Mummy blogging

Flexible working with children

Posted on Updated on


Today’s post is part of a clever little linky dreamed up by Maria of FeistyTapas.com. She is a very hard working lady, juggling an 18 month old and a fulltime work-from-home job as a translator, oh and blogging about it all. (I bow to her superior abilities!)

Her linky  is all about working with children. The only real guidelines are that you should write about how you work around your kids – be it full or part-time working from home, running your own business, blogging or whatever you do – and what works/doesn’t work for you.

Maria’s idea is that as many people as possible link up with posts about how we work around our kids and once all the linking is done, we’ll have a database of advice for other Mum’s who may want to change, adapt or improve their working lifestyle.

So here is my (Ruth) two pennies worth of information about how working with a child has changed my work/life balance and how I manage working and family life…

Working from home

I’m a teacher.  When I went on maternity leave, I was a head of department in a ‘challenging’ London school and loved it.  Once I had my daughter, I knew that if I went back to work in the role I had been in, I would not be able to commit 100% either to my daughter or my job and that bothered me enough to quit.  I enjoyed being a stay at home mum and as we could survive on one wage, I didn’t even think about going back to work.

The way I kept my brain going during this time was to study (you may have read that in my previous post – sorry to keep repeating myself!).  I studied with the OU on a part-time MEd course.  I did my reading and wrote assignments in year one of my duaghter’s life, almost wholly in her nap times.  Then as she got older, nap-time got shorter and I had to do more work in the evenings.  At this time, however, her sleeping also got better, so I did have enough brain power to work in the evenings.  With the odd weekend where my husband did ‘Daddy-daughter’ things so that I could have a larger block of time at key moments, this is how I managed my study – and I have passed, so it worked!

When Munchkin was 18months, I landed a job that doesn’t really exist in teaching.  Essentially I now do curriculum development and staff training for an SEN school.  It just happened rather than being planned, but the Head offered me 11 hours a week from home for a short term contract, which has since been extended. The hours are flexible – some weeks I work much more and some weeks much less.  My Head doesn’t mind how things are completed, as long as they are completed to deadlines.

At the beginning I would do most of my hours from home and use email to keep in touch.  I popped in for meetings with the Head about twice a month and she was happy for Munchkin to come too.  As and when I needed more time in school, my mum would come to stay and then I’d head in for the day to blitz face-to-face things that needed to happen.  Training was all after school, so I’d drop Munchkin into hubby’s classroom for the hour or so that I was working.

One thing that you will notice is that a flexible and understanding boss is paramount if you work for someone.  It is also important that you have the understanding of colleagues.  On the whole, mine are great, but I know of other Mum’s who find office bitching and jealousy makes working flexibly in a majority full-time environment very stressful. I think you need a thick skin to work flexibly with others. The key thing that I have found is to ensure that you do your job impeccably and are utterly professional, but are also honest and up-front about what you can and can’t do in the time given.

Now that Munchkin is almost 3, has given up her daytime naps (*sob*) and I have started blogging (and who knows what else we’ll develop through More than a Mum!) I have had to make a few changes.  It was getting to the point where every hour was taken by being a Mum, working, blogging or studying.  There was no time for me and there was no time for my OH.  This was not a state of affairs I could stomach for long.  I love my job and More Than a Mum, but not over my relationship and sanity, therefore I decided that at least some of my work hours had to become regular and I needed to consider childcare.

Munchkin had been going to a crèche for 1.5hours every Friday while I ran a peer support group for breastfeeding mothers for about a year and loved it, so I decided that a few more hours of childcare were a) not going to harm her b) going to help me!

I went to my Head and as she wanted me to do a bit more in school support anyway I proposed that I should come in one morning a week. It’s only 4.5 hours, but that means a good chunk of my hours is completed and I have a better ability to keep in touch with staff.

Again you may have read my post about why I wont be sending Munchkin to pre-school, but in spite of this, I do believe that she needs to socialise with her peers without me, therefore nursery seemed a good option.  Munchkin was not impressed with me leaving her at nursery for a good few weeks and I did have several second thoughts as I peeled her off me and ran for the door with the screams echoing in my ears.  4 months down the line, however and even though she only goes once a week, she asked when she could go again this Christmas holiday. Phew!

Anyway, I have wittered on enough, I think that my top tips for making working with children work can be summed up as follows:

1)      Be organised – I make lists, but do what works for you.  I write down all the things I want to get done in the day (from work projects to washing up) and prioritise them, both for importance and time slots.  Some things can be done while Munchkin plays, some can be done with Munchkin and some have to be done while she watches Cbeebies or once she’s asleep.

2)      Be professional – people make value judgements about Mums, you need to prove them wrong, whatever sphere you are working in.

3)      Be honest with yourself and others – my priority is my daughter.  I wont neglect work, but I will much less neglect her.  If a project is too big for 11 hours a week, I wont take it on or I will work out how parts can be delegated to make it manageable.

4)      Be flexible – some weeks you’ll get loads done and find time in places you didn’t think there would be any, but some weeks you’ll slave away for hours and achieve very little.  Don’t worry about this, it’s pretty normal.

R

More Than A Mum Blog is now available to download for Kindle click here to download it, or click here to find out more

Advertisements

Our fancy new banner and logo

Posted on Updated on


Well we do hope you’ve all noticed our fancy new banner and logo…have you?  We like it a lot! And it’s all thanks to a lovely and very talented lady called Rachael Jane (@rachinald).  She’s a textile designer, photographer, graphic designer, vlogger, blogger, poet and overall creative thinker.  Talk about an inspiring lady!!!

We found out about Rachael when we noticed that MishMashMum (@MishMashMum) was sporting a lovely logo so we asked her who created it.  We were then introduced to Rachael who promptly offered to do us a logo at an extremely reasonable price.  Initially we gave poor Rachael no direction whatsoever but she still came up with three brilliant designs.  It was only after seeing them that we realised more of what we didn’t want and therefore steered us in the right direction and we finally gave Rachael a half decent brief.   Rachael patiently went back to the drawing board and came up with another 3 new designs that were exactly what we were after (even though we didn’t know it to start with).  And that is how we came to have the beautiful design you now see on our Blog, on Twitter and soon to be on our new website which is currently being created much to our excitement 🙂
We decided on the buttefly design as we felt it represented what we want to achieve through More than a Mum.  Afterall butterflies represent change and growing into the true you!
We can’t reccommend @rachinald enough. She is professional, fast, friendly, creative and basically brilliant at what she does.  Do check out her website http://www.rachinald.com

Leibster Blog Award

Posted on Updated on


We have been awarded with the Liebster Blog award.  What an honour.  This is an award bestowed upon bloggers with less than 200 followers and the idea is to foster new connections between bloggers.  When I googled the award, I found that the word Leibster is German and means dearest, so all in all, this is a lovely award to have been honoured with.

The rules of the award are that you need to thank the person who nominated you, so thank you to Thoughts of a London Mum for nominating us.  If you haven’t yet popped to her blog, please do. Her posts are witty and honest and she takes some great photos.

The next thing that we have to do is to nominate 5 other bloggers with less than 200 followers. So here are my 5 blogs worth a visit (I do hope that I don’t offend any of them if they have many more followers…)

Musings of a stressy Mummy Nikki is always fun to talk to on twtter and her blog tells self-effacing and very humourous stories that I can definitely relate to.

A Hell of a Woman A blog ambitiously combining a love of Buffy with a journey of self-discovery and a lovely lady.

Coombemill Tails from the farmers wife, and mummy to 6 Fiona is a woman of many talents and finds time for so many things I feel positively lazy by comparison! She is also super friendly and helpful.

Blue Bird Sun Shine With a touching style that really lets you into her world, Blue’s writing captures you and draws you on.  She also has some fun adventures and takes some great photos.

A Mummy Too This beautiful blog is stunning. Emily’s photography really brings the blog to life.

R

More Than A Mum Blog is also available for Kindle click here

Snap Slapper #2

Posted on Updated on


It’s that time of the week again (at last…) SNAP SLAPPERS!  This time I’ve chosen a photo taken a few weeks ago at Kew Gardens.  A lovely autumnal shot from those lovely warm autumn days we had in early October.  Then I’ve messed with the colours.

Autumn Tree

…and just so you know, this is what I started with:

Autumn view Kew

Five Go Blogging Snap Slappers

Meme 10 Questions – Part 2

Posted on Updated on


So my partner here at More than a Mum (@Roothe) tagged me (@Lor_Fenton) to also take part in this Meme.  As you’ve heard, @more_than_a was tagged by @welshmumwales to take part in the 10 question meme by @AlliMarshall for Super Amazing Mum.  The rules are:

1) Answer the 10 questions

2) Tag someone to do the same

3) Go and leave a comment on the original blog post over at Super Amazing Mum and comment that you have done so in order for us to find out who has been tagged and therefore find out more about our fellow bloggers!

@Roothe replied yesterday so here are my answers!

1)     Describe yourself in 7 words?

Brown, naughty, passionate, creative, ambitious, loyal, contradictory

2)     What keeps you awake at night?

Sometimes my 2 year old son, sometimes worrying about things I can’t control

3)     If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?

I really wouldn’t want to be anyone else but there are plenty of roles I’d like to try e.g. gping back to my old life of being on tour as a singer

4)     What are you wearing right now!!

Skinny black jeans and a grey close fit hoody (with zebra slippers!!)

5)     What scares you?

How the world is changing so that children are exposed to the horrible things of life earlier and earlier.

6)     What is the best and worst about blogging?

Best: It’s got me regularly writing again and thinking again.  I love engaging with social issues and making them relevant to the average mum i.e me

Worst: Keeping to the deadlines my more efficient business partner (@Roothe) sets – she is agenda queen and much more organised than me!!!!

7)     What was the last website you looked at?

Google then Amazon in order to answer question 9!!!!

8 ) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To not need so much sleep or to be able to cope better without much sleep!

8)     Slankets – Yes or No (this divides the blogging world )

NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo! If I ever am seen wearing one of these – please make sure I’m dead!! (even if they do come in zebra print!!)

9)     Tell us something about the person who tagged you?

@roothe is one of my best mummy friends.  She finally helped me kick myself up the butt and get things started with More Than A Mum.  She is a good business partner and drinking partner.    She has a highly intelligent, slightly crazy and brilliantly hilarious 2-year old (Munchkin) who is absolutely adorable.  We have fairly similar parenting styles and outlooks on life. However she is opposite to me in that she is wise, organised, practical and good at grammar!

I’m going to tag; @mumofcurls @theempressmama and @mishmashmum

L

Meme: 10 Questions

Posted on Updated on


????????????????????????????????????????

Right, so I think I understand how this one works.  @more_than_a was tagged by @welshmumwales to take part in the 10 question meme by @AlliMarshall for Super Amazing Mum… well anyway, the rules are here:

1) Answer the 10 questions

2) Tag someone to do the same

3) Go and leave a comment on the original blog post over at Super Amazing Mum and comment that you have done so in order for us to find out who has been tagged and therefore find out more about our fellow bloggers!

?????????????????????????????????????????

The problem for More Than a Mum is that we are two people and the 10 questions are about individuals, so I have decided to answer these as @roothe and tag @lor_fenton so that you can hear from both of us.

So…

1)  Describe yourself in 7 words?

Teacher, mummy, wife.  Love gin, food, travel.

2) What keeps you awake at night?

Not a lot really (I love sleep!)– I do have an annoying habit, however, of feeling really tired when I put munchkin to bed and promising myself an early late; then getting into work/blogging/tweeting and going to bed way too late (I’m writing this a 11.52pm!) and being Cream Crackered in the morning!

3) If you could be anyone for a day, who would you be and why?

A luxury travel writer.  I’d love to be able to visit swish places and review them and call that work! I love good food, good drink and travel so to be able to do all three and call it work would suit me just fine!

4) What are you wearing right now!!

Trousers, boots and a big cuddly cardigan.  I love cuddly cardies in the evening.

5) What scares you?

Heights and spiral staircases.  Still remember being talked into going up a viewing tower in Kracow and having to come back down really slowly on my bum…I only went up one storey! Also got vertigo snorkling in Turkey. *shudders*

6) What is the best and worst about blogging?

Only been doing it for a very few weeks, but I love the sense of community.  There are so many nice people out there who really want you to succeed and want to help you do it.

The worst bit?  Trying to decide what you can write in the knowledge that people you know read it too! (See blog entitled “pelvic floor muscles” and decide if I have shared too much!)

7) What was the last website you looked at?

Twitter – I’m obsessed!

8 ) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d love to be one of those people who puts things away where they got them from, without having to think about it.  I’d love to be a neat, tidy person, but I just can’t manage it despite the fact that untidiness drives me potty!

9) Slankets – Yes or No (this divides the blogging world ;-))

What’s a Slanket? Seriously.  No idea! Will go and Google it now. *hangs head in shame at not being on top of blogging current affairs*

10) Tell us something about the person who tagged you?

I was tagged by Welsh Mum.  She’s a really friendly tweeter who let me whinge on about wanting to live in the country! Also, her “little Miss” has been made Class rep at school and she takes a pretty amazing sunset photo!

I am tagging @lor_fenton, @stressymummy, @BooandMe_ and @moors_mummy

Click here to see @lor_fenton’s answers.

BritMums blogging prompt: WHO are you?

Posted on Updated on


So the BritMums blogging prompt this week is:  In 100-200 words WHO are we? (Really got to cut the waffle for this one!)

We are More than a Mum. We want to support women in being brilliant Mums, AND help them to rediscover their own identity.

We are Loretta and Ruth, two Mums who love being parents, but don’t want to lose our own identities or stop thinking intellectually. We both work part-time, to varying degrees; we both love a good socio-political debate; we both love sharing the hints, tips and traumas of motherhood and that’s what our blog is about.

Our posts range from the trials and tribulations of our own motherhood, to discussion of news stories that have a family resonance. We are going to blog about recipes (just sorting out my Sloe Gin one now!), craft ideas, and kid-friendly activities as well as parental concerns, me-time ideas and our own experiences. We also want to create a forum for other Mums (and Dads) to discuss some of the big debates surrounding childhood and parenthood.

We fancy being the Marie Claire of Mummy Blogs…We like to aim high!

187 words – done it!

R

http://www.britmumsblog.com/2011/10/britmums-blogging-prompts-defining-moments/