Successful career, the breadwinner or income boost to make family life easier, however much you do or don’t enjoy the day job, keeping enough time and energy for a demanding family too is a hard juggling act. Wether you are a working Mum now or considering going back to work, here are my tips on “having it all”
Child care is the number one thing to be comfortable with as a working Mum. The guilt we give ourselves at not being with our children can best be managed by the reassurance that they are in fact safe and happy.
If you are lucky enough to have helpful, loving, local parents who choose to help out, then use them! I have never been in that position and relied on a nanny or nursery until school age. Looking back now I can safely say that both were a huge help in the development of my children and I really don’t feel they suffered from not having me around, but I do feel I missed out on a level of involvement with them.
If anyone suffered it was me! When I finally gave up corporate life and moved to the country to run our own family business, I had never so much as bought a pair of shoes for my eldest son, by then age 4! That may sound crazy, but I worked eleven hour days and the nanny just shopped when they needed something.
For working Mums to work at their best, there is nothing more important than knowing they have childcare they trust and believe in. I was only there at weekends for my first two children, but they don’t love me any less than my later four and have no strange social hang ups from my absence. I may have felt I missed out, but I knew they were happy.
Placing too much pressure on your self is the worst stress. In work, decide what is possible to achieve, what needs to be done and when you need to leave. Objectives that you can’t deliver against will leave you stressed when you get home and on the wrong footing for the family.
Make sure what you do is manageable and enjoyable, for your family’s sake. In a large organisation I was always the mug, happy to take on more to further my career. I can now see I took that burden home with me, which meant my quality family time was marred by worries of work.
In our own family business I have learned, with age and wisdom, to park work and enjoy family time. It is something I have had to teach myself to do, but I know that my family deserve it and appreciate it. I still feel I work too much, but I enjoy what I do and now have more flexibility to work around the children, and this was a huge part of our decision to change career and take on Coombe Mill as a family business. Now the children are growing up, they can also see that helping me and their Dad frees up everyone’s time and earns them pocket money too.
Be careful as a working Mum of falling into the trap of gifting to forgive not being there. Easy to say, but much harder to avoid, I have done it myself. But actually what children want is your undivided attention when you are with them and to do things together. Whether it is a walk in the woods, building a camp fire together, indoor crafts or baking it really doesn’t matter, the focus on them does. You have less time with them as a working Mum – make that time count with fun activities you all enjoy.
We are all human and we all need a break.
I love my kids, my husband and I am passionate about my business, but I can still selfishly take time out to do the things I enjoy! I love sport and if nothing else will squeeze in a half hour run or cycle most days. A meal out with Daddy alone gives us both a chance to unwind and discuss our children, plan and talk business in peace and the odd girls’ trip is also a must for me. I am infact off tomorrow for a Spa day and night with friends. Time out gives me a chance to appreciate what I have, and makes me a better mother and more committed to our family business.
I am now convinced that “having it all” is a state of mind; you can have it all as long as your expectations allow it! Be realistic about what is achievable at home and at work, accept that there are compromises to make and do the ones that sit best with you and your family. Recognise what is right in your life, praise your self for all you achieve and be positive about the compromises you choose to make.
This is my recipe for being content as a working Mum and ensuring a happy family life balance.
I am sharng this post with Ness at Always Be a Friend where she invites you to share real life stories.
I love a big family gathering and this week we have had just that! A real mix of 3 generations from both Nick’s family and mine have been staying at Coombe Mill this week. It has been wonderful to all catch up together, the children have had cousins to play with all day and night and meal times with 18 have been relaxed and sociable for all. Having our new indoor BBQ has proved really handy, though there is no sharing with our holiday guests when we all squash in! Not strictly outdoor, but so very close in the middle of a field with the children coming and going, the smell of the bbq cooking and the sound of the river swishing through.
To add to a wonderful family mix we have been blessed with some of our best summer weather this year and have made the most of it with 4 days at the beach. There is no pretending that packing up so many for a beach trip complete with picnic is anything but a major operation, but it has been worth it for the hours of fun with rock pools, sand and surf down at New Polzeath beach. I am so hoping the lovely weather hangs on in there for the last week of the school holidays too!
Please come and link up with your outdoor adventures this week. Whatever you have been up to, if it involves some fresh air and fun for the children it is perfect for Country Kids. Grab the badge, join the fun and take a peep at a few others for more outdoor inspiration.
We finally took the children Raspberry Picking a couple of weeks back. We missed the strawberry season but the kids were quite happy to go for raspberries instead. It was a lovely afternoon and reminded me how much fun children can have with the simplest of days out, it is just being together with Mum and Dad when we are not working that really matters to them.
Faced with 5 punnetts of raspberries at the end of the afternoon we had a discussion on the way home abut what to make with them. Cakes and meringue were discarded in favour of Ice cream and Jam. In true kid style there was not a moment to lose when we arrived home, it was hand washing and straight into checking the cupboards for ingredients. I figured on a quick inspection had we had enough to cobble some recipes together:
2 punnets of Raspberries (aprox 1kg).
2 450g tins of Sweetened condensed milk.
1/2 tub of low fat creme fresh.
1 tub of Greek yoghurt.
Place all ingredients into the blender and whiz well.
Decant into plastic containers.
Place in freezer.
Remove and re whiz after about 2 hours when just beginning to set, then return and leave over night.
I was very brave at this stage and allowed the children to place everything in themselves, just a minor “slop” to clear up!
They all took it in turns to press “go” on the blender and felt very involved in what was essentially a really simple process!
We made 3 ice cream tubs full and the children are delighted with the result!
500g packet of granulated sugar.
1 500g punnett of raspberries.
Juice of 1/2 a lemon.
Melt sugar and raspberries over a medium heat with a dash of water.
Bring to the boil stirring continuously.
Test if the jam is ready by pouring a little on a cold plate to see if it begins to set. (approximately 5 minutes).
We made 2 good size jars and it is absolutely delicious, especially as Cornish Cream Tea with homemade scones and clotted cream, or simply spread on my homemade bread. definitely good uses of our raspberry haul! the last 2 punnets the children ate as DIY raspberry Sundae that evening!
Roll on blackberry picking, just another week to ripen fully down here in Cornwall!
Linking up with The Crazy Kitchen Photo Friday