The myth of Superwoman, AKA the working mum

Being self-employed for under 18 months, and having had my second baby during that time, I have to get on with networking and raising my profile a little sooner than I would usually have considered returning to work in a permanent role.
I need to work to pay the bills, but importantly, to retain my sanity and independence. Returning to work ‘early’ or keeping things ticking over isn’t uncommon but there’s a bit of judgement on both sides of the fence – whether you return to work or stay at home to look after your children (longer hours than your FTE and if you think your colleagues can be challenging, hang out with a 2 year old for a while). And if you do work on top of parenting, people think you must be superwoman. For me it has meant learning to be realistic about what I can do within a certain timeframe (ooh, I can squeeze in writing that bid no problem), working at odd times (ref: previous point) and trying not to get stressed about the mental load, which believe me, IS a thing (have we paid the carpet-fitter?, do I need to do some batch-cooking for weening baby?, we’re low on washing powder, etc.).
Over the past few months I’ve had meetings with colleagues in the sector to hear what’s going on, and with potential clients. Yesterday I was at Fundraising Camp with 60+ other fundraisers. My 8 month old baby has come with me to each of these, with only one epic meltdown (a client meeting, naturally!). But if Jacinda Ardern can cope with just 6 weeks off, surely I can rock up with my baby a bit? I’ve been spurred on by seeing pictures on Twitter of other fundraisers too, notably Liz Tait and Lisa Clavering – so thank you, ladies!
Though I have had my fair share of sexism in the workplace, I am so pleased to work in a sector which, for the most part, embraces diversity and the working mum. Big thanks to Lucy Peake at Grandparents Plus for being so flexible and asking me to do a few days recently, and the Institute of Fundraising Yorkshire, Howard Lake and all the other delegates yesterday who made it normal for me to be there with my #babyfundraiser. But let’s face it, I’m no superwoman and today we’re hanging out in the garden eating biscuits recovering.
I’m thrilled to be starting more work with the Stroke Association next week but outside of that work, I will be keeping my other consultancy work manageable so I get to work on the projects where I can add most value and I get the quality time with my babies while they’re young.
You can’t have it all. But you can be sat in the sunshine writing a blog while your baby and puppy have a little snooze. Living the dream. The very tiring, but wonderful dream.

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