Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: May 2019

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Everything Changes: Working Out the "Working Mother" Bit

It's been a big week this week and, no, we haven't sold our house. In fact, it is no longer even on the market which was both a heart breaking and entirely sensible decision on our part. How dull. We have opted to stick with the devil we know until we can afford what we want which, fingers crossed, should be an option available to us around the same time our daughter is eligible for retirement. Anyway, despite our domestic situation being something of an anticlimax, this week has heralded big changes, albeit predominantly, for me. After six and a half years of, what my brother terms, "bean counting" I have decided to change jobs. 

Taught her everything I know

This was not an easy decision to make. My current employer has seen me through two rather gruelling pregnancies, my daughter's numerous hospital admissions and appointments as well as my own diagnosis of diabetes and the rigmarole that that entails and whilst they may be one of the "Big 4" (a super uninteresting term for the most prolific Professional Services firms) they have acted like anything but. They have looked out for me and cared for me like I was part of a tight knit family (think more Brady Bunch and less Walford Mitchells). They have gone out of their way to make sure that part time working worked, not only for them, but for me and my family (and believe me, it took quite a lot of doing). They understood that I was the primary caregiver and there would be times when I was needed elsewhere. There were points when I would barely be in the office for days at a time as illness was passed from child to child (and then far too often) to parent and they never made me feel bad for it. They understood that each nativity performance was as momentous as the, undoubtedly, clashing deadline and they were more than willing to have me work from home on the rare occasion that my childcare fell through or, more often than not, when the school run took priority over my personal appearance. In short, they were bloody lovely.

Nativity performances were prioritised

The only teeny, tiny issue was that the work never really excited me. I never hated it but neither did I find myself intrigued to read further than what was entirely necessary. This was never a huge issue for me as plenty of people don't love what they do and the job still had more good points than bad. It allowed me to be the sort of parent I wanted to be so leaving never really crossed my mind. As a qualified accountant I would regularly be approached about "exciting opportunities" in the industry that I may be interested in but I knew that as soon as I revealed myself to be a part time worker they would disappear quicker than a tinder date when a bad case of herpes becomes apparent. I was accepting of the fact that I might not love what I do but I liked the people I worked with and it suited our family life. I knew that the only jobs advertised as "part time" were entry level, administrative type affairs that could never command the (albeit middling) salary to which we had become accustomed. 

It was fine. 

being the parent I wanted to be

Until I saw "the job". It was a mix of the subject I used to love and the skills I had acquired over the past six years. It had the potential to excite and engage me in a way that my current job had not. It was perfect. Except that it was full time. 

Medicine: but more people fewer animals

Now, I am all for every type of parenting: full time worker/full time parent, part time worker/full time parent, occasional worker/full time parent and full time parent full stop. Horses for courses I say, but as a family we need to balance the income with the childcare which means full time for him (the more substantial earner) and part time for me. At the minute we have no wriggle room on this but Reader, I applied anyway! The plan was to throw my hat into the ring then politely decline any further interview when informed that full time was non negotiable. I could leave the provess telling myself that I had tried my best but it wasn't to be and return to the cosy embrace of my current employer with some more interview experience under my belt. 

Then they uttered the seductive phrase that every primary caregiver - cum- worker longs to hear: "you tell us when you want to work and we will work around you". Damn it. 

Now there was a choice: a viable option. I could leave but did I want to? Staying where I was was safe. I knew what was expected of me and (since resigning have been reliably informed that) I wasn't too bad at it. It was comfortable, much like those jogging bottoms with the visible elastic that you've had since the late 90s but refuse to throw out because they don't cling to your lumpy bits the way your other clothes do. On the other hand though, there was the potential of something new; the potential of something that might make me feel good. Maybe something with a little more form but also a little, dare I say, sparkle? 

SPOILER ALERT: I took the job. 

I took the leap

So now I wait. Now I have broken the news to the people who have seen me through the most awful times and the best. I have left the warm embrace of a team I know, enjoy and understand  to move toward the unknown. I don't know what the new job will really be like or whether I will rue the day I left the almost perfect set up but the possibility of loving what I do was enough to tempt me to try. 

Fingers crossed x

Everything Changes: Working Out the "Working Mother" Bit

It's been a big week this week and, no, we haven't sold our house. In fact, it is no longer even on the market which was both a hea...