Motherhood series: To work or to stay at home? Pt 3

For part three of this motherhood series, I feature Nikki, mum to two children aged 6 and 3. Nikki is neither a working mum nor a stay-at-home mum. She is what you would call a MSAHMAASAWM ... a "Mostly Stay-at-Home Mum and a Sometimes-at-Work Mum" and she feels very lucky to be able to combine the two. Here is her story...

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Before having kids I worked full-time as a Personal Assistant.  I loved my job and had a huge amount of respect for my boss.  I hoped I would want to return after my one year maternity leave but knew that having children would very possibly change my mind.  After my year was up, I felt okay about returning to work but I was definitely not prepared to give up spending time with my son so thankfully I was able to return to my job, in a job-share capacity, two days per week.  I felt exactly the same after having my daughter.  For a while my son was looked after by my Mum one day a week and then in childcare one day a week but eventually, as her life got busier, we put my son into care two days per week.  My daughter also had a short time with my Mum before also being in care two days per week.   

And, just for the record, the first few months of putting my kids into daycare at 12 months was AWFUL, I hated it and I cried every time I left them. It’s not a nice experience, the first few times, but as they adjust, you adjust and you realise it’s really not that bad and that they will be completely fine, will often actually thrive and I think it helps them become a more robust little individual.
Life is so busy with children and for me, personally, two days a week at work is more than enough and I think any more would be too much for me.  It is the perfect balance – two days of doing something I did before I was a Mum (the old me), two days of connecting with my work colleagues (who I actually missed while I was on leave), two days of interesting and varied work and two days of a peaceful lunch-break and drinking coffee while it is still hot!  It really is like having two days off.  Shhh, don’t tell my boss that!

The other 3 days of the week I get to be with my kids – to craft with them, to play with them, to do the school pickup and drop-off, to help out at the school and to attend their assembles.  And, of course, it gives me time to attempt to keep up with the enormous mounds of washing that our family generates, do the grocery shopping, cook decent meals (because I’m not rushing in the door at 6pm) and just generally be present at home.

Our week looks a little like this:

Monday – ahhh, glorious home day.  We don’t have anything scheduled for this day.  We normally walk/scoot my son to school and then my daughter & I walk/scoot home.  Whoever thought I’d be 43 and on a scooter but it actually makes the trip home really fun ... and fast.

Tuesday – a work day for me.  My husband drops my son at my sister-in-law’s house and she does the drop-off and pickup, which is really lovely of her and means the little cousins get some weekly play-time.  I drop my daughter at her kindy and spend 10 minutes with her at the play-dough table.  This MUST happen every time – she loves it and will not let me out of it, plus all her little friends join us at the table, which is super cute. My husband picks my daughter up from her kindy at around 4pm, picks my son up from my SIL’s house and then heads home to cook dinner.  I rock in at 6pm with dinner waiting on the table, and I have to say his dinners have improved greatly over the years so it’s true that practise makes perfect!  The kids are bathed straight after dinner and then it’s their normal bedtime routine.

Wednesday – my second work day, which is more of the same but I “kiss and drop” my son at school and then go on to drop off my daughter.  On Wednesday’s my son goes to after-school care which he said he “hated” for the longest time but now he doesn’t seem to mind it.  He’s really only there for about ½ hour before my husband picks him up so it’s not much to tolerate.  The nightly routine is exactly the same as Tuesday.

Thursday – we have dancing in the morning for my daughter and swimming straight after school for my son so with a day sleep in the middle of all that, Thursday’s often pass by very quickly.

Friday – we normally try to walk/scoot to school on Fridays too, weather permitting (lately it has been so hot that it’s just not fun) and then at 9.30am my daughter has her swimming class.  This is normally the day I try and do our weekly grocery shop so the morning is over before I know it.  The afternoons are free, though, which is a nice way to finish the week.  The Friday just gone we went down to the Estuary straight from school for a splash and an ice-cream – to cool off – and it’s those type of unplanned things we are able to do because we don’t have anything scheduled in.  We like that.  My head likes that too. 

Sometimes I do fantasise about giving up work altogether, to have our time just to ourselves - and one day in the future I know the time will be right to give it up - but for now I enjoy the variety and interaction that going to work gives me.  Not to mention the extra money, which comes in very handy and is always well spent!  Plus I’ve worked for the same man for 13 years so I reckon I’d miss him as well!!
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Motherhood is...to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ― Elizabeth Stone. Because I couldn’t have summed it up more perfectly than that.  

Thank you Nikki for sharing your experience as a MSAHMAASAWM! I love that your weekly routine is so varied and though busy, you seem to be having a lovely work/life balance and enjoying the best of both worlds.

12 Responses to Motherhood series: To work or to stay at home? Pt 3

Tina Bradley said...

What a great solution--job sharing! :) Lovely pics and a beautiful essay! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

A little bit of quiet said...

Oh, look, there we are!! Thanks for sharing my story, Trishie, and I look forward to hearing what you decide to do in the very near future. x

orchid Miyako said...

Oh, sweet to read and thought how my mother tackled with both mother and having a job more than 50 years ago!!!
Lovely pictures♡♡♡

Sending you Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

Rose said...

What a lovely story. Very inspiring.

Its Mother's Day this Sunday, so I would like to take this opportunity here to wish you, Trishie and other mum bloggers a "Happy Mother's Day". :)

Beauty Box said...

I absolutely loved reading this. I'm thinking about daycare/regular babysitting so I can work twice a week at home without any distractions. My heart just went out to Nikki when I read about dropping off the kids at daycare :( I interviewed and trialed a babysitter and it was only a 3 hour session (with me in the house while she babysat and I observed from a far) - I had such strange feelings of missing Charles, guilt, distrust (of the babysitter), relief, and frustration. I know I cannot work at home if there's a babysitter there as well - I need to remove myself from the situation. Sigh...

jamie @ [kreyv] said...

It's always nice to have an employer that will work with your schedule! Best of both worlds...

Amy @ Elephant Eats said...

This sounds like the perfect balance. I wish I could do something like that after my maternity leave is up :(

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

How awesome. A few days a week sounds like a great balance. Lovely post.

Sam said...

This was a great way of balancing the two, I think her situation is really more ideal. Thanks for your kind words, hope you're having a wonderfully relaxing weekend.

Shirley Tay said...

Beautiful sharing & I love the last shot! Happy Mother's Day to you, ladies! xoxo

My Garden Diaries said...

Such a beautiful post...and such an awesome mom! She was honest and I enjoyed hearing how she balances it all! Just another example of why we moms deserve high fives for all that we do! Wishing you a lovely weekend friend! Nicole xoxo

CQUEK said...

wonderful post. Happy mother's day!