Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Librarian Queen Mummy - Returning to 'Work'

"Are you going to be a doctor like daddy?" we asked Poppet recently, as she played with her daddy's stethoscope (carefully sterilised). 

"No! I'm going to be a Librarian Queen Mummy like Mummy!" my Poppet exclaimed. 

While my heart did a little giddy flip at the sweetness of her, my work is also something I've been thinking about a lot recently, as I've started back doing a shift a week, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how swaps work out.

This is the earliest I've started back at 'work' after a baby and I feel incredibly blessed that it all works so perfectly. I'm doing very short shifts and my parents are happy to make the 6 hour round trip to look after Littlest while I'm away during the week, while on my weekend shifts my beloved mans up and takes on the three wee ones solo (Flatteringly, he does look a little frazzled when I trip gaily up to the front door on my return, rested. recharged and eager to hug my beaming, filthy delights.) 

Financially, I'm not entirely sure if it evens out - just look at the time involved on my parents behalf - that's a combined twenty of their hours for my four hour shift, not to mention train tickets etc. Yes, they get to spend uninterrupted baby time... but that's a massive commitment, which I'm very grateful for and I fully understand would not be an option for everyone. 

What it comes down to for us is keeping choices and options open.

Yes, my Beloved is nearly finished his degree, but life and fate are capricious - you just never know what's going to happen. It's not a 'life is capricious now', life and work have always been capricious. 

We, in (most) of the west, finally have some kind of backup, but I still think it's good to be prepared. 

Keeping my skills relevant, my references relevant, as well as my Beloved's, is something we believe is important as a family, even if I never work full time again - although the likelihood is that I will.

So I'm waking in the middle of the night to express milk, trying to remember to put in breast pads (the wet-patched-chest look isn't the most sophisticated around) giving my dusty work shoes a quick once over with baby wipes and back in the paid workforce again, if only very casually, and only till Christmas. 

My beloved is spending quality, one on one, time with the kids and my parents, remembering how hard it was for my mum to re-enter the workforce after a long child-raising break, are making the mammoth journey.

I'm so very grateful that my work is so flexible (short as my shift is one of my supervisors told me I'd be welcome to bring Littlest to feed, or have her brought to me. Luckily Littlest is taking happily to the bottle... although there was that one time when Sprocket drank her milk and she was a wee tad hangry when I returned...)

I'm returning from work loaded up with books about childhood, motherhood, mothers negotiating childhood in todays world and the nature of work in todays world. (This time I'll return them on time, honest. Ish.)

My brain is slowly fluttering back into action - not that this is a result neccesarily of returning to work - more a confluence of happenings. 

I'm curious abo
ut how other mothers negotiate paid work and work in the home, their choices about when to return to work and when to give it away and what motivates/motivated you.


  1. Such an important post. You're doing an amazing job juggling it all - plus expressing in the middle of the night is no easy task! We moved to a small(ish) country town 3 years ago just before I gave birth to our first son. Our second son is 7 months now and I had to do a major re-think about work. There are no real options for me where we live in the area I used to work in, so I followed another long-time love and something I've always done 'on the side' - writing. Now I teach creative writing for an organisation based in Sydney, but I can do it from home, so no long hours commuting, and I work flexibly around the boys. I started with a small contract when my littlest was 8 weeks old (gulp) and it was tough, but now I'm building to more work slowly, and I've had a few freelance articles published etc too.
    My motivation sounds similar to you - not wanting to give up paid work/skills entirely, but trying to find the balance for our family as a whole. I'd love to know what books you've found useful on the subject, and how you find it going forward. Such an important thing to share, I think - plus - if you do creative things too - how to find time for that too?! Thanks for sharing your story Kirsty, I love hearing about how other mums juggle all these things too. Pia

    1. Flexibility and balance are such key issues for working parents. It's wonderful you were able to find work you were able to do from home - the best of both worlds. It's something I think the internet has really had a very positive impact on! I'll try to post a photo of my present reading soon - but I haven't found anything (yet) particularly pertinent to working mothers juggling, more about work and society in general - most of which has made me feel exceptionally lucky about my own circumstances! Thank you for sharing - I do think it's so important that people share stories and different choices are reflected.

  2. I've been the breadwinner in our family since our first was born eight years ago. While I've had my moments I'm also really proud that I am able to provide for my family. My husband steps in where I can't as easily (school field trips, etc) and we keep our lines of communication open so each of us knows exactly where the other stands in regards to working and family. My kids are what keep me motivated. We could live a different lifestyle and be just fine, but I'm glad that what I so allows us to live in an awesome school district and provides them with so many other opportunities to grow. We live in the suburbs but have enough land for chickens and a big vegetable garden and such.

    I really look to other mothers in my workplace and the internet to find community and support as I go on my journey. I am a contributor at and utilize sites like that for advice and ideas.

    Best of luck on your journey!

    1. Hi Laura, thank you for sharing your story. It's great that your family have found a way that works so well for you - especially one that involves a big veggie garden and chickens - it sounds wonderful - and you should be proud that you provide for our family - it's a big thing! It's so interesting hearing about the different choices people make - as many different choices as there are different families as each one works out what works best for them.