The Ultimate Balancing Act: Parenthood and Career

parenthood career balance

Ciara Morgan is the Business Relationship Manager at eumom and talks in this post about how she handles the challenges of being a working mother.

When you first become a parent, you are fully immersed in your new bundle of joy: the feeding, changing schedule, the sleepless nights…the you of the past has gone out the window temporarily. Coming up to the end of maternity leave, you’ve finally come around to your new life and love of your gorgeous new baby. But it’s also a time of realisation that your career has completely taken a back seat all these months.

My story

When my first bundle of joy arrived I was in my early twenties, my career was getting stronger and I was working very hard to be noticed. My studies were temporarily complete and I was managing my second pharmacy after qualifying as a Technician. My next step was to aim for Buyer. I gained my manager title while I planned my baby and had a year or two under my belt by the time she came along.

While I was on maternity leave, I always kept an eye and ear on work. My eye was still on the next ladder rung and I didn’t want to miss any opportunities. Because of this I never fully enjoyed my time with my first, it flew by, but the benefit was that I settled in very quickly back to work and slipped back into ‘career mode’ easily. I wanted my daughter to see me thrive, I wanted to be the best example she could have as a strong working mother, doing it all.

I was organised, hard-working, satisfied in all areas. Exhausted but happy. I achieved the next ladder rung and climbed it with one foot on the next one, got my foot on the next one and I was now a Purchasing Executive. This position is what I had aimed for for 3 years and in the meantime had gained experience on a project that gave me a real head start in my role and had set me up for future possibilities.

Along came our 2nd baby a couple years in. I was aiming for Category Buyer but with my 2nd pregnancy, I felt like I was drowning. The mother in me was screaming, telling me I was doing too much, that I needed to step back and give my children more time, that they are small for such a short time. All through my 10-month maternity leave something shifted completely and my time with my children was so precious. My daughter was thriving having me home, my son was thriving having me home but one day when my leave was coming to an end, my daughter quipped that Daddy does all the work in the house, Mummy doesn’t work. It hit me like a brick wall.

Soon after this, I welcomed going back to the rat race and threw myself into it again. However, dropping my children to a creche 5 times a week at 7.30am, both crying their eyes out and clawing at me, an hour’s journey to work trying my hardest to ignore the tears running down my face, picking them up at 6.30pm, driving another hour to put them straight to bed, was eating me up. I admitted to myself I couldn’t do this anymore. My heart was no longer in my job. This dream of climbing higher would need to be halted. We couldn’t live like this.

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My pivot

I quit my full time corporate job 3 months in.

It’s the single most terrifying thing I have ever done but I had to do it. I felt good about my decision but only because I had landed a gorgeous part time role in eumom. A company I was passionate about and admired. It was an administrator role and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry about the shift in career but Annette (MD) put my fears at ease during our interview/chat by telling me how we could use my different skills within my new role.

We rearranged the role so it had more challenges and I could have a nice title to reflect it. Meanwhile, I was at home 4 days and working 3 days. My children were very happy with a childminder and we had 4 days to reconnect with snuggles, chats and play. I felt like I had taken my life back into my control. I still worried about the impact the change would have on my long-term career but 6 months into my contract with eumom, they broke the news that I would be made permanent with a whole new exciting role and title. I felt great and I no longer had to worry about career implications. I had a great position which still incorporates logistics but I also do some writing, which is a hobby of mine that I love so I have been winning all round ever since.

If I had been happy in my corporate job, I would have stayed but this works for me. I now have an amazing balance between work and home. My daughter still sees me work hard, and I feel I am working on something completely worthwhile which is always evolving. My employers get a focussed, happy employee and my children get a relatively stress free, happy Mum. It’s a win all round!

It’s not going to suit every parent to do what I’ve done but do make sure you are satisfied, happy and love what you do, whether that is in work and/or at home.

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