Work life merge – Exhibit C’s contribution

So, here’s the third in my series of posts about work life merge. I’m loving the comments on the blog posts – so please keep them coming – lots of opinions about this – and lots of women who aren’t sure where they *want* the line to be drawn, which is very interesting…
Today’s contribution is from Exhibit C – Jane Blackmore, aka Northern Mum. I love her writing and can usually sit nodding as I read it. But I’m not sure how about how I relate to this piece?? What do you think?

When I sat in school, a couple of years ago, enthralled by my young female English literature teacher I dreamt of “having it all”, together we poured over feminist texts and I saw women being freed of oppression and ready to take on the corporate world.

I knew that would be me, mother, worker, career minded, bloody successful because of hard work.

I got older, I went to work, I started climbing the ranks, I worked long hours in a career renown for 14 hour days. I networked like mad and loved what I did.

Then I had kids.

Two to be exact, when I was 28 and a half.  How do you manage 14 hour days with baby twins and a three hour commute?

I couldn’t.

I took 18 months off, got married, moved house, sold books freelance and returned to a more local corporate role when being mummy no longer felt quite enough for me.

A four day week offered the perfect compromise despite the fact that half my salary went into childcare.  I worked for working parents and reaped the benefits but most evenings were spent working to compensate for the time not in the office.

I preferred this.

I found clients I worked with were the same, I had longer better conversations on email at ten at night with other “corporate” parents than I ever had in the office.  My hand was always glued to my blackberry but my other hand was holding a sticky palm more often than not and this made me happy, and the kids seemed to like the balance as well.

I did it for five years whilst squeezing out a baby in the middle.  Shorter days but I was the mum scraping into after school club to collect and waiting impatiently for breakfast club to start.

A series of ill kids has suddenly changed my lifestyle.

Last year I spent five weeks in hospital with my two daughters.

The stress of poorly children plus managing a team plus doing my day job whilst having an extreme amount of time off finally resulted in my hands being thrown in the air and admitting I can’t cope.  My employers have always been fantastic but I cannot do my with the volume of hospital appointments and care that my daughters need at the moment.

So I have blurred the lines even more.

My hours in my real job have been dramatically reduced and I have taken on freelance projects that I can do at one am if needed.

Twitter and facebook have become my network portals, social media a pimping ground for clients as well as recreational fun.  I don’t think I have an off switch.

I see more of the kids and more of my blackberry.

I earn less but my bank balance enjoys not paying for childcare. At some point I hope to come back to my career and return to who I was.

Until then being 24\7 mum and worker suits me just fine.

What do you think? Has Jane nailed it? Or is she setting herself up for running like a hamster on a treadmill?

You can find Jane aka NorthernMum online at or on twitter as @janeblackmore


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