Got to have a lovely chat with working, single mum, Kristy the other day. Wow, just when I thought #Mumlife was tough, enter… the single mummy. Kristy is an inspiring woman who has found a balance between work life and mum life under even harder than normal circumstances. Inspiration for those days when you’re just not feeling it!
Thanks so much for answering a few questions for all the City Mum readers, Kristy. Firstly, tell us a bit about what you, your son, Bodhi and what you do for a living.
My job is Business Development Manager for WA for a global law firm. So it is a key management role where I am responsible for finding work and new projects for our lawyers in WA and expanding the business in WA generally. I am a single mummy (and have always been since I was 5 months pregnant) to little Bodhi who is now 18 months old.
So I’m guessing returning to work wasn’t a picnic, how old was Bodhi when you decided to go back?
I returned to work when Bodhi was 8 months old. Although I checked my e-mails on a weekly basis throughout my maternity leave!
And, did you go back full time right away?
I initially started back 3 days, but worked two days in the office and one from home. I now do 3 days from the office and do anything extra from home as need be. I travel a little bit, but only for a couple of days at a time.
How long do you think it took you to find your groove with it all?
Ages! Bodhi is now 18 months old and I am definitely in a routine and Bodhi is well adjusted. I did feel for the first 6 months I was very tired as Bodhi wasn’t sleeping through the night and really struggled with just missing spending all my time with him. I felt quite distracted at work, but it made me even more grateful for my time with him when I was home.
What’s your child care situation? (day care, family/friends etc…)
Bodhi goes to an early learning centre two days per week (Tuesday and Thursday) and my mum comes to my house and looks after him on a Wednesday. I have found that on occasion my mum has been sick or wanted to go away and it makes it difficult as I don’t have a backup for that day. But I am lucky in that I can work from home if I need to when this happens.
How about bub, how did he adjust to being away from you?
I have been a single mum since day 1, and I must admit that has caused a little bit of separation anxiety for Bodhi. He was and still is to some degree so used to it just being me and him, he struggles a little bit when we are apart. There were a lot of tears for a long time when I would drop him off at day care, but they would assure me he would settle quickly. He is now much better and actually loves day care.
What did you find hardest about going back to work?
I didn’t feel that I was emotionally ready to leave my baby and given he wasn’t sleeping well at all through the night, I didn’t feel ready in a physical way either. I really missed Bodhi when I was at work and because of that I felt distracted and didn’t feel I was doing a great job at work. In hindsight I probably would have been more ready to go back once he was one, but unfortunately my financial circumstances (I have a big mortgage!) and being a single mum didn’t leave me with much choice, but to go back when I did.
How we all love hindsight! Over time, what would you say the upsides are?
Given I only took 8 months off on maternity leave my work didn’t need to replace me I was able to step back into my role quite easily. I am blessed with a fantastic job in a great company that promotes flexibility in the workplace. I would also say that Bodhi absolutely loves going to day care twice a week. It is so important to find a day care that you love and your bub loves, because that makes the world of difference. He is great socially and his learning and development is beyond his age I think because he went to day care when he did. Also being a single mum, it is nice to get dressed nicely and go to an adult environment, as I don’t get much time away from Bodhi when I am home.
What advice do you have for new mums about to embark on this new chapter of their life?
It is all about finding the right balance, for you and your bub. And also not to put too much pressure on yourself, if you don’t do any washing for a few days, so be it! It will eventually get done and everyone will survive! J I also think communicating with your employer about your transition back to work is really important. They will most likely be more flexible than what you think they will be. I felt I needed to put in extra effort and be available more than what I actually was, which in hindsight was silly!
Thanks so much, Kristy! I know there are a lot of mums preparing to return to work who will get a lot out of this!