Introducing Gemma, who is a mum to two children and is an accountant by day. She blogs as 'Mummy’s Waisted', which features family life, parenting, gardening and 'The Busy Mum's Guide To' series about small business accounting.
Returning to work after a second child
Maternity leave certainly seems to divide opinion amongst parents. Lots of mums love the time spent with their new arrivals and fill their days with bonding activities and memorable moments. They'd like nothing more than to stay at home with their precious cherubs forever. However, many mums (and probably more than would actually like to admit it) can't wait to get back to work, whether that's in their original career or a new family-friendly option. There’s no right or wrong answer and there are a number of factors that impact on the decision, from finances to family. Flexible working, government childcare initiatives and the rise in extended family care have all helped to increase the number of mums going back into employment.
Returning to work from maternity leave can often be a different story when you have more than one child. Certainly my own experience was quite varied after my two bouts of ‘time off’. Here's the differences I found:
Level of enjoyment
I didn't particularly enjoy the maternity leave with my first born. Motherhood was a massive shock to me (thanks to my lack of preparation) and I spent a lot of time mourning the loss of control that comes with a newborn! I don't think I ever really relaxed and craved the comfort blanket that was my job. When my daughter was born nearly three years later, I was much more prepared for a new baby and found that I enjoyed the time a lot more.
Is the grass greener?
I also had the benefit of hindsight. I thought that returning to work after having a baby was what I wanted and that I could be the Supermum that I saw in the media. The reality was that I was hugely sleep deprived and had massive mum guilt. I felt that I was failing at work and at being a mum, and wasn’t particularly enjoying either role.
I drew on this when I went back to work the second time. I knew that I would struggle with working full time so dropped my hours and responsibility level straight away. Each week I knew that I had extra time with my children, and to catch up on non-work activities. It made the whole situation much more manageable.
When you have a child, your brain gets distracted with new schedules and things to remember and this only increases with a second. In some weird way, this actually made me more productive at work. Pre-children it was easy to take on more and more work and work longer hours, but this just wasn't an option anymore. I had to get things done in the time that I had before nursery pick up. Being at work also meant that I didn’t have time for as much mum guilt, my brain literally couldn’t fit any more in!
I’m definitely not saying that going back to work after having a child is easy, whether that’s your first or third, but it does improve after the first one!
Connect with Gemma and Mummy’s Waisted
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram