Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview. Today we meet Abi Jones. Abi works full time as a Legal PA and also blogs over at Something About Baby.
If you have missed any of the previous interviews, or if you are new to this series, check out all the other Meet the Working Mum’s.
An intro and a little bit about you, your family and where you live.
Hello, my name is Abi, I’m from Essex, and blog over at Something About Baby! I work full time whilst being mummy to Alfie who is 18 months and wife to Craig. I have been blogging since I had Alfie, and it has become my second little baby! I love everything about blogging, especially meeting lots of other lovely bloggers and having the opportunity to take part in interesting posts like this.
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I work as a Legal PA in London. I always wanted to work in law, but decided pretty early on that I didn’t want to go to university and become a lawyer. So being a Legal PA seemed like a good alternative for me – well paid, fairly easy to get in to, and appealed to my organised side!
What was your motivation to return to work?
I didn’t actually have a choice. As the breadwinner of the family, I have to work in order to pay the bills as we just can’t do without my wage. Having a year off on maternity definitely made it easier to return to work though – I would have found it a lot hard to return before Alfie turned one.
How many hours do you work a week?
I work Monday to Friday, 9-5, so do 35 hours a week.
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
I commute on the train and it’s about 50 minutes station to station. I then only have a 5 minute walk to work which is nice! I get a lift to the station in the morning but have to walk home in the evening which is 20 minutes away!
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
Three days a week I get the train with my friend in the morning, so generally we use this time to chat and catch up. Then the other days, and my journeys home are a mixture of blogging and social media time! Sometimes I read, but I am currently using the kindle app on my phone for this and I struggle to get “in” to the book. I used to love reading and it’s something I really miss but I just can’t concentrate for long enough to really enjoy it anymore.
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
We were pretty much set on using a nursery for Alfie from the beginning. As I have gone back full time, we needed the security of a nursery and being able to have somewhere that he could stay later if we got stuck at work without it unexpectedly costing us anymore, and somewhere that would always have cover if the staff we sick. It was also really important to us to have stability and although we had family offer to look after him on their days off, we preferred to have him in a set routine every week. Having to cover sickeness and holidays is the only thing that put us off using a childminder. Alfie loves his nursery and it has really worked for us.
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
I’d like to think we have our morning routine down to a fine art, but having one night of interrupted sleep can cause me to snooze my alarm too many times! Generally I get up at 5:45, shower, wash my hair, do my make-up, dry and straighten my hair and then get dressed. The husband rolls out of bed 45 minutes later than me to have a shower while I have my breakfast in peace. I then make his breakfast while he gets dressed and he eats that whilst I wake Alfie up and get him dressed. Alfie has breakfast at nursery, so we leave him asleep as long as possible so we can just get him up and go. I usually wake him up at 7am to give him time to wake up before leaving the house at 7.30. Ocassionally Alfie will wake up earlier which is always difficult trying to entertain him while I get ready as he’s not a lover of TV! Most of the time he’ll end up on my lap brushing his hair with my hairbrush whilst I try and do my make up! In the 6 months I’ve been back at work, neither of us have been late for work, so we must be fairly organised!
What do you like about being a working mum?
I’m still trying to figure this one out! I do like my job, and I love the people that I work with. My bosses are all so easy going, generally I’m just left alone to get on with my job, which I have to admit I do very well. I mostly enjoy being able to sit at a computer without a toddler trying to press all the keys on the keyboard! Oh, and I like being able to have a hot cup of tea and eat my lunch without having to share!!
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
I don’t like working full time. In fact, even after 6 months when I thought I would be used to it by now, I really hate it. I know I would be much happier if I could work part time and have a better life/work balance. I hate missing out on things Alfie is doing. He has a great time at nursery and I can see how much he has grown up and how much he learning but I wish it was me teaching him these things, not his nursery workers.
What would you change? Hours you work, commute you have to make etc.
I would definitely change the hours I work. Ideally, I’d like to do 3 longer days, so I wouldn’t lose much money, but would gain so much more time with Alfie!
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
1) Hang in there. It does get easier. Going back is hard, and nothing I say will make it easier. But it does get easier.
2) Be organised. Have a routine in the morning to ensure you get out on time. Get help from your partner, even if (as in my case) it’s just to stay out of the way and let you get on with it!
3) Enjoy the time that you do have with your family. Go to work and do your job well, so you don’t have to worry about it when you are at home. Learn how to separate work and family and be great at doing both!
For fun show us a picture of your work handbag – what make is it and what’s the most unworkable thing in it I.e. Kids hair accessories, toy cars etc.
I LOVE my work handbag! It’s a Michael Kors one that I bought on our first wedding anniversary trip to New York 3 years ago. It’s the first time I’ve ever really splurged on something but I figure as I use it every day, it’s totally worth the money!
I was quite sad when I had to pack it away for a year whilst on maternity. Generally, I’m quite good at keeping it clean and tidy and away from Alfie so it doesn’t have anything in it that it shouldn’t – however yesterday I did find a tube of Bonjela at the bottom!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Abi. I love your three tips, especially the first one. When you return from maternity leave it can feel hard work, something else to throw into the daily routine. But before you know it, it becomes the new norm.
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