Returning to work – the plan and how it worked…

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I am a domestic goddess…

I am a supermum…

I can handle ANYTHING….

This is my plan:

Now that we are a few months in I thought I would update you on how it’s going…or not…or maybe it is…

The first couple of weeks went really well, I left work on time, convinced that I would overcome the mahoosive workload pretty quickly, returned home, dinner was on the table and after the boy was in bed I prepared the next day’s meal.

The Turk took to housekeeping like a duck to water, laundry was done, he coped well with Wednesdays (the day he cooks) and after the first fortnight we had a fab first fun Friday (I have every other Friday off work) in the park with our NCT friends in glorious surroundings, sun, and wine 😉

 

My motivation did start to drop off rather, by week 4 the Turk complained that I hadn’t cooked a meal all week, I managed a night out and was staying late one day a week at work.  My formerly flexible employer who had allowed ad hoc working from home and provided a laptop was no longer so flexible.  My workload was as large as it had previously been, which I have no complaints about, but whereas I had always worked an extra 1-2 hours a day I was now pretty much restricted to my working hours, I work through lunch every day and was gaining about an extra hour a day but when I added in the much needed second hour I missed the boy’s bedtime.  By week 6 after finding out that I wouldn’t be allowed a laptop to work the additional hours at home I had my first ‘crying at work’ incident since I was a trainee.  I have no objection to working extra, it’s the nature of my job, but I had relied upon the former flexibility I had experienced.  I negotiated with the Turk that one day a week I will not be coming home and I will need to decide if this is to go out or to stay late at work, it seems fair to me, I know what it’s like to be stuck at home all day.  This relieved my mind somewhat but I still find the unfairness of the decision is so frustrating that part of me doesn’t want to do the extra work, although I know this will put my job at risk.

 

In the Turk’s world he is also finding it difficult, keeping up with the boy is tough particularly when he is so cleaning focussed and wants to do other bits and pieces – it is getting easier as he is able to entertain himself more and more but I know he finds it frustrating.  Jem has developed a real love of CBeebies over the last few weeks which I don’t know if I am entirely happy with having managed to entertain him without tv for the first 14 months…but I know how difficult it is to get anything done.

In short, it’s going pretty well despite the glitches.  I am spending far too much time in the evenings working on my blogs and not enough time cooking, doing housework or with my husband.  The Turk is spending far too much time doing housework and not actually playing with the boy (I’ll tell you about the locking out of the house incident another time).  He is taking him to singing once a week and playgroup every week though which is going really well, he let’s Jem be much more adventurous than I ever would and that’s great.  I don’t have it all, the house is still in the same state as it was in April, I am stressed about work and sometimes Jem misses me.  These are all solvable with a little more flexibility from my employer so I am going to keep working on that and not just give up, nothing ventured nothing gained…maybe I need to become a full time blogger lol!

The Journey to “Having it all” part 1, background & preparation

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The background

I’m going to try and keep a mini-diary of my return to work.  I am attempting what many see as “having it all”…although I think the truer description is perhaps “not really having anything properly”.  In short after 14 months maternity leave I am returning to work, full time.  I will compress hours so attempt to work only 8 hours a day (which involves being out of the house between 7.30am and 6pm) for 9 days and have the 10th day off.

This fortnightly day off has arisen as a result of my initial application for flexible working being refused.  I am not allowed to work from home on a regular basis, and if I wanted to compress even further and have one day a week off I would face not seeing the boy at all for four days a week.

This has not been a difficult decision.  I was more than ready to return to work.  Truth be told the final few months have led to me feeling rather depressed.  I enjoy working, part of me thrives on the stress and the whinging about it.  Whilst I have been on mat leave I have socialised little and really struggled with the lack of interaction with my friends.  Whilst I have met other friends with babies regularly, I started to shun this as what I really craved was baby free time.  In the whole 14 months I can count the instances I have been baby free on 2 hands, and the majority of these occasions were for voluntary work for a couple of hours in the evening.

We are in the fortunate position that the Turk hasn’t had a “proper job” since being made redundant over 2 years ago.  Whilst he wasn’t the most hands on Dad over the past year (particularly the first 6 months when we barely saw him as he was working over 12 hours a day on the house).  Jobs that he could apply for seem to pay significantly less than they used to and certainly it would mean that he was working effectively just to pay for nursery.  Given he hates doing what he used to do it seemed an obvious decision.

The plan

I am a domestic goddess…

I am a supermum…

I can handle ANYTHING….

This is my plan:

6.30 I will wake, shower, dress (in clothes and jewellery I sorted out the night before)

7.00 The boy and Turk will wake, dress and meet me downstairs for…

7.15 joint breakfast before I head out to work

lunch for me I sort out the night before but the Turk sorts out the boy and himself (unless there are leftovers)

6.00 I come home to dinner on the table (prepared by me the night before with minimal work for the Turk, although Wednesdays the Turk will make a simple dinner so I can have an evening off) and we all eat together

7.00 bathtime

7.30 bed

8.00 I cook and prepare the meal for tomorrow night, my lunch, plan my outfit, drink tea, Tweet…blog…crochet…sew….erm yeah, maybe a tad optimistic!

I have a big spreadsheet for planning meals (close observers of Silent Sunday saw this in progress) so I can plan meals 6 weeks in advance and the Turk will look at this to do the weekly shop.

 

Once a fortnight we will have “fortnightly family fun day” usually on a Friday…which will be extra exciting because it will be 4 Fs!  So far we have rarely done anything interesting as a family.  Interesting things cost money which has been tight, and time, which has been guilt ridden as the Turk has to spend the majority of our days “working” on the house.  One of the problems with us both being off “normal” working hours is the lack of fun time.  It sounds like we would have more time together but in reality without a weekend each day just merges into the next.  There is nothing to look forward to and nothing to make an effort for, I am hoping that work will change this.

In addition to this I have grand plans for a beauty regime, I am determined to wear every single item in my wardrobe (and if not I am getting rid of it) as I make the most of all the clothes I have gazed longingly at whilst pregnant or recovering.  I am looking forward to having a reason to leave the house and justification for nail varnish and make up.

There are some things which aren’t quite so organised, we have the following questions (among others) still up for discussion:

  • Cleaning and other housework – seems that this will all be down to the Turk but this seems a bit unfair.  It might work if he can manage to do it whilst looking after the boy.
  • Decorating and other remaining building work – other than doing this in 45 minutes a day whilst the boy naps it seems we might need to set some money aside each month to get someone in to help with this.  Whilst there is no longer anything super urgent there are still quite a few irritating things, for example it would be nice to have work surfaces in the kitchen and to be able to use the shower in the main bathroom…#justsaying
  • Tidying – the Turk doesn’t tend to tidy and I’m not sure I will be much inclined to in an evening.
  • Routine – I have said the Turk can set Jem’s routine, but he doesn’t really do routine himself, or timekeeping, so this could effect night sleeping…so who will then be the one to get up in the night?
  • Playgroups – I have prepared a list of activities the Turk can do with the boy, but he’s not really into organising things and I am slightly worried they might just spend all day sat at home…

Whilst I still think “having it all” is a myth I’m going to have a jolly good go at having all that our family wants!