Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Stuck in a rut...


Sometimes I wish I could be a stay at home Mum, okay recently...All of the time.

I know this feeling is spurred on by my not being happy at work, by everyone around me who can obviously see my thumbs twiddling and boredom setting in, yet still they by pass me. Unless of course they wish to dismiss me further by allocating mediocre jobs that I never used to do even before going on maternity leave.

I don’t mean to sound like I am above it, but I am just dis-heartened that my going on leave has put me further down the pecking list than the new starter to the team.

I thought time would pass and things would settle down, to how they were before I left for 13 months.

 But too much has changed.

The company changed and so did I.

I can’t ever see myself being happy with my current position; it currently feels like I am doing time for bad behaviour. I feel like I have been demoted, like I am sitting on a shelf slowly losing my sparkle to the dust that is starting to cover me.

I just don’t seem to care about what I do in the office anymore, and no-one seems to care about me not caring? But I want to care. I work hard and when I really care, I go above and beyond to get things done.

I used to care.

I count down the hours until I reach Wednesday at 5pm, the start of the time I get to spend with Leo. 

When Sunday night hits I feel dread in the very pitt of my stomach, all because I don’t want to go to work and sit twiddling my thumbs.

I feel like I need to break loose and push forward in finding something else, but then I am scared at making such a big change.

I know it is something I need to do; I can’t seem to pull my head out of this social media cloud it is currently floating around in and that just confirms to me that I still have passion and I still have drive. 

I do still care, just about other things.

So how do you go about making such a big decision? How do you go about changing your life?

I have the drive and will do anything and everything I can do pull myself out of this rut I am currently sat in, slowly sinking deeper and deeper, but for the right opportunity I will stand up tall and walk out with my head held high.


Saturday, 8 September 2012

Frustration



I think I have been a little naive. 

Maybe even more so...

You see I thought I would return to work and pick up where I left off. 

I thought that everyone would readily give me my old work load back instantly, and I thought that I would still be the 'go too girly'.

During my leave I was told on countless occasions that my return was highly anticipated and that the lady covering my job was in their words 'useless'. I didn't even bat an eye lid, and I was secretly high fiving myself inside, happy that I was being 'missed'. 

So my return to work has been something of a let down, I am now well and truly part of the day to day fixtures and I am sat there twiddling my thumbs, feeling useless and frustrated. 

My work load has not been returned and it does not seem that it ever will. I am being given mediocre tasks and being completely over looked.

I know I am capable of doing everything I used to do and I hate just sitting there day dreaming. Clock watching and willing something exciting to happen.

The lady who has been covering me was trained up by me back in 2009, and she was not hired for the purpose of covering my leave so she is not on a temporary contract, meaning this will be an on-going dilemma.

Before I left for my maternity I was passing over everything she would need to know in my absence, training on certain reports she would need to run and how to combat the bigger jobs that would now come her way, you see everything used to run through me and the smaller jobs were allocated to her. 

Now our roles have been mirrored and in everyone's eyes that is going to be a permanent thing. Only I am used to be being busy and I used to love my job. Now I watch the minutes go by very, very slowly. 

I feel like a fool for thinking that I could just pick up where I left off, and I am now angry too. The lady I trained up, who made countless mistakes for a very long time is checking my work over to make sure I am doing my job correctly. 

The Cheek!

It feels as though she is enjoying this, and maybe worries that things could go back to how they used to be. 

I came into work the other morning after taking Leo for his jabs the day before, and a contract I had been working on had mysteriously vanished off my desk. I knew exactly where I had left it as it was my top priority on getting into work. I rang the project manager to see if he had borrowed the file and I asked my line manager to no avail. I just could not fathom where it had gone. 

Until... a voice pipes up that she has it. Yes she. And she is checking it over. Then all the questions come about what I am doing on it, like it is somehow her business and completely held me up when I could be getting on with it. 

I sat there feeling so small, and angry. Suddenly I was giving one word answers and really wanting to voice my opinion. 

Of course I didn't but I don't know how much more I can take. 

I am more determined than ever to get my act into gear, and do something I am passionate about. I know exactly what I want to do but I just need to gain work experience. I feel I no longer belong at my current job, there have been far to many changes and I need something that keeps me on my toes.

I love a challenge.

However part of me feels really sad about how things have turned out, I really did love my busy job, the people and everything that came with it. Now I feel invisible and out of place. 

But what did I expect? 

I have been off work for 13 months where the business has moved on without me. 

I am simply not needed any more...




Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The Flexible Working Decision



After returning back to work on July 25th 2012, I was greeted with the fact that my priorities had changed. I was a Mummy who needed more time with her baby, and this was not not the only change to have come around in my 13 months absence.

The company had moved on, I was not relied upon any more. My passion for the work I was doing ceased to exist. With all of these different emotions and feelings of resentment to missing out on my little man, I applied for flexible working. 

I made my application after my first 3 days back at work, and it has taken this long to hear their response. As the weeks have rolled by it has given me ample opportunity to think about what I want to do. What I would love to do. The same thoughts keep coming up in my head, and those bright sparkly ideas are telling me that I don't belong where I am anymore and I long to re-train in public relations.

I am putting my all into finding the best route into going about this and work experience seems to be a good road to take. I am lining my options up and trying not to put all my eggs in one basket. 

Today however I received really good news, that will hopefully aid my stride in chasing my dream. My application for flexible working has been granted. The date this will all start is October 1st 2012. 

I was called up for a meeting with the Operations Director. I suddenly felt really nervous, and I felt my heartbeat skip a beat, and until that meeting was over it beat so fast I thought it may jump right out of my chest. I don't know whether I was scared, or just worried that they may not approve it, or the fact that they might? 

The director told me with a smile that it had been approved and handed me a letter sealing my fate. 

This will give me more time with Leo, and more time for me to really get into what I want to do. I feel so different about being back at work, with all the changes that I cannot get my head around, and no longer feeling like part of the furniture, but more of an outsider looking in. 

I still need to get Luke on board with my flexible working. I just need him to understand that I need to do this for Leo, and I need to do this for myself. It is not about me not wanting to work because I do. I still also want to achieve all of the same goals that he does, but I also need a little bit of compromise in this. 

I think long term it is best that I chase my dreams now, to put us in better stead for the future. This dream is never going to go away and this precious time with Leo is still rolling by, without me. 

Do you have any advice in how I can make Luke understand? Make him see where I am coming from?

Thank you to everyone who has wished me all the luck in the world with my mission to seek flexible working and for all of your advice. I greatly appreciate it.

Laura 
xx

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

I am not Super Woman



A week ago today I made my return to work

One whole week ago today...

This week's life lesson is very apparent to me. I am not and never will be Super woman. 

There are only 24 hours in a day, and I only have one pair of hands. I can only ever be in one given place at any one time, despite my wanting to split in two and suddenly sprout arms that would make any Octopus proud! Realistically this isn't going to happen, and something has to give.

This week has shown me that so much can change in a week, your feelings, hopes, dreams and your priorities. Of course Leo has always been my number one priority. That is exactly why I went back to full time work, but while I am sitting there behind my desk earning those pennies, I am missing out on Leo and his daily adventures. I am missing the most important person in the world growing up. Those beautiful Blue eyes that make me feel all gooey inside, and that little laugh that makes me melt.

Yes, I am making the money and providing for Leo but what is the point if I cannot see him and enjoy him? So yesterday I made my feelings known, and pushed forward on my mission to gain Two extra days a week with Leo. 

I told my line manager I wished to work flexible hours.

Today I presented him with my official letter, and he put all the necessary wheels into motion so I can try to obtain my ideal working scenario. 


What I like to call 'The best of both worlds'.

The best of both worlds are Two separate worlds that share me equally. Meaning I don't need to attempt to turn into Super Woman. I can share my time more evenly between work, and my beautiful boy. 

Work have been nothing but supportive and I cannot thank them for all their help. It is looking positive on the part time front and I would be very surprised if my request was denied. On the financial front there a things I do need to look into and consider, but I know that I want to take on the part time hours.

I should hear more back about the verdict tomorrow, and I will then take time over the weekend to seriously consider each and every detail. Then I will make my final decision based on all of the information.

Luke seems more open to the idea today, I am hoping this will continue as the information comes in. I know he is only considering the financial aspects, but then so am I.

I had a little chat with my line manager today and he was not surprised by my email asking for a flexible working pattern, he knew I would find it hard being away from Leo. Apparently more so than I did. He is very optimistic that it will be accepted.

Since having Leo I have found I have been so much more outspoken. The Laura before Leo was always happier to sit quietly in the corner while at work, and never speak her mind. Mummy Laura will do whatever she can to be there for Leo. So despite my worries about applying for a flexible working pattern, I did it anyway. 

I may not be Super Woman but Leo has most defiantly given me a drive.

A drive to do the right thing!  

If you are in a similar situation to me, take the time to really consider your options. And above all else...

Follow your heart.


Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Flexible Working



Today was an ordinary day in the office. The same familiar faces going about their duties and the same people dunking biscuits in their tea. 

However today was also the day that I informed my boss that I would like to consider flexible working. I read up all I could on the Direct Gov website while I awaited an email back from the Confidential Secretary. By the time she had replied I had already compiled my case and she quickly gave my letter a proof read, and advised me to talk with my line manager.

I sat there glancing up over my computer screen at him, wondering whether I should whisper over to him that I needed a word, or to send him a email, despite the fact he sits right next to me. I bide my time and awaited him to walk away from his desk. I did not want to say anything in full ear shot of the all the ears listening around me. 

I hovered over the send button for a good few minutes before letting the email float those few feet away from me to sit waiting in my boss's inbox. It brought back memories of when I informed him I was pregnant, I was terrified at the prospect. In fact that is why I went into a little more detail in the email I sent him this time around, I did not want him getting the wrong idea and thinking that I was bringing another baby into the world just yet.

He began walking back to his desk, followed closely by the Operations Director. They both gathered around his computer and I began to feel like they were both reading my email. I felt incredibly paranoid. However when the big boss walked away and I was left with just my line manager, I mentioned that I had sent him a email that he would most likely wish to discuss with me.

The email told him all about my plans to work flexibly and that I felt I was missing out on Leo's day to day life and development. I told him that I wanted the best of both worlds and that I had composed a letter with my hopeful working hours in. 

I also said I had made no decision on what I intended to do quite yet, and that I wanted to know what my salary would be and basically just have all the information so I could make a informed decision.

All he said was 'ok, no problem'.

I had hyped myself up, I could feel my pulse racing like it may just pop out of my chest and greet everyone around it. Of course this didn't happen, but the calm collected response, had me suddenly at ease.

It looks as though I will be granted my wish of Monday - Wednesday in the office. There is one other hurdle that I will need to cross, and I think this may be even harder than informing work. Luke want's me to stay in full time employment. He wants me to save hard so we can finally get out and live our lives.

Each time I have raised the subject of working part time with him, I am met with no enthusiasm and also what feels like a lack of understanding. I don't think he quite understands my need to be with Leo. He often says 'Think how I feel' in reference to his full time job, but the difference in my eyes is that I have spent every day for 13 months with him, there have been very few occasions that I have left him.

Luke will come home from work and happily retreat to the gym, and he will also see friends socially more than I do and go out on a more regular basis. So it is his choice to be away from Leo as much as he is. I on the other hand will finish work and come straight home to see him. I rarely go out, out of personal choice. Especially these days as every moment with Leo is like gold. 

Precious.

I can completely see where he is coming from, but at this moment in time. I just want to be with Leo. I would quite happily rent a home and finally relax. 

Of course I am pretty sure my wages will drop substantially. In fact I know this to be true. I think I may even fall below the income tax threshold which in a way would be good. 

What I have to ask is, does this mean my little family would qualify for the housing benefit? 

This would really help us out, and may also get Luke around to my way of thinking, as deep down I know he is just thinking of the financial aspects. But there has to be away around it as so many Mummy's do it. 

Does anyone know what the income threshold is for being in receipt of the housing benefit? 

I have to ask you, what would you do? Am I asking to much in requesting part time work? Or is Luke being un-reasonable by not being open to a compromise? 

There has to be some way that I can enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Somehow...


Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The Life and Times of The Working Mum


Today my life changed, and I set out on a solo adventure for the first time in what feels like forever. I don't remember setting out on my own anymore, and it is never usually just 'I' but 'We', as in Leo and I. Me and my beautiful little man together and united. Taking on anything and anyone.

My latest adventure will follow me - Leo's Mummy as I return to work, and tackle both family life and working life. Not out of choice, but more out of having too. Don't get me wrong, I feel it is important that I return to working life, but I just wish I could have seen Leo through to school first. 

Today was the big day, as the sun rose high up above the small riverside town where I live I awoke to my alarm beeping. I picked out a summer dress and got myself ready to head off to the office for my very first day back. 

There was no sign of Leo awaking any time soon, and I was silently longing for him to wake up before I had to leave for the day. Just so I could see his little eyes light up and give me those first morning smiles, that I have become so accustomed to. The smiles that make everything right with the world.

I tip toed into his dark room and I saw him tucked up sound asleep, with his little bottom stuck right up into the air. His blankie caressing his sweet little face, and magical dreams weaving through his beautiful mind.

I stood by him, watching him. Longing to spend the day with him in the sun.

Just one more day...

Then I took one last look, and lingered for what felt like forever. I then walked out of his bedroom and left him to sleep.

It was time to leave and to address my very first day back in the office.

I walked in and so many faces had changed. People had left over the time I had been away. New faces replaced them and their names were a mystery to me. So much had changed and to me it was one big shock. To everyone else it had happened gradually, to me they all came at once.

Everyone was welcoming and I was pleased to see my desk was ready for me to get settled into. The first part of the morning was gone in the blink of an eye catching up with people I had not seen in months. Sorting my emails and trying to remember what I actually did for a living.

Surprisingly one of the very first things I did was fill out a holiday form, and book off lots of days that I wanted to spend with Leo. One of which was even for blog camp this September! My boss's face was an absolute picture. Especially when I informed him that I still had a full years worth of holiday to use before January! 

I was surprised that no work had actually been put aside for me. I had to get my hands on something to do. When I finally got hold of some, I thought it best to follow the instructions to the letter. And slowly I worked my way through a job that I used to be able to do with my eyes closed. It took me all morning and kept me busy, but when that was completed. That was it. There was nothing else to do for the afternoon. 

I popped back at lunch to see my little Leo and he was being walked up and down the drive with Granny. He looked so sleepy. I wound down my window and called his name, and he instantly fixed me and smiled, reaching out to me. Wanting a cuddle. I continued up the drive and saw him start to cry. I parked up and ran and gave him a big cuddle.

We spent the hour lunch break together and before I left to return to work. I gave him some milk and put him down for a nap. I felt happy that I had done something for him and happily left him snoozing, not feeling like I was missing out too much now he had succumb to a nap.

The rest of the afternoon passed slowly. Boredom set in and the sunshine shone down making me want to run outside and forget it all. Then 5pm came around. Finally.

I got home as quickly as I could, and spent the whole evening with Leo. We have had a lovely time reading books and giggling. Leo has been climbing onto the furniture and looking mighty proud of himself. We saw a buzzing fly that mesmerized him, and as I copied the buzzing noise the fly made. Leo copied him too. We both giggled and he then continued climbing.

Last night Leo started being able to push himself up to standing without an object to aid him. I thought this was fluke but today he has continued this, and this evening he carried on doing it. I was so proud.

A great end to a good day. 

I have not spent all day with Leo but the time we have had, has been special. Very special. He has been fine without me but wanted me during the time I have been here. Which is good as this is how life during the week will be now and it is time to find a new routine. 

This is the start of the life and times of the working Mum, and the adventures we encounter along the way. It is true that me returning to work is the end of an era, but I have to remember that it is also the start of a new beginning. It is time to get some money behind us and finally get our own place. It is time to be a family of 3. 

Just us 3. 

I do have to work to live, but my reason for living is Leo and I will do anything and everything I can to give him the best start in life. 



Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Sun Is Setting...



The sun is now setting on my very last day as a stay at home Mummy. It is setting on the most amazing 13 months of my life. It has been the most magical time, where I have watched my little man grow from the fragile baby that he was, into the most beautiful little boy.

I feel so privaliged to have been able to stay off work as long as I have but I don't feel ready to return yet by any means...

I have watched intently as Leo has changed, and grown. One day he could not move at all and the next he was rolling over to look at the world from a different view. Then came the sitting up and First teeth, leading the way for the crawling mobile baby of mine to suddenly take off. Leo made it very apparent that the days of being able to sit down for Five minutes were now over. 

Leo's First words and development has blown me away, and most recently his ability to walk has just made me think 'wow'. He toddles every where now and it wont be long before his balance is spot on and he can run as fast as his little legs will carry him. 

You can ask Leo questions and he will always shake his head to say 'No', even if he really means Yes. You can have a real giggle with him and actually laugh so much that your sides will hurt. If you ask Leo where the Star is, he will point his finger up to the Star ornament that hangs in the hall. His understanding is amazing.

People have asked me whether I will continue blogging now I am returning to full time work. The answer to that is most defiantly. One of the many reasons I set this blog up is to capture the life of us working Mummy's, and I feel that it is even more important now for me to keep writing things down, so that I don't forget a single moment. 

I will miss watching Leo day in and day out, and I have cherished each and every day. Even those day's where we have been stuck inside because of the pouring rain or because he has been too poorly to really go anywhere. I have loved them all.

It is safe to say that I have that butterfly feeling deep down at pitt of my tummy, the same feeling I used to get at the end of the Summer holidays when it was time to go back to school the next day. This time though it feels magnified and it may even be tinged with guilt and indeed sadness for leaving my little man. 

I have spent the last Two day's out in the sunshine with my beautiful baby boy. We have been having adventures down the park and enjoying each other's company. There have been many laughs and memorable moments, and they are what I will be taking back to the office with me. 

So as the sun sets on another beautiful day, it is setting on me as well, and as the moon rises high into the sky it, is telling me it is time to make the transition into a working Mummy. I don't know if there will be a magical wind that sweeps around me and lifts me high up into the air when this change happens...a Beauty and the Beast, Fiona and Shrek moment? But I know either way that is going to happen.

As the warmest day of the year is upon us, I will be slipping on my attire for a day in the office. So make sure you all enjoy the lovely weather for me, while I am daydreaming out of the window, refreshing my Twitter time line for the umpteenth time.

I have already been looking for ways to prevent tomorrow from happening, I even resorted to texting my boss to make sure that tomorrow was the date we had agreed. Unfortunately he confirmed that tomorrow is indeed the big day! 

One thing is for sure though...It really is the end of an era.

Wish me luck!

Laura 
xx 

P.S - Here are a few ways we have enjoyed ourselves over the past few days!








Wednesday, 18 July 2012

The End is Nigh


I have been on leave from work since Monday June 27th 2011. 

This was the day I went into labour and finally met my beautiful little man. I had worked right up to the very day of having him and put off my leave for as long as possible, as I knew that the longer I worked, the more time I would have with Leo on maternity leave.

It all went to plan and I had a whole year ahead of me. 

It felt like we had forever, all of eternity.

Only a year doesn't last forever, it does only...last a year.

Now that year is up... and this time next week I will be back behind my desk, for 5 days a week. 8:30-5:00.

I cannot imagine any other existence than the reality that I have lived and shared with Leo over this past 13 months. This life is all I have ever known since having Leo, we have shared everything together.

We have played together, laughed and cried, but we have had the most amazing times.

That one on one quality time, every single day.

Heading off on new adventures at every opportunity.

There quite simply does not seem to be enough hours in the day for me to return to work. There is far to much playing to be done, peek a boo and all those tickles that Leo loves so much.

I guess the playing will still go on, but those games will not be played with me by day any longer. They will be played by Leo's Granny. 

Is it wrong that I feel envious that she gets to stay home and play with him? When in the perfect world, it would be me, and me alone.

That is one emotion that I am feeling a lot recently. I envy Mummy's who do get to stay at home, or even just work a few days a week. I envy the fact that somehow they can get by without Two full wages in the bank each month and I wish somehow that was a possibility for me.

I know that it is not, and I have known this all along. 

One thing is for sure though...

I have made the very most of this 13 months with Leo, I can look back and say that we have done so very much. There is not one day that I can say we have not done something worthwhile and I look back on my timed out leave with nothing but smiles and happy memories. 

I will be back behind my desk this time next week, but on my desk, in pride and place Leo's photo will be there staring right back at me. His big bright eyes and beautiful smile will guide me through my day, and when I do get home from those day's in the office, we will continue to play until I tuck him up in his cot and he closes his beautiful Blue eyes.

Laura
x




Monday, 13 February 2012

Limbo...


What do you call that time between having a baby and working.....Oh yes...that's it Maternity Leave. Or...Is it really Limbo?
I ask this question as on Friday night I attended my works annual party. It is always a brilliant night with good food, company and of course amazing wine! So why do I refer to my leave as limbo? To answer honestly....because it is.


While I am off enjoying my time, bonding with Leo. Life in the office continues and business blooms whether I am there or not. I trained someone else to complete my duties and everything runs just right. Without me.

I think this is a fear every woman on maternity leave has to face. I know my job is still there, but I kept asking myself whether or not I was a spare part now? I mean after all...I have been away from work for several months now and I will not be back for another four. Has the company moved on? Am I really needed now?


All my questions were answered on Friday night and the break out of day to day Mummy life, was a very welcome. It was lovely to be able to do my hair, make up and choose a pretty dress for the occasion. It was amazing to put on my heels for what felt like the first time in a eternity, enjoy a sit down meal, and see the people I used to see everyday.


Unfortunately every event has their hiccups...Last month I received a message from the girl I had trained up for my position at work, she wanted to know if I intended to wear my Blue ruched dress to said party. As now...She had the same dress in a deeper Blue and was wearing it on the night!

Understandably I was annoyed. Actually...I was fuming. Last year I had a 20 week bump. This year I wanted to make up for that! I felt my night had been stolen away from me...I am probably over reacting...But why did she have to wear my dress!? Why not one of the other hundred dresses she owns? I have to ask how would you react in my situation?

I searched high and low for a new 'Perfect' dress. Nothing came close to the dress I had already, and being on leave, I just couldn't justify spending a fortune on a new dress when I didn't need to!

To cut the dress wars short, upon my arrival...She was wearing my dress! No re-consideration had been taken and she looked more than happy to stamp all over my toes in the process of getting her own way. There was not much time wasted before she ran up to me to tell me that 'Oh My God! Were wearing the same dress!' What really!? God I had not noticed! Seriously...Purchasing an outfit IDENTICAL to someone you know, really is below the belt buckle.

I couldn't bring myself to stand around shooting false smiles and talking small talk all night so I quickly moved on with my evening. I did not want to stand around next to the girl....wearing MY dress!


The Champagne was flowing... and this year, I could accept all the re-fills and my oh my did I enjoy them. We all sat down for our evening meal where the Managing Director gave a speech about all that had been achieved within the last year.

After a scrumptious meal, everyone began to get up and mingle. There was a live band and open bar. All the makings of an amazing night.
So many people asked when I would be returning to work, to which I gave them all the same answer 'The end of June'. I was told I was missed and to hurry up back. That the standard of work was not as high. I felt great to know that I WAS still needed. I started to think of my return to the office and realised that there was one half of me...That was very excited to be returning to work. Of course I knew my Job was still there, but it was knowing my work was still coveted that really put the smile on my face.

I work for such a brilliant company. They were amazing throughout my pregnancy and just keep aiming higher. I could not ask for any more support or thought. They have gone above and beyond any expectations I may have had. It is safe to say that I have a job for life there, with so many opportunities ahead of me.

So apart from the dress wars, my night at the annual work's party was everything and more. My reservations have been relaxed and I was even told my dress was a prettier Blue :-)


How have you dealt with your maternity anxieties about returning to work? Have you ever had 'Dress Wars' of your own?


I think returning to work after the life changing event of having a baby, can be scary in it's self. Not just because you have to leave the child for what may be the first time ever, but you have to go back to work and find your place again. You have to re-train where changes have been made in the systems and procedures and be just as fast and competent as before going to to limbo....I mean Maternity Leave.

I plan to return fighting, I can do this and I have no problem rising to the occasion.


To Be Continued......(June 2012)

Laura xx