The Difficulties of being a working mum

Working Mum

Becoming a working mum

When I found out I was expecting Finlay, I already knew I wanted to be a working mum after maternity Leave. I wanted to be a good role model. Little did I know then how it would pull on my heart strings. I also had no sense of how difficult the financial burden would be. My choice was made though. It was difficult, but I was lucky to have a good boss who understood I needed flexibility. I returned part time on compressed hours. This allowed to balance my childcare between family and nursery. It also importantly kept the cost of childcare down. I had a great work life balance and I was Lucky. Don’t get me wrong, it was still difficult. I longed to be with Finlay. Money was extremely tight, but I knew working was right for me.

The beginning of the end

Fast forward a few years and all has drastically changed. Its been a very difficult time the past 6 months. I have been at my company 10 years in one position or another, I am well liked and respected. I have given a lot to this company over the years. However, the last few years have seen many rounds of redundancies. This year I was served my ‘At Risk’ notice, I panicked. I work as an Administration Manager (part time and in a job share). My pays not great, but its not bad for administration. If I lost my job, how on earth would I find another as a working mum, part time and at my rate of pay? They come few and far between.

Luckily, after the consultation period our team were advised there would be no compulsory redundancies. I felt relief, but it would be short lived. A meeting was held in my absence with the team. We knew Line management was changing, but at this meeting my job Share was discussed. It no longer fitted the needs of the company. My hours would being cut (and given to my job share) and my working pattern would change to ‘office hours’ only. I would not be allowed to come in early or finish late.

Fighting my corner

I sought much advice over this from legal representatives, but I had no money to pay for in depth help. citizen’s advice were great, and I also used a free solicitor consultation, and an acquaintance who knew employment law . I highly recommend Working Families, a charity which provided legal advice to me as a working mum. Time and time again, the term indirect sex discrimination came up. My company were trying to enforce an inflexible working pattern that impacted my child caring responsibilities.

I had tried to negotiate a slight change to the working pattern. This was rejected due to unfairness on other team members. I now know, that this was an unlawful reason. The company had a responsibility to at least look into how the work could be rearranged to allow the flexibility. This was not done. It got to the point where my only option was to raise a grievance. By this point I was signed of due to stress and anxiety.

I put in my grievance to try and get my company to look into how everything had been handled.  There were suggestions about how the work could be rearranged. I asked them once more to reconsider my working hours. The very next day I received a letter stating, My role old role was redundant, the contract was up. I was served my redundancy notice (which they apologized that I had not received weeks before). I would be placed on garden leave. If I could not agree to my contract, my employment would terminate at the end of my notice. My grievance would be handled separately.

So now I faced the prospect of losing my job with no redundancy pay. I was so stressed out and I felt so out of my depth. However, I knew I was not wrong about following this up further, but I was torn. Did I carry on and risk the company saying enough is enough? Should I withdraw the grievance and accept my new contract?

Moving on

At the end of the day I couldn’t risk losing my job. I withdrew my grievance and advised my employer I would accept my new contract. This means with the reduction in hours and additional childcare I have lost about £3500 a year. A huge cut. I’m not sure how we will cope financially only time will tell. I ended up being off work for almost 2 months and returned 2 weeks ago. Luckily there is no animosity, but am I happy now as a working mum? I don’t think so. My job is now only a means to an end. My work life balance has gone and I’m left thinking where do I go from here? I guess only time will tell.

Sig

NB: The situation is a lot more in depth and complicated than this post shows, this is just a brief overview but a lot more went on than I have touched upon.

Back to Blogging – Reviving Southern Mummy!

Back To Blogging

Blogging History

I wanted to write a post about why I decided to get back into blogging. I  first started in early 2013. My Son was born with Plagiocephaly, I  wanted to raise awareness about his condition, and help with fundraising towards his treatment. I had never blogged before, to be honest I never thought I was great at writing due to having dyslexia.

To my surprise, I loved it and writing about him and our experiences came naturally. I ended up collaborating with quite a few well know brands in the parenting circles. I even ended up as a brand ambassador and was sponsored to attend Britmums. Unfortunatley I had less and less time to put into the blog, juggling work (a senior promotion) and first time parenthood. The blog took a back seat and eventually with a sad heart, I abandoned it.

Creating Southern Mummy

I decided to try again last year and created southern mummy. I missed blogging, and all the friends and opportunities that came with it. After using Blogger, I decided I wanted the freedom of self hosting and taught myself all I could about wordpress. I set my site up, but I struggled to find topics, I felt lost in a sea parenting blogs. I struggled to find my voice.

I know now this was the my anxiety developing. I began withdrawing from friends, activities, social events and once again my blog. I had lost my confidence and my voice. Whereas before I had a topic, a health condition, I found it easier to tell our story, our journey. As my anxieties took hold, I questioned myself as a parent and my parenting abilities. Everyone seemed to be a perfect parent and I felt I couldn’t compete. One day I just stopped blogging (stopped being me altogether) and southern mummy drifted off.

Gaining my Confidence back

Not too long ago, I sought the courage to speak to my GP. I worried they would brush me off, but they were so kind and understanding. Although my confidence remains low and my anxiety is still very much present, I found my self more determined to move forward. I am not happy in my work and the cost of childcare is a struggle. I decided to look into ways to increase my earnings from home. I hope  that maybe once day I can leave work and support myself. What better way to document my journey, than blogging it?

Southern Mummy Returns

I decided that with this new gained confidence I would try and resurrect my blog. Blogging was a hobby I loved. As I overcome my anxiety, I want my blog to grow and flourish. I want it to follow my journey, my families journey. I want Southern Mummy to be a true reflection of our life.

Sometimes I shout at Finlay, yes even in public. Sometimes I swear in his presence (yes he then repeats this at the most inappropriate times). No he doesn’t eat organic all day.  Yes he eats chips and beans, even sometimes those ready meals. Sometimes he doesn’t have a story before bed. Sometimes I pull my hair out. Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes, BUT sometimes we play all day. I cook us lovely wholesome meals. We go days without raising our voices. Together we have wonderful adventures.  Most of all and more importantly he is loved every single moment of every single day.

What I am trying to say is we all have bad days and that’s ok.  I want this reflected in my Southern Mummy and to banish the mum guilt. Sometimes we achieve and sometimes we fail. We all have ups and downs and this will be the story of ours every step of the way.

Sig

 

25 Facts About Me!

25 Facts About Me

Well, this is my first blog post on Southern Mummy, so what better way to introduce myself than 25 Random facts about me!

  1. I don’t know how I am thirty something, I still feel like a teenager (How can I be a parent!?!)
  2. I am Mummy to Finlay.
  3. My all time favourite film is Walt Disney’s ‘The Incredible Journey‘ from 1963.
  4. Cows hate me – They actually do!
  5. I love animals (even cows).
  6. I have two cats, Milo a 13 year old ginger moggie and Sebastian a 7 year l old posh Oriental.
  7. I am Extremely shy, especially around people I don’t know – it really annoys me!
  8. I don’t really have much dress sense – as long as its comfy, hey!
  9. I LOVE cherry pie and custard.
  10. I’m Dyslexic – I love to write, I’m not sure that’s the best combo, but I try!
  11. I have a pea head – I have to buy child hats and glasses as a result.
  12. The thought of meringue currently makes me want to spew!
  13. Chewing cotton also makes me want to spew – I discovered this chewing on a duvet when I was about 3.
  14. I can’t dance.
  15. I can’t sing.
  16. I am a qualified PADI open water diver – although I need to do a refresher.
  17. We are a zombie loving household.
  18. Chris and I got engaged in 2012 – no pennies to get married yet – sad face!
  19. The news often makes me cry.
  20. I suffer with Anxiety.
  21. I have an MSc in Conservation Science.
  22. I lived in The Caribbean during 2008 carrying out research on an endangered population of Lizards.
  23. I like the smell of rain.
  24. I’m scared of Flying.
  25. I believe in magic!

Sig