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The Balancing Act

Charlotte John

Article posted by Charlotte John

​Becoming a mother hit me harder than I could ever have imagined. Everyone says that nothing can prepare you for motherhood and it is so true, I honestly thought after several hard, stressful, and time-consuming jobs coupled with a busy social life that parenting would be a doddle, how wrong could I be.

After my first, it felt like my whole world had fallen apart. I had this wonderful human being that my husband and I had created, and it should have been the most joyful and wonderful time of my life. However, I missed my old life, the stressful but rewarding job, the parties and spontaneity.

When Freddie was born it was the height of summer and I had visions of swanning around sipping Pimm’s with my baby in a sling and taking time to enjoy a well-earned rest from work. The reality was quite different, breastfeeding was brutal, emergency c-section recovery was brutal, no sleep was brutal, my husband returning to work during the week and leaving me at home on my own was brutal, and there were no Pimm’s fuelled park sessions in sight!

Fast forward 12 months and I had finally fallen in love with my baby, he had finished with breastfeeding and slept like a dream, I was nailing parenting and went back to work with a spring in my step. I found the transition back to work the first time quite easy, I was fortunate enough to be able to employ a fabulous nanny and a baby who liked to sleep. We decided to have another baby soon after, I eventually fell pregnant with baby number two. I was fully prepared for adding to the family now that I was nailing parenting but how wrong could I be (again). The arrival of Alfie was difficult on a whole new level, new challenges that I didn’t even know possible.

Soon after Alfie was born, I was approached by Cobalt to see if I would consider a return to the agency side of the market, this had been in the back of my mind for a while so the idea was well-received, and I decided to return to work when Alfie was nine months old. The opportunity was exciting but a new role and direction for me so I knew it would be a challenge, but it was time for me to get back to my career and focus on the new challenge at hand.

Alfie soon turned nine months and it was time for me to go back to work, sadly due to various reasons he still wasn’t sleeping and my three-year-old had also decided that he didn’t want to sleep at night either, so when I went back to the office, I was averaging 4 or 5 wakes a night. This coupled with a couple of bad choices on the childcare front made for a tough few months.

Thankfully, Cobalt allowed me to ease back into work and I didn’t once feel awkward asking if I could work from home, start a little later or finish earlier. I am now fully into my new role; I have reduced the night wakes to 1 and occasionally none (except my body clock hasn’t quite worked this out yet – I know many other mums will relate to this!) and we have a fabulous nanny to look after the boys. Many times, in those first few months I worried about whether I could choose my career as well as being a mum and I am sure there will be many more times when I question it but for now, I am managing.

Thanks to Cobalt I can start work early, get home before bedtime every night and sometimes work from home so I can do the odd pre-school drop-off. Occasionally I will have to log on after the boys have gone to bed but overall, we have the balance just about right. We have had to make changes at home, my husband is massively supportive of my career, and we share the parenting responsibility as best we can. In addition, we are extremely fortunate to have help with lots of other domestic chores so we can focus on what is important for me, and that is my family and my career and when asked if I would have done anything differently, I say not in a million years. Parents returning to work can face a lot of challenges they never imagined, which is why it’s so important to have a flexible employer who is understanding of your situation and needs.

If you're interested in a career at Cobalt then please get in touch for an informal chat with our Talent Acquisition Manager, Jack Thompson, and start your journey with us.