On Children, Working Mothers And Keeping Your Identity

Agghhh!

How can it be 8:20am? Where has the time gone?

My youngest is late for nursery, and if we don’t get in the car right now my 5-year old will receive a “naughty” slip at school!

Long gone is that simple child-free life when I could slowly get out of bed, spend a bit of time on my face and just worry about getting myself to work.

Instead I get rudely awoken by a hungry toddler, argue with my 5 year old about whether she’s a packed lunch or school dinner, and have a daily panic because my car keys or the school shoes have hidden themselves!

I have to hit the day running and when everyone is where they need to be I breathe a sigh of relief…

School run done – it’s time to start copywriting

Yes it can be stressful juggling kids and a full time job – but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You see I know I’m not cut out to be a 24/7 mum.

I love and adore my daughters… up to the moon and back again.

Nothing compares with looking into the sparkling eyes of your child as they wonder at each new experience, and nothing competes with the total unconditional love that pours from your heart all because of them.

But I also relish and appreciate the opportunities working mums like me have in today’s society.

You see it’s now possible to turn a passion into a home-run business that makes money. And I say it’s also possible to have a dual identity – Georgina the mum and Georgina the writer.

You see writing is my passion. It’s part of my identity. It’s how I express myself and how I explore my creativity – and I want to do it professionally.

What is that driving force for you?

There’s a throng of feminine business energy  

And I’m not alone.

Countless entrepreneurial women with children are exploiting technological advances, social media and ecommerce to create thriving businesses that fit neatly around family commitments.

The path is paved for very small businesses run by working mums to be extremely successful.

And I think one of the reasons women handle the physical and mental challenge is because we’re adept at multi-tasking – it seems it’s scientific. Apparently we have a larger corpus callosum….

  • We can type with a 4-year old balanced on our knee.
  • We can write a blog with a kids cartoon playing in the background.
  • We can prioritise work around a baby or toddler’s nap.
  • And we can draw upon the support of family and quality childcare to free up blocks of time for focused work.

But is it really possible to do both jobs well?

That’s the killer question isn’t it…

There are those days when the guilt hits me.

My Mum looked after me full-time, just like her mum did. I’m breaking that tradition by relying on a nursery to do what is “my responsibility”.

And it can be hard to handle that judgement and those emotions.

But I’ve decided to do what feels right.

I want to keep my own identity outside of being a mum. If I don’t I know I will go crazy and my kids will suffer.

Because for me fulfilment comes from juggling both jobs.

Being a self employed writer and micro business owner gives me immense personal satisfaction.

You can aspire to financial freedom. Have the flexibility to work around your children.  Explore and express your creativity.  And enjoy the buzz that success in business brings.

And I hope my children are inspired by my work ethic. I hope their background and upbringing motivates them to go out in the world and achieve their potential.

I hope the way I’ve chosen to live my life empowers my girls to see that women can achieve great things.

And if I achieve that – I will know I’ve done a good job of being a parent. Because here’s the thing. However hard you try, however much you sacrifice, however much you give – it’s a fact – you could always do more for your children.

I’m proud to be a working mother – it works for me. And I reckon I’m blessed our society is set up for women to achieve business and parenting roles in tandem (if that’s what they choose).

Has any previous generation had so much choice?

P.S: I wrote this blog for @workingmums #wmapplication. As a working mum I was inspired to put into words the challenges and fulfilment I get from juggling two small girls, a thriving copywriting business and the Micro Business Hub.

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Comments

  1. says

    A timely post, at half term when my kids are running around the house and I’m trying to do the accounts…. but it reminds me that I haven’t had to bargain with my husband as to which one of us will take time off, or tried to find a school club that my kids would be happy at (and the club would be happy to have my son with a nut allergy and my daughter with severe language delay – not common).

    • says

      The trials and tribulations of being a working mum hey! But wouldn’t life be more boring without these challenges to contend with :-) I hope you get your accounts completed in super quick time (and it’s nearly back to school)…

  2. says

    Hi Georgina,
    I completely agree with you. I was a single mum to my son for 12 years, and a working mum from the time he was 4 months old. I held down a full time job as a teacher, spending my days with 6 and 7 year olds, returning home to him every night.

    A childminder took care of him, and continued the before and after school care when he became of school age. My philosophy at the time, and it’s one I still stand by, is that a happy parent is a happy child.

    Living in a household that has happy, fulfilled adults in it (or only one) , where there is enough money to cover the bills and provide a good standard of living, is one of the best possible starts in life a child can have. The strain of being bought up in the opposite environment is potentially damaging.

    My son is now 18; he is a sensitive, well rounded, hard working, emotionally literate young man, who is off to Universtiy later this year. I am proud of him, and our special years together, when it was just him and myself, remain a testament to the fact that working mums can, and do, set fabulous examples to their children :)

    Sue.

    • says

      What an uplifting story and a great takeaway – “a happy parent creates a happy child”. It can be tough having to take the decisions working mums face, especially when children are teeny tiny. But I agree, the rewards payoff. I relish being a driving force behind the environment my children live in and I hope when they grow up they will appreciate the choices we made.

  3. says

    Great article Georgina. I think it is possible to have it all as long as you are not striving for perfection (which doesn’t exist!) or expecting to achieve results in your business at the same speed as people who are working 24/7 with no other responsibilities.

    I adore my kids and love being able to pick them up from school 4 days a week (I take one full day working). But I also love being able to say “I am Anna, I have my own business”. Not “Anna who used to be a management consultant…! ”

    Planning and organisation is key for me. Having systems to make sure everything has a home and we are not searching for things. Routines which my boys understand so that they can become increasingly independent, and as you said, keeping blocks of time sacred for focussed work.

    • says

      Some great tips there Anna and so true that you do have to accept the fact you will not be able to do as much as people who can work 24/7. I guess the compromise is the wider experience that comes with juggling children and business. I must follow your advice of being more organised and stop wasting time hunting keys and shoes!

  4. says

    I agree Georgina and have an interesting perspective from the ‘other end’ now – as my children (two girls and a boy) are older, the girls are both at university, and they DO say how proud they are of me, how inspiring they find me and how it helps them see what they could achieve in their lives if they really want it. It has helped them to see that there is a life outside the corporate world too! It is a strange phenomenon that the more you have to do, the more you fit in! “Give a working mum a job and she will do it more efficiently that someone who has less to do…” So they often thank me for spending time helping with their essays, or suggesting ways they can make money in the holidays using their artistic and musical skills etc, and they say they can’t believe I have time to do and think about these things when I am running my own business… But it is having that flexibility to work whenever, and wherever I like, that allows me to do that – and yes, what other generation had that luxury!

    The dishwasher/washing machine/iphone/laptop/reliable car have all given me the chance to be a mum and a business woman, and feel fulfilled (tho exhausted!) in both – and my poor Mum never had that chance.

    Big 3 cheers for all the fellow working mums!

    Lucy

    • says

      Lucy that’s amazing. I hope my two small girls feel about me the way your grown up girls feel about you. You can never reclaim time and you only know if your decisions were the right ones with the passage of years. You’re experience has given me confidence that my choices are the best ones for my family and my two amazing children :-) Thanks for sharing.

  5. says

    I, too, went back to work when both my children were 4 months old, into the capable hands of a lovely childminder. Those days were kind to us because our childminder was like a second mum. But after a divorce and moving away from the area I became a ‘lone’ parent when my son and daughter were 7 and 9. I tried to continue full time working but it wasn’t a good arrangement for any of us so 2 years ago I set up my own consultancy. Now my two they are 15 and 13 you can’t ‘hand them over’ and I don’t like the thought of neglected kids in the holidays. Even though my work takes me on the road, and sometimes long distances, I am still around when I need to be, juggling it all as usual. And the kids aren’t a bit averse to stuffing envelopes either :)

  6. says

    What a great post Georgina and I know where you are coming from. I am an accountant and went back to work after my first son was born and I found it very difficult and stressful to juggle work and home-life with very little support from the office! After my second son was born I decided it was a perfect time as I had a years maternity leave to try and set up my own on-line business selling children’s clothing. It is going really well and giving up my day job was the best thing I ever did.

    You can’t beat running your own business although I do feel I work harder now than I ever did before! (evenings, weekends, during nap times etc….) I now have the flexibility to take time time off if my boys are unwell or to cover holidays. I am there to pick them up from nursery at a reasonable time…..Life is hectic but fun!

  7. says

    Great post. I think that my story is similar to many mums. After my son was born and the maternity pay had come to an end I needed to do something. Going back to full time employment didn’t work for me. Taking the cost of travel and childminding into account the result of my full time job would have been a very part time wage! It just didn’t make sense so I set about developing my own business. Its been hard work but definitely worth it. It means I can balance being an active mum and a business mum. My business is partly inspired by our kids, so business and family life can overlap to the benefit of all. If your a parent finding yourself in the same trap as me I would definitely encourage you to take the plunge. Start small and build carefully with sensible targets as your family grows. Get it right and who knows what could be possible for you!! The one thing you can be sure of is that you are not alone. There are plenty of likeminded people out there happy to offer a helping hand as Georgina’s post and comments testify! So what are you waiting for???

  8. says

    Georgina, this is so how I feel too, I love being a Mum, but I love our family business too, more than just for the money, for the passion and commitment of seeing our own business flourish. I have also written for Working Mums on just the same subject! I will dig it out for my blog, you will laugh at how similar the sentiment is to yours here!

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