This article was written by Johanna Baker-Dowdell for Kidz on the Coast magazine.
Between rising interest rates and house prices and the need to establish a career, more and more women are working. And the baby boom this country is experiencing means many women are also mothers, combining paid jobs with parenting.
I am one of those women, balancing working from my third bedroom with being a mum to a very active toddler. I have a number of techniques to make this balancing act work, including childcare and very doting grandparents.
Fellow working mum Belinda Jackson has a supportive partner to help her juggle running her own business, Web Chameleon, with being mum to Kayla, 2. Web Chameleon was launched on the Central Coast almost three years ago.
“Our daily life currently revolves around parenting a small child and running a small business,” Belinda said.
“My husband has been the stay at home dad since my daughter was about four months old. Now that our daughter is in care two days a week he helps me in the business, which continues to grow,” she said.
Belinda agrees parenting and working is a balancing act, but makes it work by scheduling work hours around her family.
“Life certainly gets hectic here, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. In the early days it was difficult trying to work in my office (the third bedroom) when I could hear my daughter cry,” she said.
“These days I hear her laughing and having fun with daddy while I have to work!”
I do love having the freedom to create my own working hours, which often means taking breaks in the day and working at night to catch up,” she said.
TAFE teacher and single mum to Jessica, 23 months, Melanie-Jane Wood has found her organisation skills have really come into play as she combines motherhood with her career.
“You always have to allow more time with a child. I am usually up about an hour earlier than Jess so that her bag, lunch and other requirements are already done when she gets up,” Melanie-Jane said.
“I try to work when Jess is sleeping so she doesn’t feel neglected. Weekends though, I really try not to do work and have this as our time,” she said.
Melanie-Jane found she needed the mental stimulation work provided, but also loves the quality time she gets to spend with her daughter.
“I have had Jess in Family Day Care since she was five months old and she loves it. I work 14 hours a week, plus a few hours still put in at home, but I am able to spend four full days with my daughter and work three days,” she said.
“I have some really fulfilling days with my daughter and I don’t feel like she is being brought up by someone else. This is really important to me,” she said.
Like many women in my position I chose to have a child and work and I have never regretted that choice, but sometimes the two jobs collide with messy results!
I have the following six rules to keep me sane as a working mum:
- Set a routine around the days you work and the days you spend with your family.
- Use care if you need to, whether formal or family and friends.
- Factor in down time with your family.
- Separate work and home, especially if you work in the third bedroom
- Remember how important it is to you to be both a parent and work and you are doing the best you can in both roles.
- Your kids love you, not matter what you do.