Friday, 28 June 2013

A realisation - it's okay to work


If you follow me on Twitter, it won't have escaped your notice that I've changed jobs recently. And I'm writing this now at the end of my very first week. 

Happiness at work is a huge thing, whether you are a mother or not. We all work so hard throughout our lives to achieve something for ourselves; to find that dream job. Whether that job is being a brilliant full-time mum, or working as a journalist after years of training. Or juggling the two. Either way - it matters. If you have to spend most of your life doing it, happiness should be at the forefront of every decision you make. Even before money, because, while everyone thinks it makes the world go round,  when you are spent-up, you've nothing left. But happiness, love, memories and achievement - they last a lifetime.

I enjoyed my old job - I was a business journalist acting as Group Editor over a family of publications and people. I liked my clients. I liked working hard and having a nice time there. But while I liked it, my heart was always with my son. 

As it should be.

This made me realise that, should I have to spend time away from that little boy of mine, my job had to be something special. Something for me. I really enjoyed working where I used to be, but I had hit the glass ceiling quickly, out of opportunity and hard work, something that I am very grateful for, but I wondered - what next? I didn't think my life had any more doors for me to open. 

Before William, I was an assertive, competitive, driven individual, who wanted what she wanted, when she wanted it. I wanted to be the best. I wanted to win. And I suppose, in my own, little world, I did. 

But, upon returning to work after William was born, work wasn't the same for me. I struggled with so many demons that I've only vanquished very recently. I felt like a poor excuse of a mother. I felt like less of a person at work - not through any fault of my colleagues, but because of how I viewed myself. This was it for me, I thought. I would work hard and then go home every day and get to catch moments with my son. It was my life.

But then, as the end of a year often does, I felt inspired. 2013 would be different. If I were to be a working mother, I would embrace it. I would do my makeup properly, I would make an effort with myself. I would assess why I felt so glum. I would change it.

What I have come to understand is this - I have never failed at anything in my life. Perhaps aside from the six attempts it took before I passed my driving test, seventh time around... But, I had always managed. I wanted a degree in journalism - I got one. I wanted an Excellence Scholarship - I got one. I wanted to be the editor of a magazine - I became one. How arrogant I seem, looking back.

But then, becoming a  mother was changed all of that. I wanted a natural birth - I got one. I wanted to breastfeed - I did, despite complications. I wanted to beat the baby blues - I had none. I wanted to be with my son - I couldn't be. 

There was never any choice for me. It was made. "But couldn't you...?" "But what about...?" No, I would explain, it's just how it is.

I think, looking back, that I battled a depression of my own. Perhaps not post-natal. Perhaps not on the level of those who I in no way mean to detract from. But in my own, suppressed way. In my way of wanting to show that I could cope, I could do both, I would do everything that a stay-at-home mother could, and then I would be a fantastic career woman too. I didn't want to fail. I wanted to be the best for my son. I wanted him to be proud. 

I realised this, upon reading out my keynote speech at BritMums Live. A blog post, filled with humour and anecdotes, which, when said aloud in my own voice, said aloud to a room full of my peers, sounded almost sad. I was making a joke of my struggles, because it was the only way I knew how to cope at the time. 

Watching it back, after the lovely Kirsty and Clara of My Two Mums recorded it for me, I felt a lump in my throat. 



I made a change to my life, and chose to join a new family. A working family of new beginnings. Fresh starts. Making a difference. I get to write, all day long. I work with charities. I get to help people. I get to make a difference here, when I can't always make a difference at home. This change in no way reflects against my old job, I just had to leave that time behind, and I had to find my place. 

I'm really happy of what I have achieved. I'm really proud of who I am. I can finally say that.

I'm a working mum. And that is more than okay. 

28 comments:

  1. Very very good luck to you!!

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  2. A happy mum is a brilliant mum. A driven mum is a great role model and your little boy will be proud as well, as he grows and realises his mum does whatever it takes. However much I miss my baby when I'm working, I know I'm doing it (& everything else) with the best intentions which is all you can do. It's the only way to do it. Congrats on the job.

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    1. Thank you so much sweetheart. I'm still gutted I didn't mean you. :( Thank you for being so supportive. xx

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  3. You should be proud of what you have done and what you will do. I think you're a lot like me - you joke and make witty comments about yourself but the more you do, the worse you can feel. That's what I meant about your comment yesterday about your weight. It's so much easier said than done but I've decided life is too short to spend it constantly thinking 'I'm fat' or 'I wish I was a few stone lighter'. We owe it to ourselves to be kinder to ourselves and by the sounds of it, this new job will help you be kinder to yourself as a working mum who still has ambitions.

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    1. Thank you so much Kelly. I think we are really similar too. It's hard trying to be perfect, because we know it's not achievable. I just hope that I can keep up the happy vibes now. It feels amazing to finally feel at peace. xx

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  4. Such great news that you've found a new job you love. It's a fresh start for your new life and sounds like it's revitalised you. Hooray! Best of luck x

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    1. Thank you pickle. That is so kind of you to say. It's going brilliantly so far and I feel SO lucky! xx

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  5. Good Luck for your new job...I made a change this time last year and it was scary...but definitely the best decision I've ever made!

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    1. Thank you Carrie. I'm so glad to hear that it worked out for you - it makes me feel even happier with my decision. xx

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  6. You are not only a Working Mum, but a true inspiration too! Xx

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    1. And you, sweetheart, are just lovely. Thank you. xx

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  7. How is that every single time I read a new post of yours I like you more?? lol. You are a brilliant writer and you have an amazing blog! This post was just so inspirational and personal. I wish you all the best of luck in your new job. It sounds like you have a LOT to be proud of! In fact - I'm quite a bit jealous of you! xx

    Alex ♡
    Bump to Baby

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    1. Oh Alex, bless you. That was such a kind comment. And I'm jealous of you - you are beautiful and I love your sunshine-outlook on life! xx

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  8. A wonderful post Charlotte, and good luck in your new job. You totally deserve happiness as you are a really lovely lady. xx

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    1. Oh Katie! Bless you. Thank you so much. You know how much that means to me and how brilliant it was to meet you. You are a great friend. xx

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  9. This has struck a chord with me as I will be returning to work in exactly a week! I'm scared but reading this I feel a lot better!
    Thank you & good luck!

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    1. Hello Becky. How is it going? Well I hope! If you ever need a chat - I'm here! xx

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  10. I love this post. It's quite apt for me at the moment too - I'm on maternity leave and getting MAJOR heebie jeebies about going back to work on October. I hate the thought of leaving my boys with other people and missing moments with them, but at the same time work is a huge part of my identity, something I enjoy and something I've worked very hard for. I guess I want it all, but that's just not possible.
    Thank you for such a positive and inspiring post :) x

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    1. Thank you sweetheart. I will be honest and say it's not easy, but it's doable and it can be enjoyable too. I promise. If you ever need someone to talk to, I'm here. xx

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  11. Charlotte, you are an absolute inspiration, honestly. I'm so glad that you've finally realised its ok to work!! I wish you all the best and every success in your new job! Xo

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    1. Thank you so much pickle. You've always been here for me, so thank you for that too. xx

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  12. This is a really great post. I think so many of us go through that low-level depression you describe when working away from our young ones; the conflicts it inspires. And, then again, I know so many women too who have, like you (maybe boosted by the unconditional love and approval that a child gives you?) have made radical career changes then. I have done so too, I rediscovered what I loved doing as a child when my children came along and made it into my job, quitting a much more high-flying job but finding more energy for me, the family and life itself.

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    1. Anna, you are so right. Thank you for such a brilliant comment. I feel like my life has changed now and I've realised that you can have your cake and eat it too, it just takes a little longer to bake! xx

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  13. Awww Charlotte what a really lovely post i think many of us face those demons and now that you have found your way again and ok with being a working mum in your own head this is so inspiring.

    Thanks for linking up with #MagicMoments x

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  14. Being a working Mum is very much more than OK! Actually it can be good for you and the kids. I did a post on this a while back actually. Well done indeed on reading your keynote at BritMums, I had to slope off before the end but it sounds like I missed the best bit.

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  15. Congratulations, and good luck with your new job! Stopping by from Magic Moments.

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  16. For almost any laid-off person, buying a job is actually the goal. It really is difficult for you to survive with no employment presently except if a person is actually helping an individual financially.

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