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Written by Annette (Charliemum) on the 26 October 2007
I was always quite career minded, I only went to a good old state comprehensive but was labeled a bit of a “swot” I dreamed of being one of the cool crowd but it was never meant to be!! So it was just always assumed I would do A levels and go to university.
I did OK and ended up working for PwC, building up by my professional qualifications and climbing the corporate career ladder.
I distinctly remember a conversation with my sister-in-law about 8 years ago (because I think I upset her) she said “I bet you think my life if really boring don’t you? she had 3 young kids and had never really ever worked and I responded something along the lines of “well, yes to me it does seem really boring as I like working and the freedom of just being able to do whatever I like – go drinking after work, go work away or simply drop everything and go away for the weekend” I can see why she was upset and Oh how things change!!!
My parents didn’t think I would ever have children, so much so that when I told them I was pregnant my dad said “ooh was that a mistake?”
When I got pregnant, people were surprised when I said I intended to return to work full time after 6 months. But I was convinced it was what I wanted and that my feelings wouldn’t change.
Well, just about a year on from my return to work and we have had our ups and downs but I think things are going well right now.
I really do like my job and it is really interesting – although I am not saving lives or anything virtuous like that, I like to think I am doing some good, helping out struggling businesses and saving a few jobs along the way. It pays me well and allows us to live a very comfortable life.
Charlotte has had a fabulous time over the last year at home with her Daddy – he has done a really good job and she is a very happy little girl. She has settled into nursery (after a turbulent few weeks) and seems to really enjoy it, she is doing so many things we never did at home. Mark too found he needed some stimulation and adult conversation and (deep down) has enjoyed going back to work.
I understand totally why mums choose to stay at home and how much pleasure it can bring to them but I honestly think I would go stir crazy, I need to go to work for my own sanity. I do not feel that I have missed out on anything – I was there when she took her first steps, she started to crawl when I was at work but Mark videoed it and put it on her website and rang me at work to go and have a look at it – this added to the excitement I think and I got to bore everyone at work with it.
I have felt at times that I would prefer to be at home – I am less keen on overtime now but this is just because my priorities have changed and so my career will probably move a little slower over the next few years but that is really my choice now as I want to spend as much time as I possibly can away from work with Charlotte. Juggling work and home is tricky but then I think it is for anyone – research now shows that even working dads are turning down pay rises and overtime in order to spend time with their families and I am no different from them.
Do I have any regrets? Not in terms of Charlotte’s care, she is very happy and does not seem to miss me at all (although the big smile and cuddle I get when I get home makes everything worthwhile) but maybe I would have liked to have taken a few more months before returning to work and maybe work fewer days - who knows?
So we are going to try take 2! Things are going to change again with a new little one on the way and this time I am going to take a full 12 months off and probably return to work 4 days a week after that. I think this will give me a better balance with home and work but only time will tell!
Are any of us ever sure we are doing the right thing? I don't know but I do know that Charlotte (and the new little one) will never suffer and at the moment our weekends together are very special.