The ‘rife’ working mum hustle
Good morning Blogsville!
It has been a long minute. I have been busy being a wife, mum and a full time tax professional! It hasn’t been easy but I have enjoyed most of it. It has been a whole new experience having to think of one little person in everything that we do, from holidays to going for weddings and parties and just generally everything. As you can imagine, childcare is not cheap in the UK! Oh lala, one has to be really wise in how they combine a variety of different childcare providers. However, God has been faithful.
I remember when I went back to work after 9 months, it was all too overwhelming. I was trying to be taken seriously at work as someone who was a professional and was able to keep my professional life separate from my private life. However, my son had other plans. He was one of those whose temperature went as high as 39 degrees Celsius with every tooth that came out of his mouth. This meant that nursery was pretty much on the phone to me at least once a week to pick him up because he was running a temperature. On average, at that time he cut a tooth in three weeks, so I was in and out of work sporadically.
Now to add salt to my wound, some babies have loose stool when they are teething as well. In my son’s nursery, if a child had three loose stools in a day, they will call you to pick your child up. As you can also imagine, my son was one of those as well. In both cases, if you pick your child up, your child cannot go back to nursery for two full days, working day or not.
I spent so much time trying to get them to reason with them that he was teething. They told me they cannot be sure if it is diahorrea or teething poop, but if I can get a letter from the doctor, they will take him back. So on one occasion I went to the doctor and they said they couldn’t give such a letter without taking a poo sample and the results from a poo sample could take days by which time it would have settled and there would be no need for a doctors report. It was just an absolute waste of time. I turned my prayer to, “God, please if he must be ill let it be on a Friday and clear by Monday.” That hustle was rife Mehn!
After three months of this to and fro with nursery (which we were paying an arm and a leg for and he was barely spending any time there), we eventually found an aupair who joined us in February. Talking about an angel in human clothing! This girl was everything I prayed for. She was so happy, content and absolutely loved my son. She made it clear from the start she will only be with us for 9 months and she was very dedicated to us in those 9 months. She is now leaving at the end of this month and I am so going to miss her! She just made my life so much easier. The irony is that my son hasn’t been as ill as he used to be when he was much younger but at least I knew that if he needed to be picked up from nursery, there was someone at home who could pick him up as soon as possible while I made my way back home.
As months passed, I was able to focus on work while I was at work and focus on my child when I am at home. It has taken a very long time to eventually find something close to a balance. I haven’t found a balance yet but I would like to think we are slowly getting there. I try to set short term goals (a year at a time) because anything can happen, especially when you are a mum.
People often ask me how I do it! The honest truth is that, it is solely the grace of God. In the early days, I cried so many days because I felt incompetent as a mum and I’m my job. However, because working in my job meant a lot to me and I did not want to give it up, I had to find a way and pray for wisdom and guidance to make being a wife and a mum work as well as doing my job in an efficient way. I am especially thankful for testimonies that I haven’t shared yet (but I better start now) that happened along the way which basically put most of the things in place for me to work with.
Most of you know that we moved from Maidenhead shortly before I had my son and at that time I was working in Reading. When we moved, I didn’t have a job to go to in London. The plan was that when I was ready to come back to work after my maternity leave, I would contact my manager in Reading and he would let me know what the vacancies in the London office were to apply for myself. He made it clear I was welcome to come back to the Reading office but there was absolutely no way I was going to commute everyday from London to Reading with a baby at home. Once again it all went to God in prayer.
It so happened that I opted to do my annual training even though I was on maternity leave. The training was to take place in London for two weeks. Thankfully I was able to convince my mum to come and babysit from Nigeria while I attended this training. During the training, I met this girl in the london office. We didn’t particularly talk a lot but a couple of days before the training was over I just felt prompted to say hello to her and so I did. We got talking and I found out she was getting married soon and then we started talking about work and I told her my predicament. She said to me that she knows the senior management in her team were looking to recruit and so she will let them know she knows someone looking for a job. Within a couple of days, I got an email from her senior manager asking for a phone call with me to discuss what they were looking for. Next thing I knew, I was invited for an interview with the head of their department and the senior manager!
I was so worried because I had been on maternity leave and I was not keeping up to date with tax in anyway. Of course, as things will have it, that year was the year they changed a million rules and so many things were generally happening in the tax world. Add that to the fact that this new role was more technical and more specialised in that I would have to focus on international tax. I prayed again and got my women of prayer group to pray with me as well. I nervously went for the interview. I have to say it was the toughest interview I have ever done in my life! It was like I was interviewing for a job in another organisation as opposed to in another department. He looked at my CV and noticed I got about 7 awards in the space of a year in my last department before I left for maternity leave. He asked me what each of them was for and I told him. Then he said he hopes I don’t expect to receive the same amount of awards in London and that they don’t give them out that often. Anyway, I went home feeling unsure but knowing I had done my best. The next morning I received an email from the head of the department saying he was happy to welcome me to the international tax team! To say the least, I was very happy!
I immediately negotiated new working hours where I could start at 8:30am and leave at 4:30pm so I could pick up my son. Thankfully, it was accepted. What I really wanted was a job to go back to, but a pay rise would have been the cherry on cake that would have been nice to have as we now had an additional mouth to feed. However, as I was moving in the same position to a different department, I wasn’t expecting a pay rise. But as God would have it, when I saw my new package, I got a 22 per cent pay rise with no negotiation!
This was how what is my current love hate relationship with my new job started! I still love it and find it challenging but wha I know and should always go without even saying is that, I can see God written all over it and the overwhelming favour I have experienced. There is more to this story, it shall be continued.
Enjoy the rest of your week.