Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Working Mum

All my life, all I have ever wanted was to become a mother. Ever since I can remember. I never wanted to travel. I never wanted a career. I was born to be a mother.

In January 2010, this dream came true when my daughter Muffin was born. I absolutely adore her and I just adore being a mother. I love everything about it.

The beginning of 2011 brought with it the beginning of some financial troubles for my family.

Everyday life was becoming a bit of a struggle, so Mr.J and I decided it would be best if I tried to find work.

When applying for jobs, I had in mind that whatever position I got, I wanted it to be with a company that I could grow and evolve with. Perhaps to one day have a career of sorts. While I do have plans to have many more children, I wanted this next job to be one that I could return to after maternity leave and continue to grow within the company.

After weeks of searching and applying and rejections, I finally landed a job as Corporate Receptionist for a big multinational company. The hours are part time so it fits in perfectly with our current work/family schedule and we’re slowly getting back on track with our finances thanks to this position.

I’ve now currently been working here for almost 4 months and I love it. It’s a great company to work for, the people are lovely and there are so many great opportunities for potential career prospects.

The only issue I have, and I knew this going in, is that I’m not actually hired by the company I work for. My position is contracted through a different company. While I do still have all the same legal entitlements as others, the downside is that when I choose to have my next child, upon completion of maternity leave, I will probably not be coming back to this company.

And that sucks!

I don’t want to be the new girl again. I certainly don’t want to be the new girl every time I have a baby and finish maternity leave. And I don’t want to always be starting out at the bottom.

I’m 24 years old. I would like to have 4 children (finances permitting). I don’t want to still be the new receptionist when I’m in my 30’s.

Within the company that I work for, there will always been other internal positions opening up and I am well within my rights to apply for them. There is nothing stopping me from applying for and possibly gaining new positions within this company that are not contracted or outsourced. And as this is something I had in mind for my long term professional goals, I’ve no problems with this.

My problems lie with the timing. If I want to have another baby soon, and I do, and if I want to stay at this company, and I do, then I need to get myself into a new position to be hired by this company in order to secure my position. Pushing my professional goals forward sooner than I’d hoped, but that’s OK. It shows initiative. However, aside from reception, I don’t think there are any other positions in this company with the same part time hours.

Also, depending on which department I went to, there may not be a flexible option for part time hours. I would most likely have to work full time.

As Muffin is getting older, I feel that it could possibly be do-able. Mr.J even mused at the thought of me working full time and him becoming a stay at home dad with a possible evening job. I entertained the idea for a while but then realised, when we do have another baby, after a year of maternity leave, I would need to come back to a full time position.

I couldn’t leave my 12 month old baby to work full time. It would just be too hard. As it was, Muffin was 13 months old when I started working here, part time, and I struggled with that for quite a while in the beginning.

The thing that bugs me the most in all of this is that there is even a question about it.

I was born to be a mother. All I ever wanted was to have babies and be a mother. I never, in a million years, would have considered possible career prospects. But I also never thought I would be working at a company that I enjoyed and that could take me places, professionally speaking.

Working here is a great opportunity and could be wonderful for myself and my family and for our future.

Financially speaking, unless we win lotto, Mr.J and I are always going to need to be working to survive and support our family, especially if we wish to have 4 children. As our children grow, I will of course be wanting to head back into the workforce and in this day and age, it’s better to always be in the game then completely out of the loop.

It’s so hard to find employment these days. The chances of a 30-40 year old mother of four, who hasn’t worked in 20 years, finding employment is going to be pretty damn tough. As it is, it took me months to land this one.

If I ceased employment with this company, due to maternity leave, the place that I am contracted with, would of course be legally bound to replace my employment with another company, but what if it’s a bad place, or one that doesn’t have any real future opportunities? I’ve worked for some pretty shitty companies before and don’t ever want to be in a dead end job again. The company I am at now not only has so many internal opportunities available, it is also such a well known company that in time, could introduce me to some wonderful connections to further my career path. It really is very promising.

I guess I just can’t believe that at this time in my life, I’m questioning motherhood versus career.

I never dreamed that I would ever be in this position before and while my heart is saying to just go with the flow, whatever will be will be, focus on having children and deal with the job stuff later in life, my head is telling me that I’d be a fool to throw away such a wonderful opportunity and I need to find a way to do both.

I guess for now whatever will be, will be. I have no idea what is going to happen in the next 12 months, career wise or family wise. I’ve no idea how things will change so I know I shouldn’t stress too much about it. But I don’t want to sit around and wait for too long and miss out on any awesome opportunities that could pass my way.

Then again, who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and be able to have my cake and eat it too.

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