My daughter has just turned 9 months old…the point at which I envisaged life regaining some semblance of normality. However, I find myself in an unexpected position that I am sure thousands of other mums have also found themselves in…browsing the Internet for jobs.
In my previous life, I worked in London, as a marketing manager in the sports industry. I spent a lot of my time sat on a train, commuting between Cambridge and London, which at 8 months pregnant, felt like the longest journey in the world, but it was worth it for a job I loved, at a company in which I felt valued. I was one of the lucky ones, I liked my job and I was good at it.
Maybe this is why I didn’t think twice about any complications with returning to work once my maternity had ended. However, I think from the moment I announced my pregnancy, the old spidey-senses started tingling. Over the years, I have honed the skill of ‘mental compartmentalisation’ and consequently put the slight nagging worry about ‘juggling a commute, a regular 50+ hour week and also raising my daughter’ into a box marked ‘deal with this when you have to’. Consequently I didn’t see it coming when my employer was unable to accept my request at going part time and I had to hand in my notice. I can’t blame them, they were good to me and we’ve parted on good terms. It was also pretty obvious to be honest…my role was pivotal and needed someone who can dedicate a large chunk of their life to it. Sadly, this is not currently me. As soon as my little girl arrived, my world was turned upside down and this included my priorities. Work slipped down the list. Don’t get me wrong, my career is important to me and I would give my all to any position, but I can’t let a childminder raise my daughter-something had to give.
However, I’m now in an unenviable position…applying for jobs whilst still in the grips of the dreaded baby brain. I spend my days changing nappies, singing nursery rhymes, trying to get S to please say ‘mama’ and flicking between Disney films. I consider myself relatively well read and quite eloquent but Peppa Pig currently looks like Shakespeare next to me. I know I’ve still got it (somewhere), it just needs dusting off. However, I know when I apply myself and drag my weary grey matter out of the toy tin, I’ve still got it and actually I’m raring to go.
So now comes the difficult part…reviving my internal ‘Alan Sugar’ and ensuring the ‘milkshake monkey’ makes absolutely no appearance on my CV. The funny thing about becoming a mum is the dichotomy between the idea of ‘having all the answers’ and the reality of questioning absolutely everything you do. “Am I doing this right? Should I be giving her this? Should I have dressed her differently”. Self doubt comes hand in hand with motherhood and can erode even the most confident of women. This, combined with the aforementioned baby brain creates a lethal cocktail of doubt, insecurity and uncertainty. I have been plagued by this. Not ideal when trying to list ones attributes and achievements.
However, as I cleaned my daughter’s highchair for what seemed like the millionth time yesterday, I had an epiphany…I am more employable now than I ever have been.
Day after day, I face my nemesis. As I awake each morning, the thought of repeatedly cleaning the highchair hangs over my head like the sword of Damocles, yet I attack the task with a resilience I never knew I had. I never let it win! And as I was again slaying the beast, whilst my daughter napped, I realised that not anyone could cope with this level of repetitivity. It takes a mum to have this level of patience, resilience, pig headedness, attention to detail, altruism, time management and complete selflessness. Traits that any workplace would benefit from. But most of all, I would make mincemeat of most tasks that other employees dread, because let’s face it…it will never be as bad as cleaning that high chair.
So today I started applying for jobs. I’m wearing the guise of a confident business woman, who is good at marketing and is extremely employable, but most importantly is a mum. Because as far as I am concerned, being a mum makes you the most employable person in the world.