This is a guest post by Emma from Mellow Mummy who blogs about remaining cool, calm and collected despite the pressures of motherhood. You can find Emma on twitter and Facebook.
When I first returned to work after my maternity leave for my youngest daughter, this time 4 years ago I made myself a set of “working mum resolutions” to help me try and focus on the good things that could come of me being both a full-time mum and a full-time software developer.
This time last year when I returned to work after daughter number two, I promised myself that I would take things a bit more seriously. Two chunks of maternity leave had not only left our family with a BIG hole in our pockets but also with quite a dent in my career progression.
So, twelve months on I'm reflecting on whether the push for career in 2013 was worth it.
I love my job. It defines me. Most days I actually look forward to going to work. Don't get me wrong, I look forward to coming home again to snuggle my girls, feed them, talk with them, tuck them up in bed and read them a bedtime story. But I also enjoy the mental challenges and personal challenges that my job offers me. And the cash!
This past year I have worked hard. I've stepped up a gear. I've taken on more responsibility. I won't find out for a few more months whether the hard work has paid off but I feel good in that I am challenging myself while still staying within my own working-mum boundaries. I finish early one day a week to take my eldest to her swimming lessons and since I returned to work last January I haven't stayed late on more than one occasion. I think I've found a good balance.. for me. The work/parenthood balance is a very personal one that no-one other than yourself can define.
My baby girl Holly is loving nursery. I'm lucky that we have found a nursery that has suited both of our girls and which I am proud and comfortable sending my girls to (given that my other searches for childcare have all been fruitless). Holly is... how can I describe her... willful. She needs the routine and physical challenges of nursery that I couldn't offer her all day every day at home.
And this past September my eldest daughter started school which was a big life change for us. It has freed up a lot of childcare finance(!) and has meant that we have had to adjust our day a little but she loves every minute of school and I am always so excited to pick her up in the evenings and find out all about her day.
Finding that balance between parenthood and work is, undeniably hard whether you have to work, or choose to work. But, if you can manage it, working parenthood is phenomenally rewarding.