Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview Number 5. Today we meet Hattie who blogs over at Coffee & Bubbles.
If you would like to read the other interviews in this series take a look here.
Introduction – a little bit about you, your family and where you live.
Hello! I’m Harriet, a 30-year-old, single Mummy to Charles, my 2-year-old cherubic rapscallion. Currently navigating our way through the perils of the ‘hoods, both adult and child. I am hoping, on a wing and a prayer to survive the parenting gig unscathed.
Having spent 7 years living and working as a Geologist in outback Australia, I returned to English shores in 2014 with Charles in my excess baggage. We have settled down in Exeter, Devon, and are attempting to reintegrate ourselves into English society. I’ve just about shaken off the ‘Aussie twang’ I had picked up during my time Down Under and am happy to be back in blighty to enjoy both countryside and coastal living.
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I am the Quality, Health & Safety Manager for a small, family-run engineering company that designs and manufactures products and provides services to the upstream Oil & Gas industry. It is definitely not something I ever envisaged myself doing and I certainly fell into it by mistake rather than pursuing it but it’s an enjoyable and challenging role that keeps me on my toes.
What was your motivation to return to work?
I always planned to return to work after having kids. Having been to University and worked so hard for my degree I wanted to make sure I put my qualifications and my mind to good use. Following the breakdown of my marriage, I no longer have a choice and have to keep working. I think I would still maintain this even if the miraculous happened and I won the lottery, but I’d possibly do something a little less ‘full on’!
How many hours do you work a week?
40 hours – I’m full-time Monday to Friday!
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
Thankfully, no! Including a drop-off at nursery, my commute is a whopping 6 miles each way.
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
I wish I did as it’d be a great opportunity to blog, read or get some steps in, but instead I drive.
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
My son goes to a fantastic nursery. He loves it and it definitely works. Despite being only 2 years old he does yoga and has French lessons!
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
My alarm goes off at 6:15 and I inevitably hit snooze, sometimes twice. Nothing can be done until I’ve had my obligatory coffee and my son, Charles has had his milk. We will sit and drink these whilst I check emails and social media and Charles watches cartoons. I will then dash around like a blue-arsed fly slapping on some makeup, finding something that isn’t too creased or snot-stained to wear before getting Charles dressed and ready. Barring any major tantrums, we’re out of the door by 7:35, usually with some sort of sweet treat as a bribe to get Charles happily out of the door and into the car. I try to make my packed lunch the evening before so I don’t have to faff around with lettuce or soup in the morning. On the days I haven’t done this, I’m usually late!
What do you like about being a working mum?
I like being able to provide Charles with a great quality of life. I like showing him that his Mummy can do it all. As a single parent, whose ex-husband lives 10,000 miles away, it’s important to me that he sees a strong, independent and successful (female) role model.
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
The guilt. There’s nothing worse than dropping your child off at nursery as they scream at you that they don’t want to go. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often as he usually toddles off quite happily, but when he does cry, it really hurts. I hate that I know I’m missing out on time we won’t ever be able to get back. I just hope I don’t regret it one day.
What would you change?
I would absolutely cut down my hours/days if I could. I think a 4 day week would give me a much better work/life balance to spend more time with Charles and to be at home more with flexibility to do more of what I want to do, rather than what I need to do. Working from home every now and then would be super too!
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
Plan, plan, plan. Even little things like setting the washing machine in the morning on a ‘delay start’ so that it finishes as you walk through the door will help. It means your washing won’t be sitting wet in the machine all day getting that damp smell. Meal prep – I usually cook in bulk and shove things in the freezer, so most mornings I can just take out a dish to defrost throughout the day and I don’t need to cook that evening.
Online food shopping – Having groceries delivered is my absolute saving grace. Not having to drag a toddler around the supermarket during my precious time off is a God-send!
Be prepared for every cough, cold, and D&V bug under the sun. The first 6 months of your child going to nursery / childminder / school will be a constant bug battle. You will likely catch the same illness yourself so stock the medicine cabinet and be prepared.
Now time for something fun – show us a picture of your work handbag – what make is it and what’s the most unworkable thing in it?
My work handbag at the moment is Mulberry. This one is a little old as I was given it as a gift when I graduated but it has survived well.
At the moment it appears to be free of child-related debris (after a Christmas clean out), however recently I did accidentally turn up at work with a large, plastic toy dinosaur! Charles obviously thought I’d need it more than he did that day!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Hattie. You are one star trooper, working full time and looking after a little one on your own. You are certainly being a fab role model to your son. I totally agree with your three tips. Planning, preparing and online shopping is definitely the way to go..
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