Thursday, 26 January 2012


When I was drowning a sea of nappies and suffocating in the fog of mundane, caring for three little babies, I often wondered whether I would EVER be able to go back to work.

I used to be a career girl.

Then the three under three situation made it virtually impossible to return.

Something inside me told me that I was not ready to return. Would I ever be confident enough to return?

The three little people at my feet made it hard to even contemplate.

Occasionally, I would wistfully look at Seek to see if there were any part time roles that could fit in around the kids, and around childcare options. On one such search, back in about 2007, I also stumbled across the Career Mums website.

I felt inspired when I found that site. Other Mums, all with great skills, all in the same boat as me, making the choice to get back to work. A website that understood the need for flexibility. It felt hugely reassuring to realise that I was not the only mum dithering over choices.

As a result of the website, I managed to get inspired enough to apply and secure some part time work around the kids. Just for ten hours a week, but it was enough for my dormant skills to reawaken.

And It also got my creative juices flowing again, and so I also began to take my blogging and my social media interests a whole lot more seriously.

Through blogging and writing I have been lucky enough to get to know the talented Allison Tait, whose blog Life In a Pink Fibro was one of my early faves. I remember her blog when it's header was a ropey snap of the Fibro's roof line. And through strange coincidence, it turns out that Allison knows the lovely Kate Sykes, founder of the Career Mums site.

I find out that not only do they know one another, but they are working together on a book...a book called...Career Mums.

All of these facts collide at the same time that my youngest, Lexie, starts school.

Serendipitous indeed.

I ordered the book on pre-order and devoured it the minute I received it.

Simple but often overlooked advice is given succinctly. The book is brilliant at the business of confidence building. 

The practical advice from experts is an eye opener. It made me realise that I had my own personal elevator pitch all wrong.

The book gave me a huge surge of hope to be honest. The "going back to work" thing, in my head, has become a huge issue. 
  • I want to really contribute to a role, to a business, to help create success. I want to share my skills to drive business results.
  • I want to work hard in a fun environment and be really productive and then hop in my car feeling a sense of achievement as I rush to pick the kids up!
  • I want to work in a role that utilises all of my skills, but I'd like to work part time.
  • I want a job that matches my skill set, where I can really make a positive difference, but at the end of the day, my children come first these days.
  • I want a job that stimulates me, but I also want to be able to walk away at the end of the day and not be stressed to the gills.
  • I want a job that pays well, but that also offers family friendly flexibility.

    Before reading the book, the above statements were all more of a wish list. Fantasy land - not attainable, so I probably was put off before I even started.

    But, now that I have absorbed the book and all it's sound advice, I feel really confident in being able to pitch to organisations and potential new bosses for the kinds of roles I am after.

    I have a copy of the book to give away, so if you'd like to be in the running for to win this, all you need to do is leave me a comment, telling me your current career goal. (And if you'd like to nip over and "Like" Career Mums on Facebook, that'd be tops too!)

    ETA The winner of this brilliant book giveaway is...Mel, of Coal Valley View. Mel, I will email you to get your current postal address!

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    1. I pre-ordered too Lucy, and it's a great little guide to the life of the working mum. I'm not heading back to school this year, but I am starting a TAFE course in the hope of making a career change. Reading the book I realised my biggest challenge is probably in developing confidence to sell my changed skill set.
      Not entering the comp, but good luck with your meeting! I'm sure you'll impress. x

    2. Thanks SO much Lucy (and yes, the first Fibro image was very ropey...). Best of luck with the potential new boss and thank you for the kind review!

    3. Don't add me to the competition (that would just be wrong) but I wanted to comment... I think your post is awesome. It just sums up how daunting the work thing is for mums and I applaud you for it. Al and Kate's book will hopefully give a lot of our valued workforce the confidence to bring their skills back to play. x

    4. I wish I had the skills when the girls where younger to negotiate part time family friendly anything - instead I worked full-time quite often running at 50% and battling constant exhaustion. Working full-time with five children is I can say now, crazy! Now the girls are older, with only four teens at home I am a recovering burnout girl and learning all the skills of looking after myself!

    5. Al is so wonderfully talented isn't she?

      I am taking that huge leap RIGHT NOW opening my new dancewear business which opens TOMORROW! OMG times 100.

      I am so nervous, excited, and worried all at the same time. Going through all sorts of doubts and concerns wondering if it is going to be the right decision. Will my kids resent me for not being there 100% of the time? Will they be proud of me and strive to do their best learning by example? Will it matter if I don't get the house cleaned all the time?

      I could go on! But right now it is just take a deep breath and JUMP!

    6. Hi there, it took me 52 years to find my perfect career - working in a library as a library officer, surrounded by all those wonderful books. In the past I was a marketing officer, sales merchandiser, bread demonstrator, sales assistant, and secretary. I even managed to fit in selling Tupperware for about 3 years while my kids were little. In fact, I don't think I have ever not worked, either paid or unpaid. You then take in kinder committees, tennis club committee, tennis association treasurer (still am), home library service volunteer, and raising two exceptional kids.

      So I beg the question, does a mother ever stop working? The answer is no. Mums are a much under-appreciated commodity, if it wasnt for them we would not have the next generation sorted would we.

      In fact many mums are so busy working (paid and unpaid) they rarely taken time for themselves.

      That's my thoughts, thank you for the opportunity.

    7. I desparately want this book, although I don't know if it's open to me! My current career goal is to finish this teaching degree and get a job as a teacher.

    8. Ohhh this book sounds like excactly what I need right now.
      My current career goals are pretty much the same as yours - part time, interesting work that utelises my skills & pays nicely. I'd also like to work locally, & with lovely people. It's been over 5 years since I've been in a paid role, & my confidence is nearly non existant - I think I've forgotten what career chutzpah feels like!
      Good luck to you for the job interview!

    9. Wow Lucy, that post was like reading my own thoughts, since I stoppped worked 6mths ago and am in the process of starting my own business so the kids can stay my priority not work! I think this book would suit me :)

    10. I always love a good chat about the parenting work balance! I have suffered from mother guilt every time I've returned to work. I have been lucky enough though to have good working conditions so each time I've returned part time and have had a little flexibility in my work conditions, without them I wouldn't have coped.
      My goal for returning to work in August is to try not to bring work home with me! I am a sucker for saying yes to tasks and end up eating into family time, which isn't fun for anyone. Any tips in the book on how to stop myself from bringing it home?
      Good Luck with your interview, I'm sure you'll wow them!

    11. Great Post! It pretty much sums up my situation - I've been 'off' for almost 8 years looking after the 4 kids and need to go back to doing some kind of paid work,even just 10 hours to start with. I'm a bit daunted to say the least :-) good luck with your interview!!!

    12. I'm currently working part time with one child still at home and studying part time too. My career goal is be working in emergency management once I finish my study at least in the short term. Long term i've got some plans for world domination....but i've been having trouble getting any good minions on board.....!!

    13. Oh Lucy, I savoured every word of this post. I am sitting on the Pandora's box of oh-my-God-I-can't-imagine-what-I'm going-to-do-when I have-to return-to-work-with-the-3-pixies-under-7 with a tonne of lead! Given our recent turn of events, I may have to open up this box much sooner than I had expected. I'm off to order Al's book now! J x

    14. HI Lucy. I am at the other end of this journey. The part after the kids grew up enough for me to go into a career full time. The part where I have worked very hard for a long time now. The part where the pendulum swung back and I now want to go back to part-time so I can be there for myself - if that makes sense. I want ALL the things in your list again because I have now paid my dues and need to slow down. Funny how the pendulum swings, we want at the end of the professional career what we wanted at the start - that flexibility to accommodate life. Good luck to your readers for the comp. I amhappy to be left out.


    15. Good for you for jumping in and getting yourself a part time gig!! The book looks fab too. My ambition is to do more art, get a job, write another book, and not obtain any more pets!

    16. I too am a fan of Life in a Pink Fibro, so I'm sure Career Mums would be a stellar read.

      I have been made redundant this week and plan to use this opportunity to embark of my dream career of freelance writing. I'm saying goodbye high-pressure-office-environment-that-leaves-me- too-tired-to-think-let-alone-write, and hello focus on a career that I will love.

      With the patter of little feet somewhere in my future and my partner keen for a sea change, now is the time!


    I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx