Before I became a parent, I worked in HR. I had a huge passion for progressing in my career and looking back now I really was blinkered and career focused. As soon as I fell pregnant and saw that blue line my opinion changed. 9-5 every week was not the way forward for me, I wanted a more work/life balance and really struggled once Tobias came along to think of what I wanted to do going forward.
When I started to look into my options when Tobias was 9 months old, I had to weigh up and take into consideration:
1. Childcare (as in – was it available to suit my hours and could we afford it?)
2. Work-life balance
3. How would we deal with any emergencies
4. If I was still breastfeeding how would that work
5. Ultimately, did I want to return to work
For me personally, I wanted to take the opportunity to do something that I already enjoyed and could work around my children going forward. I have always loved swimming myself and also had taken Tobias to swimming lessons from a young age. Even before training to be a swimming instructor I felt it was important for all my children to be water safety aware and to feel comfortable in the water. A month before Tobias’ first birthday I went down south for a week to retrain as a preschool swimming teacher and loved everything about it! It wasn’t long however that I found out we were expecting Hamish. I worked up until the day before I gave birth and the water helped me during the whole pregnancy, relieving some of the pregnancy symptoms I was struggling with.
When Hamish was born, I returned back to swimming when he was 3 months old. I do look back and think ‘oh my’. It was super hard, I experienced engorged breasts several times and even ended up going to hospital with painful mastitis, after a while I decided (and my manager agreed) to move onto an adhoc contract to cover other people when holidays or sickness happened. This really worked for me and I carried this on through my pregnancy with Seth.
Since Seth was born, I haven’t returned to work in any capacity. Mainly because of lockdowns and not being as many lessons or pools available, but also because managing childcare for three children is crazy!
Gavin and I have spoken about what the future plan is as we would love to have more children. The decision for now is me staying at home and then we will address our finances and what would be best for our family once we’ve finished having children. I can’t deny that there was an element of relief when the decision not to return had been made. Its nice to have some breathing space to really assess what I want to do next and to work out how I could do this whilst still being a mum.