Kirsty McCabe – Back to Work

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Being a working mum is the ultimate juggling act. Trying to balance the demands of work and family often leaves me feeling tired, guilty and like I’m just keeping my head above water. But while part of me would love to stay home with Ethan all day, I know that I wanted to get a little bit of the ‘old me’ back. Not to mention that financially I had no choice but to work in order to pay the bills!


Once I’d decided to return to work, the next traumatic decision was what to do about childcare. The cost alone is enough to make you rethink that return to work! With grandparents miles away in Scotland and South Africa, we dithered over the pros and cons of nannies, childminders and nursery. In terms of cost and practicality, nursery suited us best, it’s just around the corner and I’m always impressed at the range of activities Ethan gets to do. There’s also the social aspect as he learns to get along with others, and so far the only downside seems to be all the germs he brings home and shares with us…

So what can you do to ease the transition back to work? Here are my top tips for surviving life as a working mum.

Shop online
Whether it’s for food or clothes there are so many good online retailers that will save you valuable time. Depending on your boss you may even be able to do some sneaky surfing at work, but I often add stuff to my virtual shopping basket while catching up on telly once I’ve got Ethan off to sleep. Working mums are definitely the masters of multi-tasking!

Share the chores
This may sound rather sexist but in my experience, men have a higher dirt-tolerance threshold than women. To avoid frayed tempers over dirty dishes tell your husband what you would like him to do. Through years of training I have discovered it’s best to choose one thing that you really want done, and accept that when he empties the dishwasher he probably won’t wipe down the worktops even though you would do such things automatically. If all else fails, treating husbands like toddlers can work a treat. In short, give him two options to choose from. He feels like he had a choice, you get something done. Everyone is happy.


Don’t feel guilty
Easier said than done but don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. I know some colleagues may moan that you have to leave at a certain time to collect your child, but as long as you are pulling your weight and doing the hours you have agreed with your boss then it’s their problem not yours. Similarly, don’t let your little one tug on your heart strings too much. I know there is nothing worse than a little face crying out “Mummy” and clinging onto your leg in an attempt to stop you leaving without them. But once you’ve gone your toddler will bounce back in seconds and happily move on to something else.


As for me? I’m enjoying having my own identity (rather than just being Ethan’s mum) but I would like a laundry fairy. Or perhaps just some decent summer weather so things dry quicker. Oh, and a few more hours in the day wouldn’t go amiss when I’m trying to write a blog while starting a new job that involves ridiculously early starts (3.20am…)!

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5 comments for “Kirsty McCabe – Back to Work

  1. 17/07/2012 at 8:51 pm

    Fate seems to be playing her hand. It’s very likely that I’ll be deciding on a full time job this coming Monday, and whilst I’ve been in tears thinking about leaving my two girls during the day, it’s so reassuring to know that life will happily go on. Thank you Kirsty.

  2. Sally
    17/07/2012 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Kirsty.
    I had my first child five and a half years ago and decided not to return to work but to look after my family full time. I do not judge you for going back to work and I certainly would not advocate making working Mum’s feel guilty as I believe that everyone is different and has different circumstances to work in.
    It does make me feel bad however when working Mum’s say “just a mum” or imply that I some how do not have an identity purely because I’m not a Human Resources Business Partner for an multi-national company anymore.
    I have had a really fullfilling five and a half years watching and helping my children grow up the way I want them to and I believe I’ve done a great job. I have done lots of other things in addition to this which have enriched my life and that of my family. We’ve made lots of sacrifices for me to do this, financial ones mostly but I still believe I made the right decision.

    Please bare this in mind when you are musing on the subject in future.

    I wish you all the best in your new job
    Sally Callis

  3. 15/08/2012 at 1:29 pm

    After i had my little girl, i had no option but to return to work full time in the position i left as a manager in retail, due to the fact the company offered company maternity pay on top of the statutory. if i decided not to return i would have to pay this back, an amount we would not have been able to afford. we looked at several nursaries to put her in but fell in love with the very first one we looked at. Isla attended a trail day where we stayed at the nursary and played with her for an hour, and the following week we dropped her off and left her for two hours, getting her out of there was a nightmare, she absolutly loved it!!! on Isla’s first full day (8am-6pm)i took her in dropped her off knowing full well she would have an amazing day, we get a diary filled out of what she has done with her day, who she has played with and in what area of the nursary, what she has eaten, what time and how long she’d slept for down to the number of dirty nappies! i know exactly what she’s been doing all day!! she started there at 8 months old, she started walking at 10 months from copying ‘the big kids’ she is now 22 months and you can hold a full conversation with her and is the most social little girl. it has done her wonders being at nursary and everyone that works there put so much time and effort into developing the children there and you can see the results. all topped off with an outstanding ofsted report to back it up!
    Its a matter of routine, yes at first i was completely shattered, but my other half cooked dinner and tidied up while i relaxed in the bath, and when it became part of the normal daily routine its just something i had to do to support my new family. for me it was the right decision, and i cherish every second i have with Isla on my days off.

    All the best to any mum starting back work……but do what works for you not what people are telling you to do.

    Take care.

    Laura Pritchard.

  4. Emma Battams-Harris
    21/11/2012 at 6:37 pm

    I am one of five children and growing up in my household was amazing,there was always somthing going on with one of us and lots of friends round, I always had my mother there as she had decieded to give her job up in the city to raise the family.
    I am greatful to her for all the time spent together as a family and have many happy funny memories.

    I have a little girl of my own just over two years old and while I had the option not to return to work it was what I wanted to do. I felt it was important to start being able to do things for myself again and by simply going to work it made me feel as though I had started to regain my own independence.

    My first day back to work was the worst,My husband kindly walked me to work with my daughter and dropped me off on the bench were another member of staff was sitting,we spoke for a few minutes then he said okay have fun turned and walked off with the buggy, I burst into tears, the other staff member started to laugh,this in return made me laugh but an over welming feeling of dread came over me. My husband is very capable at looking after our daughter but I worried the whole day and working for JoJo Maman Bebe ment that I was surrounded by children and babies all day, this made me feel like I had made the wrong choice and I wanted to get back home as soon as I could.

    When I read the blog Kirsty had written it made me laugh I totaly agree with everything she says,my little treasure is going to nursery soon and im not looking forward to it. I treat my husband the same way she is suggesting and it works a treat,guilt is somthing a mother never gets over I am told,my mother still feels bad for waving me off on my first day at nursery and im an adult now.

    My husband and I share the duties of looking after our daughter along with my family,she does not seem to have been effected in any way other then a positive way as there is many people she learns different skills from, she is able to sign and speak french,cound and have even started to read small words.

    I am glad I went back to work now as it was the right thing for me to do but I also understand the mothers that wish to stay at home with their children, I do not see anything wrong in this as I am the child of a stay at home mother. I believe you should spend as much time as you can when ever possible with your children, this is what they will remember not if you was at work or not. My father was at work all the time but I do not think back and say “you was always at work dad” its always about things we did together and our days out when he was off and our family days out even if it was just to the local park we all went as a family and thats whats important.

  5. Kirsty
    07/01/2014 at 11:49 am

    Thanks for the replies – happy new year to all us mums.
    Kirsty xxx

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