Slay the ‘Mummy Guilt’
My Journey from Confident Business Woman to Guilty Mum:
Career Women (it’s a long time since I saw myself as this)
Four years ago I took a big jump in my career, a dream job, one I’d never anticipated achieving following poor exam results at school. But there I was, pay rise, car allowance and a really respectable job. I worked alongside doctors and pharmacists, managed budgets, designed clinical trials and presented scientific data at international meetings. I guess you could say I’d found my niche, finally found my inner confidence and was flying high, I’d just got engaged and I felt on top of the world.
Becoming Mum (don’t worry, I leave out the how!)
The day we found out we were expecting a baby I’d just returned from a fantastic work event and I’m not ashamed to admit I was a little hungover (doesn’t that happen to everyone?…) I attended a routine scan appointment for an old sports injury and came home with the news I was pregnant. We were both thrilled but the shock took days to subside as we realised our lives were about to change forever!
Our beautiful, blond haired, blue eyed little boy arrived following a rather traumatic and drawn out labour (I can’t do anything simply or quietly!) and brought with him so much joy and very little sleep. I loved every minute of my maternity leave, despite the dark days and the occasional lonely times. We made a great family team and I made some amazing friends. However, all this was so different to the corporate machine I’d spent the last 8 years carving out my career in. My brain was mush, my body was broken and the layer of lard I wore under my baggy jeans was not ready to squeeze itself into little dresses and skirts, let alone totter on stupidly high heels. Overall, my confidence was in tatters and I could not imagine returning back to work and pretend to be the same person I was 12 months previously.
My Fairy ‘Career’ Mother (Finding my wings again)
I needed help, but where do you find help returning to work?… I mean, doesn’t everyone do it without a struggle, everyone I’d ever met seemed to breeze through or was that just a persona? Was I the only one who felt this way? Then I met my Fairy ‘Career’ Mother, Jessica Chivers (http://jessicachivers.com). I attended a Career Comeback Workshop and realised that many women struggle in returning to work, but with the right planning, family support, great child care and a giant pair of ‘Spanx’ I made it back to work without any tears. My family were happy and I actually really enjoyed being ‘ME’ again, the best bits were being able to wee in peace, finish a hot meal and I could afford more ‘Spanx’ and a personal trainer.
The Guilty Mum
The Guilt was hard to start with but evaporated soon after I received a big “Mummy” cuddle from my baby boy. God forbid anyone tried to stop me on my way out of the office, I’d have mown anyone down if they got between me and that cuddle at the end of each working day. However, the guilt really ramped up once I returned full time and work began to erode my evenings and weekends. I soon began to fail at my job, fail as a Mum and wife, but most of all I failed to be me. I lost my sense of humour and that was the point I decided enough was enough. I explored the options of flexible working, part time hours and my now rather wonderful Job Share Partnership. The Guilt still rears its head occasionally but I feel I have successfully slayed the mummy guilt and found myself again. This is why I have set up The Guilty Mums Hub, to provide support, inspiration and motivation for other local mums to find their own path back to work and a better work-life balance. Please share your own stories I’d love to hear them.