Working and Juggling Kids…It can be done!

Jo Lyle

09 May 2017 | Jo Lyle

If you are planning (or already doing it) on working and juggling the kids and your family, rest assured, it can be done.

When you first get pregnant, you have no clue what you will be like as a mum. Will I be the uber earth mum? Neurotic mum? Laid back mum? Crazy mum? The list of labels is endless. And when that human pops out without a manual, well, it is game on and best of luck to all involved.

I found that out when my first was about 9 months old, I was ready to enter back into the work force. The first hurdle was to secure day care, book in for specific days and start paying crazy fees. Then I had to look for a job, hope that I found something part-time and also hope that they would offer me the exact same days. The alternative was to first find the job then start looking for day care in the local area and pray that the media, along with all my friends were wrong in saying that day care spots are impossible to find! Either way, it’s stressful and expensive!

Fast forward a few years, 2 day care centres and another child later then here we are.

While both kids were in day care, I was paying $140. A day. Per child. All for the pleasure of working two days a week and making zero money. Breaking even was best case scenario.

But when I went to work, I loved nothing more than having a cup of hot tea and it still being hot when I finished it. I loved people saying thank you for something I did and I particularly loved the toilet cubicle all to myself! I was also really lucky to love what I did so working made me happy.

Having children takes you to places within yourself that you didn’t even know existed, both in the pure love for them and also in the anger and despair at some of their behaviour. Therefore to keep sane, I needed a bit of time at home and a bit of time at work. Work was a break from the madness at home and time for me to be me.

A huge challenge with being a working mum is building your currency. Proving that you are a great operator and that no amount of snotty puking off-spring is going to affect you doing your job. But here lies the problem. Having kids and working part-time generally means that you are not the primary breadwinner, therefore you are expected to be the one to sacrifice your working day to stay with your sick child. Proving your currency but also having to use more personal leave than many of your peers can be a huge task. But it can be done. And women (and men) all over the country are doing it!

Once my kids both hit school age, the champagne corks were popped! One pick up, one drop off, no more outrageous day care costs, I actually started making some money and the sick days fell dramatically.

I now work 4 days a week in school term and 3 days a week in school holidays and I put this flexibility down to having an awesome and very understanding boss. My challenge is that I am at work for a finite time each day. I absolutely have to pick up the kids before 6pm or I am charged crazy dollars each minute after, so I have been known to fly out the door mid-sentence. But in the hours I am at work I give it my all, as there is no staying back or doing it later. There is no time for taking personal calls, Facebook, or popping out for a quick coffee break. I am there to get as much done as many others just in a shorter time. Hence why working mums can be some of the best workers in the business. We have no choice but to be efficient, especially if we are in a rare part-time role and we want to continue proving our worth.

When you’re a working mum the jobs are endless; making lunches and packing snacks, ensuring uniforms are clean, remembering library day, reading endless newsletters and school emails hoping you don’t miss something that means your kid misses out. All while trying to get yourself dressed and prepped for your own work day. It goes on and on. And it can be stressful. But it can also be rewarding.

For me it is worth it because I love working. Sometimes I have epic fails but sometimes I get it right. I love my family and I am so lucky to be able to balance the two.

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  • Kelly Swanson-Roe

    Nice article, I really enjoyed reading it and nodded all the way through!