Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview. Today we meet Emma Faith. Emma works as a Town Planner for her Local Authority and also runs her blog The Halcyon Years.
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.
Hi, my name is Emma and I live with my husband and one year old daughter Arrietty in a little Sussex village just outside Brighton
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I work for a Local Authority as a Town Planner. It’s quite interesting as I really loved Geography at school and am a bit of a nerd when it comes to maps, but no it’s not something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m originally from Cumbria and fell into Town Planning when I moved down south 10 years ago. I’ve been telling myself to look for something more exciting ever since, but my job is so flexible, its exactly what I need while I have a small family so I think i’ll be here for a little while longer.
I started my blog EttieandMe to satisfy my creative urges. I always loved writing at school and would have studied English at university if I’d have seen a career in it in Cumbria – little did I know I wouldn’t end up living there anyway!! EttieandMe is a Parenting and Lifestyle blog documenting life with my daughter and our current home renovation. I started it mainly as a hobby but now I’m hooked and I love that it gives me a reason to get out of the house on a rainy day and start our next adventure!
What was your motivation to return to work?
Mainly financial, I took the full 12 months of maternity leave off, but basically lived on my credit card for the last two so I needed a form of income to pay that back! We’re also renovating our second home so my wage makes huge impact on the speed it will take us to complete that.
How many hours do you work a week?
I’m contracted to work 33 hours per week but at the moment I’m using up holiday and only working 3 days. I’m finding three days to be the perfect amount as it gives me enough time to get my teeth into a project at work, but also feel like I have quality time with my daughter.
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
Yes and that is the main bone of contention with my job. I have to travel between 45 minutes and an hour away depending on traffic and I have to drive as there is no direct train line, so to me that is just wasted time – and money when I have to shell out for petrol and parking too.
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
As I mentioned unfortunately public transport isn’t an option to me as there is no direct line. If I changed trains, it would cost twice the price of my current petrol allowance so it wouldn’t be financially viable! If I did commute I’d use the time to relax with a book or work on my blog.
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
At the moment Ettie goes to her Nan’s one day a week and nursery for two days. This works for us as she loves spending time with other children. When I increase my hours, my parents, husband and I will take it in turns to look after her for the extra day by using up holiday.
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
Our mornings are quite relaxed – although we’re always late!! My husband is self-employed and I work flexible hours so we don’t have that time commitment to get out of the house by a particular time – although we do both like to be in work for 8.45.
We have a little human alarm clock who wakes us up around 6.30 am, we’ll all have cuddles in bed for a bit then Stu will change her nappy and get dressed while I prepare breakfast. He and Ettie will eat together while I get dressed, then I dress Ettie while Stu swaps the car sear over to his van and he takes her to nursery. We’re like a well oiled – not very punctual machine!
What do you like about being a working mum?
I’m actually really enjoying being back at work. I love that I now have a bit of time to myself to be an adult! I can have hot tea, hold a conversation for longer than 20 seconds and even try clothes on in real shops during my lunch breaks! I sometimes feel like I come to work for a break 😉
I also love the financial freedom of not being reliant on Stu for little luxuries. If he knew how much I spent on candles alone I think he would reassess our marriage so it’s nice to have money to keep that a little secret. I also love that I now have money to do nice things with Ettie on my days off. I found the last three months of maternity leave quite hard work as we were stuck in the house a lot of the time. Now I have money again we can go nice places and that has really made a difference!!
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
I absolutely hate missing out on time with Ettie. She’s got such a fun little personality and happy giggle, I just love being with her. In an ideal world I’d like to work closer to home for two days a week – but that wouldn’t pay for my candle addiction so I need to stick with what I’m doing for now!
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
I would say don’t worry, be prepared and enjoy it. I was so nervous about coming back to work, I cried the whole way there on my first day. But I was concentrating on missing Ettie and not thinking about the benefits to myself. Now i’m back its been a pleasant surprise and a reminder that i’m actually my own person and not just Ettie’s Mum.
For fun show us a picture of your work handbag.
This is my handbag – its actually a rucksack as I have a bit of a walk from the car-park to my office so find a rucksack easier. Its just from Topshop and when I had a bit of a rummage around this morning I found a Miffy book, a pair of child’s sunglasses and bit of Duplo! All essential items for a morning in the office.
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Emma. It is hard working out what is the right fit and balance for everyone and it sounds like you are getting there.
If you would like to be featured in my Meet the Working Mum series send an email to:- firstname.lastname@example.org