The Dawn of a new era: Mama’s first day at work

So, today’s the day. It’s actually happening. I’m going back to work.  

As I type this, I’m sat – that’s right, I got a seat! We’re not in East London anymore Toto! – on the train commuting into London, squished between a sleeping woman (sensible lady) and a woman reading on her Kindle. The three gents squashed opposite us are all also on their phones. 

Despite this very real commute, the idea of going back to work still doesn’t feel real. 

I left the house at 7:40am with Little Miss running out from the kitchen waving like a mad thing shouting”bye bye Mummy! Good day! Bye bye Mummy! I wuv oo! Bye bye bye bye!”  

And yet still it doesn’t feel real. 

Little Miss is still off nursery with croup. The OH is off work with her today, which was rather surreal leaving him behind in jeans and hoodie saying, “don’t forget that colours wash, please”. Ah, how the tables have turned… 

And still it doesn’t feel real. 

I’ve got my sandwich (packed for me by the OH), I’m in shoes that pinch, I’ve got a posh bag on my arm with no tiny books, no travelsized train or snack pots taking up space inside it. Just grown up stuff like headphones, lipstick and notepad (though couldn’t bring myself to leave the tissues at home – some habits die hard!). 

And still it doesn’t feel like I’m actually going to work. Properly going to work. It feels like after today, maybe tomorrow I’ll be back to my usual Monday morning of hunting through job listings and calling round the recruiters… 

I wonder when it’ll sink in…  
Read more about my #unemployedmum journey here and about when I got offered a job after two years of job hunting here

This post is part of the My Captured Moment kinky run by Running In Lavender.

Parents at Work: changing perceptions and raising awareness

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Late last year, I published a post titled The Unemployed Mum about my experience being made redundant on maternity leave and my arduous job hunt that followed.

The response was overwhelming. Not only was I featured on Mumsnet’s front page – a personal blogging high for me so far – but I had emails, messages and comments from women all over the world with similar, sad stories of their own. I was shocked how many other women have been affected by the issues I discussed in my post. CSuX5yqWEAAIZaX

I’ve heard stories from women who have been forced to return to a lower level role after Maternity Leave, who felt they had no choice but to resign because their employer was unable to accommodate their needs now they a had family, or who, like me, can’t seem to find their way back into the work place but so desperately want to.CSuViB8XAAAD3Y8

Two organisations also got in touch; Maternity Matters and Maternity Action.  The latter is a charity who offer advice and support to pregnant women and new parents on their rights in the work place. They also provide resources for employers to help them understand and navigate the laws, including the new shared parental leave and encourage fair treatment of parents in the workplace. (For more information, click here.)Infog-Wk4-2-Slider

Sadly, these issues aren’t going away and many parents – mothers in particular – still suffer discrimination in the workplace for being parents. This is not a subject we can afford to brush under the rug any longer. This is the 21st century. The time to act is now.

So, to help elevate the issue and raise awareness, I’m kicking off a new series on the blog featuring your stories. Whether you’re unemployed, on parental leave or returning to work after a career break to look after your children; whether you’re a mum or a dad, whether your struggles are on-going or you’ve found a solution by starting your own business or working for a sympathetic employer – I want to hear from you. 

All interviews will be anonymous for both you and employers or companies mentioned during the interview. The aim of the game is not to name and shame but to raise awareness of the issues and try to change perceptions of parents as second-class working citizens.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Flexible working policies are improving nationwide and with the introduction of shared parental leave in 2015, some employers have ‘got it right’. I’d like to use this series of interviews to tell both sides of the story and ‘showcase’ businesses with a winning formula for a positive working environment and company culture that supports working parents. So, whether you’re an employee who would like to nominate your employer and discuss your experience or you yourself are an employer who’s ‘got it right’, please do get in touch.

If you’d like to feature on Finding Our Feet as part of the series, you can email me, tweet me, Facebook me or leave a comment below and I’ll be in touch.

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FINDING OUR FEET IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH OR SPONSORED BY ANY OF THE ORGANISATIONS MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS POST ARE INDEPENDENT AND MY OWN. 170x30bwi

Pointing our feet (and our lens) on our next adventure with Mark Warner…

Mark Warner recently announced they are looking for their next wave of parent blogger ambassadors – cue the blogging world on fire with #MarkWarnerMum / #MarkWarnerDad posts, in which, we are to describe our perfect holiday.

‘The perfect holiday’ is hard to pin down. But one we’ve been looking forward to since we fell pregnant includes mountains, snow, fondue (and if Little Miss has her way, lots of singing ‘Do you wanna build a nomaaan‘. NB: this wasn’t in our original imagining…)

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The OH and I have both hit the slopes almost every year since we were three and our mutual love of skiing was one of the reasons we originally got together. (The OH – who trained as a ski instructor in a previous life – likes to think he wowed me with his skills on the University ski trip. He didn’t realise I was letting him teach me things I already knew so we could spend time together…)

For us, learning to ski is almost a rite of passage for Little Miss and next season is set to be her big debut. We are so excited – the garish hand-me-down salopettes are already waiting in the wings.

The other flutter of excitement when we were pregnant (aside from the obvious) was thinking about the photography opportunities to come, not least our collection of Holiday Feet Photos.

On our first holiday together (celebrating our 21st birthdays) in idyllic Mauritius, we took a photo of our feet with the sunset in the background to commemorate the holiday. It became ‘our thing’ and we have taken a photo of our feet on holiday ever since. (The blog Finding Our Feet came years later and surprisingly, wasn’t actually related to this tradition at all.)

This collection of photos is incredibly close to our hearts and watching Little Miss grow through the collection has only made it more special to us from our first family holiday, to the holiday she took her first unassisted steps, to her first time seeing a beach. But I think the pièce de résistance will definitely be documenting her first time in ski boots.

We do, however, take photos of more than just our feet on holiday. (Because that would be weird.)

We’re predominantly self-taught, though the OH, the true photography fanatic between us, reads endless blogs and books on the topic.

He captures beautiful landscape shots with our DSLR (and for the first time in his life he’s now up in time to see the sunrise on holiday, thanks to Little Miss). He also has an eye for portraits, though these are becoming harder to set up with a whirling dervish toddler.

This is where I come in. Having spent two years at home with Little Miss, I have become rather skilled at ‘capturing the moment’. I too am never far from my camera; my iPhone is my weapon of choice, usually because I don’t have time to grab the proper camera. It’s more of a snap-it-or-miss-it affair.

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Perhaps the more unusual aspect of our photography is that we never show our daughter’s face in full.

I started blogging twenty weeks into our rather unexpected pregnancy. As our due date neared, we started reading about the issues facing Little Miss’ generation – the first to grow up online. We took the decision to protect her identity as closely as possible until she is old enough to choose how she wants to interact with social media and the online world.

This, however, hasn’t stopped us capturing Little Miss on camera literally thousands of times over the past two years. We have a separate library for use on the blog, either that can be edited effectively or that are taken from an angle that doesn’t show her full face.

And I hope you’ll agree, we’ve gotten pretty good at it…

Disclaimer: although it may look like we’re a small family of three, we’re actually a family of six. Lambie, Doggie and Mog (the rabbit) would of course be accompanying us on any and all Mark Warner trips. Rest assured, they’re relatively low maintenance guests – it’s just Little Miss who’s a Diva without her nap…

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See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

Find our reviews and recommendations for places to go with kids on Foursquare

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN AS AN ENTRY INTO THE #MARKWARNERMUM BRAND AMBASSADOR COMPETITION, UNDER THE PHOTOGRAPHY CATEGORY. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THEIR SUN AND SKI HOLIDAYS, CLICK HERE170x30bwi

Meet the Parents Podcast

Usually on a  Thursday, I post a little photographic update of whatever we’ve been up to that week. But with Little Miss starting at her new nursery on Monday, I don’t actually have that much to report. Turns out when you don’t look after your child five days a week, although your time increases tenfold, your content possibilities diminish substantially.

Instead, I thought I’d give a little Amie update.

Last month, Tim of Slouching Towards Thatcham featured me on his podcast, reading my post The Unemployed Mum. (You can listen to the episode here.) Shortly after, he contacted me about a new venture.

His vision was to host a podcast with a team of mums and dads chatting about real experiences and real issues facing the parenting community today. The plan was to have a team of regulars who feature each week on the panel with some guests along the way.

Well, last week episode one went live with Tim (husband, dad of three and our podcast producer and editor ), Hannah (mum to 19m old Toby with Baby Girl on the way), Julian (not-so-secret country music lover, husband and dad of two) and Vickie (wife, mum of one and grew up the eldest of seven!).

This week, episode two features the rest of the gang – Dave (husband, stay at home dad to one and football fan) and Mark (husband, dad of three nearly fully grown offspring and full time writer) and myself (girlfriend, mum of one and returning to work next week).

Some long time readers might remember I launched a similar podcast this time last year. Unfortunately, I was not as adept at the techie side as Tim is and was unable to keep it, the blog and my job hunting all going at full steam, whilst also looking after Little Miss. I’m loving being back in the podcasting seat, especially without the stress of the editing.

So, if you liked The ParentCast last year, if you like this blog or just fancy some easy listening, give us a listen. We’re so that bad… honest…

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunesand Android or via Spreaker or our RSS feed.

Find out a bit more about the team and where to find us here

 

Mummy Bashing: think before you type

My Mummy friends often text me with their woes and hilarious anecdotes of bodily functions and toddler life saying, “you should write about this on the blog!”

But a short while ago, I received a message from The Illustrated Mum about the never ending Mummy Bashing she witnesses, or worse, falls victim to.

She forwarded our close knit group of five the messages received in a parent Facebook group. The messages lead me to just one question:

Ladies, what the hell is going on? 

Parenthood is a assault on all your senses, especially for first timers. You’re exhausted, you’re swimming up shit creek (quite literally) without a paddle and you haven’t got a clue what’s going on. But this doesn’t mean you should lash out at other parents online.

During my pregnancy, like so many women (and men) today I signed up to BabyCentre.co.uk. I joined my Birth Club (a message board for women all due the same month as you) and started connecting with other mums-to-be online.

I was taken aback by some of the things women would post on this board. Everything from photos of themselves (with bump) in just their underwear to worrying questions that should be directed to a midwife or even A&E.

But stranger to me still was the bitchiness and the lack of support by some women, telling each other off for drinking caffeine during pregnancy or for asking a “stupid question”. Very quickly, I stopped writing on these boards, fearful I might fall victim to these brutal responses. I became more of a voyeur, searching the boards for relevant answers already posted rather than inviting a fresh response.

That being said, I did find a few local meet up groups through these message boards, and there were also some lovely moments of solidarity. One that sticks in my mind was the lady who posted asking “Has anyone heard from NewMum12345?”. Previously an active user she then suddenly disappeared from the board for over a week. We were all around the 30 week mark at this point and there was concern something might have happened to her or her bump. After a few days, someone else posted saying they’d got in touch with her and though they’d had a little scare, all was now well and NewMum12345 was just resting up and taking some time out.

The Community Managers also did a stellar job of keeping trolls at bay. They would shut threads down, dole out warnings where necessary and remind everyone we were here to support each other, not tear each other down. (They were also the first ones to suggest a woman should seek emergency help when those worrying questions would appear.)

Once Little Miss was born, however, I lost interest in the message boards. I joined a few local Facebook groups for mums and put my energy into keeping my daughter alive and finding real friends in the flesh.

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The Facebook groups are a great way to find out about activities in your local area, adhoc events or even to sell unwanted baby gear to make room for the next wave of clutter. But the problem with Facebook groups, is they often don’t come with trained Community Managers. They’re set up by peers and local parents who don’t have community management experience or any knowledge of how to keep trolls at bay.

There also seems to be a major issue of digital detachment. People type before they think. It can feel as though there’s no consequences for online comments; no hurt in the other person’s eyes, so tears, no quick retort or swift slap to the face… (NB: I am not advocating violence in response to Mummy Bashing). Without a second thought, at barely even the click of a button, you can send the most hurtful words out into the world to bounce off whoever  is at the other end, which in these parenting Facebook groups, is often a total stranger.

It worries me what example we’re setting for our children, who are growing up in far more of a digitally connected world than we ever had to deal with when we were children – and I speak as someone who had a computer at age five, her first mobile at age nine and joined MySpace at age 14 (remember when that was considered young for social media?).

These children will grow up into a world where it’s ok to hide behind a screen, to pretty much abuse each other online and then when they’re face-to-face, what? Will they have any idea how to act? How to talk? How to reason? How to communicate in a civilised way?

Natasha from MamaDuckQuacks.com manages the Facebook group Wait It Out Mummiesa global group for mums who want to gently parent their kids.

Natasha had no community management when she started the group, but as a blogger and a gentle parent, she saw a ‘gap in the market’. Over the years, the group has grown to over 1000 members and Natasha has learned on the job how best to deal with trolls and unwanted messages. Her ‘House Rules’ are simple: if you post something offensive, there is no warning, no second chance, you’re simply deleted as a member.

Harsh? Maybe. But effective in keeping the group a positive, supportive and a safe environment for those who wish to use it as it is intended.

 Unfortunately, after speaking to both mums and dad with kids of a variety of ages, this does seem to be more of a female issue. Sure, dads can be just as nasty as the next person, but in my small population sample, female bloggers, mums and and women online in general seem to ‘invite’ more of this nastiness from other women than men do. Perhaps that’s because dad blogs are still somewhat of a commodity, perhaps it’s because women are traditionally more bitchy, or perhaps there’s just more sleep deprived and grumpy mums at home with nothing to do than chat to strangers online. 

But whatever the reason, I remember when I was growing up, my Mama used to say to me, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Twenty years on, it still rings true. Whether you’re male or female, have a newborn or a sixteen year old, breastfed or bottle fed, let your kid live on Domino’s for a year or they have only ever been fed a purely Organic, homegrown vegan diet since the day they were born – I don’t care and neither should you. Support each other. Parenthood is hard enough without the Mummy Bashing.

We all need to go back to basics and hold ourselves accountable once again for the things we say, do and type. We’re all grown ups here. So start acting like it.

photo of mum dressed up as romanian gypsy for birthday party

Gypsy Mama {The Wonderful Ordinary 16}

A few weeks ago, Auntie Chatterbox called me with a special request (FYI, she’s eight);

Amie… You know it’s my birthday in February, well, we’re planning my party and we’re doing a sort of fortune teller gypsy theme. Well, Mummy says you used to be a Fortune teller so I was wondering if you would mind coming and reading my friends’ fortunes, please, please, please?

I feel I should pause at this point to clarify: I have never been a fortune teller at any point in my life. This was GranPam’s way of taking advantage of my drama background and dropping me in it so I couldn’t say no.

Well, on Saturday it was Auntie Chatterbox’s ninth birthday party and as requested, I became Mystic Amie for the day, complete with oh-so-PC Eastern European accent and homemade tarot cards.

My Mother-in-Law secretly provided me information about the girls attending such as their birth dates, which boy they like or what their hobbies were to give the allusion I really possessed clairvoyant skills. They came into my lair in groups of three to hear their fortunes and it worked a treat. Even the birthday girl was in awe of my fortune telling skills.

For the girl who’s parents were dentists, I saw a vision of teeth. For the girl who was ‘madly in love with Felix’, I saw a figure… a boy… and the letter F… For the girl who had recently changed schools, I saw much change in her life but the cards promised it would settle soon and she would find peace once again…

As the afternoon went on, I started to feel quite guilty conning all these eight year old girls! Apparently my MIL was receiving texts from the mums that nights saying their daughters were utterly convinced they were having ‘x’ children when they grew up or that their future held a crossroads and they would have to choose a path to follow…

Meanwhile, shortly before the party, my little Gypsy Baby was put down for her nap with a cuddly toy she had found in Auntie Chatterbox’s room at taken a liking to. Only, when the OH heard her calling for him to come and set her free after nap time, it turned out it wasn’t a cuddly toy but a pencil case full of marker pens.

We don’t think she did much napping in that hour. Oops…

Looks like Little Miss is right handed then.

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See more Finding Our Feet The Wonderful Ordinary posts. 

This post is part of the My Captured Moment linky from Running In Lavender.

 

The Return of Speed-Mumming

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about how utterly useless I was at Speed-Mumming; the impossible task of making parent friends as your toddler tears round the park / playgroup / soft play / library / coffee shop / wherever leaving chaos in their wake.

I wrote of how you have literally the split second that is your toddler’s attention span to make a good impression, gage the other parent’s reaction and assess whether this is someone you want to exchange numbers with, then actually manage to swap numbers without your toddler swiping your phone from your hands screaming, “Sleeping Bunnies!!! Snowman!!! Sleeping Bunnies!!!” as she demands you to play her favourite songs. (Maybe that last part is just me…)

Well, of course, with moving out of London, I’m starting from scratch all over again. While I obviously haven’t just dropped my existing mum friends because we’ve moved, they’re no longer on the doorstep and within easy reach to meet for coffees or a run around the park with.

I’m lucky in a way that I’m returning to work at the end of February, so it’s only a couple of weeks I have potentially long, lonely days ahead of me for. But equally, it’s arguably easier to meet other people in our new town via the playgroups while I’m off work.

So. Once more unto the breach, dear friends…

Last week, I was sorting the house, viewing nurseries, etc. But by Thursday, I was feeling lonely and missing having my friends near by to call on for an hour’s rest bite and other little ones for Little Miss to socialise with. I couldn’t find any playgroups online for a Thursday, so we went off explore the town and find the playground.

 The playground was completely empty.

Where were all the mums!? We had the playground all to ourselves the whole 40 minutes we were there. I couldn’t believe it. Eventually I gave up and I we headed home for some lunch.

The OH had Friday off to help sort bits and bobs. We took a break to give Little Miss a run around and headed to the park once again.

When we arrived there was another youngish looking mum, with a three year old boy and an under one. Little Miss watched the little boy closely and followed him round for a bit, laying solid ground work for a first move.

The OH complimented the little boy on his dragon wellies and got the conversation started. (What we learned from Friday is that the OH is naturally far more skilled at this Speed-Mumming than I am.) After a time, the little boy decided he’d had enough of the jungle gym and headed for the swings. The mum dutifully followed.

“Amie, go ask her about playgroups and stuff. Say you’ve just moved here and you don’t know anyone. Ask for her number,” the OH whispered, “She seemed really nice, go on.”

A few more minutes passed of me getting cold feet before he basically forced me over to her.

Turns out, she lived about 30 minutes’ drive away and was just passing through our little town. She didn’t know any playgroups. What shit luck. She was indeed very nice but I didn’t ask for her number.

So this week, I thought I should bite the bullet and suss out the playgroups…

Apparently the Town Hall is where it’s at on Monday mornings. We had the usual fun-filled morning getting Little Miss dressed, her being exceptionally picky and pulling everything out of the drawer until she found what she wanted (snowman leggings today, FYI. Silly me…) then the regular wrestle with a jumper before the everyday coaxing and negotiation into a coat and finally, the buggy.

But we actually made it to playgroup bang on 10 and two youngish mums were both struggling with their buggies up the stairs when I arrived. They were friendly enough, showed me where to go and explained if you go round the back there’s an elevator, but they were being lazy… This friendly exchange from the off boded well.

While most of the other mums stood round the edges drinking tea, I had to sit with Little Miss wherever she was playing and not leave her side; she was quite shy with her new surroundings and was feeling tentative with no familiar little friends of her own to boost her confidence. (I knew how she felt.)

As we sat at the kitchen making tea and frying a green pepper for our “din dins”, a brunette lady and her son sat beside us.

Clearly this lady was much more adept at this whole Speed-Mumming charade than me (who isn’t). She was straight in with,

“My son loves making tea too.” And so it began. Less than a minute later she’d given me her name and asked mine as well when suddenly Little Miss had hold of my hand and we were off to another station. But I took heart that I’d made a good start.

At the slide, I got chatting to a blonde mum. Brunette Mum joined us a few minutes later and it turned out she too had recently moved here from London and knew no-one (perfect!) and Blonde Mum was from the same town as me originally, albeit we grew up about ten years apart. Things were going well when suddenly a little hand tugged me towards the play dough.

Blonde Mum joined me at the play dough and we talked about suitably mums-y topics before she suddenly had to dash off to collect her older one from nursery. No number exchange, but a very friendly good bye. Not quite a Speed-Mumming win, but not a crash and burn either.

As playgroup ended, Brunette Mum passed me in the hall en route to her buggy and said, “maybe see you next week?” And – I am very proud of myself for this next bit – I replied,

“actually, Little Miss is starting nursery next week so probably not. *pause* Do you want to exchange numbers though? We could meet for a coffee one day or something instead or playgroup?”

And we did!

Self-five!

I could have done a little victory dance on the spot I was so pleased with myself. But of course, I didn’t, because that would have been really weird and then she may never had replied to my text whenever I decide to send one.

Last year when I wrote about Speed-Mumming I spoke about how I had no experience of dating and basically no game whatsoever… Case and point…

So, about this next bit: The Text. How long should I wait? Do I text during today’s nap time? Or maybe waiting a day is more acceptable, don’t want to seem to keen – although let’s be honest shall we, I’m uber keen.

I’ll keep you posted…

(And in the meantime hope Brunette or Blonde Mum aren’t somehow randomly readers of my blog and weirded out by being written about on the internet by a total stranger and so avoid me ever more………..)

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Moving house with Little Miss

We did it! We’re in the new house and we have four boxes left to unpack (which have been left sealed due to a severe lack of shelves for books and photo frames, which we intend to correct this weekend).

Little Miss has been an absolute star. The entire operation hinged on her mood and how well she’d cope with the massive upheaval in her little life. And so far, we have been blown away by how well she’s coped (please, please don’t let me jinx us!). She’s even sleeping well (though woke up the first two mornings at 4am freezing as we had set the heating wrong – but that’s not her fault even if it was a rough start)…

On Friday, the movers arrived about 8:45am and started loading the van pretty much straight away.

At 9am, Little Miss said she was hungry and proceeded to sit in the highchair for the next hour happy as a clam watching the men cart boxes out of the kitchen-living room around her as she munched her way through three weatabix and 1.5 oranges. (She’d barely eaten for three days previous due to such a high fever. We didn’t intentionally starve her to keep her out of the movers’ way – that was a happy accident!)

My mum kindly rocked up about 10:15 ready to drive us to our new home. At 10:30, the van was packed and we were all on our way. It all happened so fast, it didn’t quite feel real in some ways.

We hot footed it round the M25, picked up a sofa from mum’s (thanks Mama) and at 1:30pm, we had our keys and were stepping through our front door.

Little Miss ran riot round the house in the empty space, twirling and squealing and shutting herself in the built-in wardrobes in our bedroom over and over (this has continued throughout the week). I’d like to say it was excitement for the new house, but in reality, I think she just liked the open space.

After a little look round, my mum took Little Miss to her’s so the movers could unload and we could unpack without worrying about the Energiser Bunny running round.

The movers departed at 3:25pm, we started unpacking at 3:26, intent on getting as much done as possible while we had a toddler free zone. We managed to get the kitchen done that night and celebrated with Dominos (of course) and bubbles.

Saturday morning was a whirlwind of activity as we raced to get Little Miss’ room unpacked and homely before her return.

We spoke a lot about the garden in the lead up to the move. Not surprisingly, she’s been rather taken with it. Unfortunately, it’s been rather chilly this week, which has put her off going outside too much but her favourite spot in the house is the little step at the back doors where she can sit and watch over her garden. (Which when she spotted a cat pop over the fence the other day, caused quite a stir.)

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Little Miss’ favourite spot.

See more Finding Our Feet photography on our Instagram feed, @findingourfeet.

See our list of family friendly haunts in Hertfordshire on Foursquare

This post is part of the My Captured Moment linky from Running In Lavender.

The Unemployed Mum becomes The Working Mum

That’s right, you read correctly. After two long years, last week I accepted an honest-to-God, full time, permanent position at a small but perfectly formed marketing agency.

After Christmas, as 2016 kicked off, I was feeling rather blue. In the lead up to Christmas, I had had six interviews in six weeks, including a couple of final round call backs. But as usual, slowly but surely, as Christmas drew near, they all called and gave me the bad news.

I was exhausted. And truthfully, as the two year anniversary of being made unemployed drew near, I was feeling like I couldn’t continue down this path much longer. The constant battle and rejection was soul destroying.

With moving house at the end of January, I was looking at this as a fresh start. We would be saving money on our rent, which meant we could last slightly longer with me unemployed, giving me a bit of breathing space to take a course or similar to try to bolster my CV.

Then, the week after New Year, I got a call from a recruiter I hadn’t heard from since September. (Truth be told, I thought she’d given up on me and had stopped pestering her.) She had a rather niche agency, for which I just might be the perfect candidate…

The Agency (as they shall be known on this blog) specialises in marketing to families with children under 11 and needed someone who could understand a client’s business objectives and shape them into an educational and ethical campaign acceptable to the target market.

 

As bold as this may be to say, the first interview was a breeze – almost a pleasure. I kept thinking, ‘I must be missing something. Surely it can’t be this easy?’ I just got on with the two interviewers so naturally, so well, it was as though we had been working together for years already and were just having a chat, rather than an interview.

When the recruiter rang me after, I was thrilled the hear The Agency had given similar feedback on the first interview and the second interview turned into more of a working meeting, discussing their existing and potential parent outreach on campaigns.

Well, I am absolutely over the moon to say they offered me the job.

Exactly two years and one day since I had been made redundant.

The relief when the recruiter told me was so great I was choking back tears on the phone – and I’m not a crier. My job hunt was over. After two long years of money worries, stress, application forms, interviews, rejections and feeling like my life was on pause yet running at warp speed as I watched Little Miss grow from tiny newborn to whirling-dervish-toddler before my very eyes, I was going back to work.

Earlier that same week, I was called into a different agency by a marketing contact for an impromptu interview. They were much bigger than The Agency, more digitally focussed and I would have been working on the global accounts. In a total twist of fate, I ended up with a second job offer.

I couldn’t believe it. It didn’t seem real that after so long I suddenly had such luck.

It was an incredibly difficult decision. They were totally different marketing agencies that both had potential to kick start my career once more but in potentially quite different directions. The OH and I opened a bottle of bubbles and sat with the two offers on the table going round and round in circles discussing everything from proximity to the new house to financial implications to what we thought each may offer in terms of longer-term career prospects.

In the end, I accepted the role at The Agency. It felt like the right choice for me professionally and for us as a family at this time.

And so, I am very, very excited to say that as of February 25th, 2016, I will be a Working Mum. Not a Stay At Home Mum. Not an Unemployed Mum. A Working Mum.

 

Wish me luck!