·        11 am – Alyssia usually has a nap around this time but she is 15 months old now and we are slowly trying to cut out the nap times, depending on how busy we are and what we are doing. This is my time to crack on with the rest of the housework including packing the toys away for the 1000th time.

·        12pm – Lunchtime for both of us.

·        1pm – Alyssia is usually full of energy after she has had a nap and some lunch so she runs around the flat with her pram and will quite often just sit nicely playing by herself while I wash up the lunchtime dishes and clean the kitchen again.

·        2pm – Rob usually comes home from work around this time, he is self employed so it can be anytime really. (Monday we do the dreaded food shop all together or we get it delivered)

·        3pm – Snack time again (On a Wednesday we go to my Grandad’s around this time)

·        4pm – I start to prep dinner 

·        5.30 pm – Dinner time

·        6.00 pm – Bath time 

·        6.30 pm – Cbeebies & Bed 

·        7.30 pm – After Alyssia has gone to bed, I wipe down all of the sides, sweep the floors, give the kitchen a quick 10 minute blitz with the anti bac & zoflora, have a general tidy up, tidy away all of the toys and sit down to watch the soaps.

Whether you label yourself as a Stay at home mum, Stay at home working mum, working mum or just a mum.. there is no right or wrong way and you need to do what is best for you and your family. 

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Jo from Cup of Toast

#MumisBest Guest Post – Jo from Cup of Toast

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 Jo from Cup of Toast!

Being a ‘SAHM’

I am a stay at home mum, whatever that really means. I’m saying it here purely for context.

The reality is that I don’t stay at home very much. I whizz about on school runs, grocery trips and visits to parks, farms and pet stores. I organise our household, including any work that needs to be done to the fabric of the house, the decorating, the DIY, the ironing, meal planning and more. I arrange extra-curricular activities for our boys. I attend health related meetings for Munch, undertake voluntary work and read relevant government policies and initiatives whilst simultaneously keeping little people amused (although nowhere near as professionally as the likes of Licia Ronzulli!). I budget all of our variable expenditure to within a penny. Birthday presents and parties are all left to me to arrange. I’m as busy as I was at the height of my career, but is that what being a stay at home mum is all about? I wager that it’s not. Surely every parent whatever their working status undertakes these matters?

So this is what it means to me. It’s a label. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s about as important as saying that I’m brunette. Or that I have freckles on my skin. That I’m female. It’s just a label. A form of identification for those form hungry companies that need you to say what you ‘do’. To them, I’m a stay at home mum. Sometimes I’m a housewife. Often I’m unemployed. I’ve gone past the point of being particular about which box I tick or what I tell people. I’ve largely given up mentioning what I did before I had children, or pointing out that I worked part time for a couple of years when Chief was young. I even brush a lot of my pro bono work under the carpet. If other people want to focus on my stay at home mum status that’s fine, but please excuse me if to me it’s just a phrase.

For a while it did infuriate me. That people assume that my husband earns mega bucks made me cross. Comments along the lines of what I could afford were all based on assumptions, not reality. One person suggested that I could donate a large sum of money to a charity in need of help because I must be able to afford it as I didn’t work? Another questioned my priorities when it came to budgeting our income. Not going out for meals but being able to splurge on my family.

I have mum guilt just as much as the next person. I always put pressure on myself to work harder with our budget and resources, to manage my time smarter. At the moment it’s trying to find quality one to one time with each of my three children, to make sure that they know that I’m interested in them, and that I’m listening to them. That I am there to support them with their school work, their hobbies, their development. Others might be struggling to fit in trips to see extended family around their regular weekend commitments, or staying up until the early hours slaving over a hot oven in order to support their local school at a cake sale. Some might worry every day whether or not they’ll be able to escape the office in time to get home and put their children to bed. We all have various pressures, and seek to find a balance in managing them. So really, regardless of what we do with our waking hours, we’re all the same. We’re all parents.

You see, here’s the thing. I don’t wear a badge telling others that I’m vegetarian. I don’t say that I’m actively trying to reduce my dairy intake. I don’t have a stamp on my head to say that I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So why make a big deal out of being a stay at home mum? Why make it into a ‘thing’? We’re all doing our best, whatever that might look like. Whether we work full time, part time or not at all. Day shifts or night shifts, we are all making compromises. But there’s one thing that we all definitely have in common. We are all lucky. Lucky that we are getting to make these choices, or consider them. Lucky that we are in this position as parents in the first place. And that, surely, is all that should matter.
Bio:

Jo blogs at Cup of Toast about her family life, food, adventures and everything in between. She is a mama to 3 boys (aged 6, 4 and 2) and several fur babies. Jo enjoys reading, writing and eating biscuits!

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