Welcome to Meet the Working Mum Interview number four! Today we meet Hayley who blogs over at Devon Mama.
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.
Hi, I’m Hayley and I live in rural Devon with my husband, seven month old son and the worlds bounciest dog. I love to attempt to cook, watch trashy US television shows and am addicted to Googling everything. I set up Devon Mama in the end of 2015 as a way to document my pregnancy but didn’t really commit to it until the summer of 2016 when he was a couple months old and I turned 30. My blog covers the ups and downs of parenting, family friendly recipes and reviews of products we use – it’s my memory book and hopefully helps other new parents along the way!
What do you do for a job? Is it what you have always wanted to do?
I work as Procurement and Product Marketing Director for a mail order company. It’s actually my family business and I’ve worked there since I was 13 – so quite a while! I’ve watched it grow to it’s current size of around 300 people with multiple stores around the UK. My role is to look after all of the stock purchasing for the company which means controlling a £30 million budget and a team of 11. Alongside that I recently set up and managed a team of Product Marketers who are responsible for all e-content, whether that’s web copy and photos or email copy to our 200,000 subscribers. It’s varied, fast paced and definitely never has a dull moment.
I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily what I’ve always wanted to do but I knew I would end up working in the business. I love the people there (most of the time) and enjoy the challenges my role entails. Over the last couple of years I’ve scaled back my overseas travel and put an increasing amount of work into the marketing side. That’s the bit I really enjoy and I think I have always wanted to do it, I just didn’t realise it until now!
What was your motivation to return to work?
A little bit of a lot of things. I never imagined myself to be a stay at home mum as I enjoy the working environment too much. I wanted to hang on to a bit of pre-baby Hayley and work allows me to do that. I miss the adult interaction, especially with other family members and people I’ve effectively grown up with. It also came down to money in the end as well; we could afford for me not to work but as the main earner in the household it would involve some pretty substantial lifestyle changes. We decided we wanted to retain the possibility to show our son the world and create a nice home for him to grow up in (our house needs a LOT of renovating) so it was important we kept that income at least in part.
How many hours do you work a week?
I work between 21 and 24 hours a week. My working week consists of 2 days in the office and the remaining hours ad hoc from home to fit around requirements. I’m responsible for all sign off of emails and that can often mean editing copy at the last minute or on a Friday afternoon; that flexibility allows me to maintain my role at work and tends to fit quite nicely with naptime activities!
Do you have to travel far from where you live to where you work?
Both my husband and I work about 10 minutes from our home. It’s great because it means we pop home at lunchtimes although this is harder to do being part-time now! I feel like I need to be in the office ALL day when I’m there, just to show that I’m still valuable and committed which is ridiculous but how I perceive things.
If you use public transport what do you do to pass the time on your commute?
Public transport in Devon is appalling so we drive to work. It gives us flexibility and allows us to do the nursery run too. My husband and I work at the same company so we used to share driving but now we tend to take two cars – so much for being green!!
What do you do for childcare? Does this work for you?
My mum has my son one day a week, he goes to nursery for the other full day and then one other morning. So far, this seems to work well. The additional half day is to allow me to get everything sorted for the week, do a chunk of my ‘at home’ hours and do the boring things like clean the house. We’re really fortunate that both our parents live nearby and can be involved in childcare and I think it’s good for both grandparent and grandchild to have that relationship! The nursery we use is incredible, it’s in a local village, surrounded by fields and has a lot of emphasis on being baby-led and being outdoors. If I could give anyone a piece of advice it would be to make sure you have childcare you’re really comfortable with. It makes a huge difference knowing you can relax about it.
What does your morning routine look like? What do you do to get you all out of the house on time?
We are renowned for being late so I’m probably not the best to ask about this! We changed our hours when I returned to work to reduce the amount of time our son is in childcare. I now work 7.30 – 4.30 and my husband works 9 – 6. It means I get out of mornings in the most part as he’s in charge but the key to it is organisation the night before. I almost always forget something but we try to get as much stuff sorted in the evening so it’s sorted in the morning. Especially outfits, if I let my husband choose outfits then we have the world’s scruffiest child.
What do you like about being a working mum?
I love showing my child that working hard has benefits and I think it’s good for them to see what that can bring. I love the interaction with adults and using the professional part of my brain. I actually enjoy the time away from home – I think it genuinely makes me a better, calmer and more in tune parent as I appreciate the time out more.
What don’t you like about being a working mum?
I hate the attitude people have towards mums in the workplace. The consensus that when we’re not at work we’re on holiday or lazing in bed. Being on childcare duties is far more exhausting than sitting at a computer! Nothing goes away when you go back to work, you still have to wash, cook and clean and half the time be up in the night with the baby! Finally I hate the feeling of compromise. Often I feel like I’m not really giving my all to either; when I’m at work, I’m thinking about home and vice versa. It’s difficult getting that balance and I don’t feel I’ve quite got it right just yet.
What would you change?
I don’t think there’s much I would change. I think I’m pretty fortunate to be honest! If I really had to pick I would probably want to just do two long days but that wouldn’t allow me to do the bits of my job I love so it’s not worth it.
What three tips would you pass onto a mum about to start back at work?
1. Get childcare you trust. If you’re happy that your child’s happy then it takes some of the pressure off.
2. Don’t over commit yourself. You might feel like you can do everything when you’re at work but you need to be realistic. The last thing you want to do is be committing to 40 hours of work a week when you’re only in the office for 30. You really don’t want that stress!
3. Remember that you’re doing this for your child. If they’re a baby then they really won’t remember that they screamed when you left for the first month and if they’re older then it’s good for them to see you work. You’re giving them greater opportunities by doing it and they’re learning to socialise and interact with others aside from you.
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?
Oh god. My work handbag is effectively the one I use all the time and shove into the baby bag when we’re out together. Occasionally I’ll put it inside a larger bag and take my laptop (and breast pump!) in to work with me but I’ll just take the photo of my regular one.
I’m pretty sure it originally came from Oasis. Inside are receipts from the last three years (it feels like!), keys, hairbands & clips, loose change, all my cards, a spare nappy and some berry flavoured rice cakes. I can never find anything in a hurry!
Thank you so much for taking part in the Meet the Mum interview series Hayley. I really found myself nodding and totally agreeing with you when reading you answers. Totally agreee with you about finding the right childcare provision, it really has a big impact on all of you.
If you would like to be featured in my Meet the Working Mum series send an email to:- firstname.lastname@example.org