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Monday, December 21, 2020

Maintaining a work-life balance after maternity leave


Maintaining a work-life balance is something I have always been pretty bad at doing. Even when I’ve had the kind of roles where it’s actually possible to leave your workload in the office, I have never been able to switch off. 


My priorities changed massively when Cassius was born and instead of returning to my job in Local Government I made the decision to go self-employed and returned to ‘work’ when Cass was 10 months old. I was doing a combination of contracting, paralegal work and blogging and because we were in lockdown I didn’t have the option of childcare to help me back into a work routine. I really enjoyed the flexibility of working for myself and being able to set my working hours. Not having a guaranteed income was a bit stressful but I was happy to be able to work from home and fit in around Cass’s (non-existent) routine. 


I have since done a total 180 and have opened a zero waste refill shop on our local high street, which has meant I am out of the house 10-5, five days a week. This has been a shock to the system because it has thrown me into a proper routine and from being with my toddler 24/7- to out of the house most of the day. I'm even continuing with some freelance work alongside this just to make sure I have enough on my plate that I avoid ever actually completing my masters thesis. 


Cass has recently started nursery, this didn't go as smoothly as I had hoped but at least it is taking some of the pressure off. Managing a new business, and all of the admin that comes with it, is as time-consuming as you would imagine. Unlike my old job where I had my fixed, contracted weekly work hours, I basically work unlimited hours (for zero pay so far!). I don’t begrudge it at all, it is super rewarding to be able to totally work for myself and not be accountable to anyone else. It also gives me the warm and fuzzies to be able to feel like I am actively doing my part to limit plastic pollution in giving our local community the ability to shop without single use plastic. 


When Cassius actually goes to sleep at a reasonable hour in the evening, I do manage to sit and get some work done- mainly things like ordering and paying invoices. I feel like I’ve had to make a lot of compromises but this is mainly on things like my standards of tidying at home and keeping on top of the laundry mountain. I think maybe it hasn’t been an insurmountable struggle because so much of the stuff I would want to be doing weekly has been off the table due to the COVID situation; no café meet ups with my mum group, no soft play, no shopping and lunch out at a restaurant. It is easier to juggle everything when the whole family/social ball isn't in the mix.


Ultimately, I think I only have some semblance of a good work-life balance because I have a lot of help from family and I’ve stopped sweating the small stuff so much. I’m not going to regret not keeping up with watching my favourite series on Netflix but I will regret not taking half an hour to have a hyper dance party with Cassius or spend half an hour chasing down some geese to feed along the river. 









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