“…while being at home with your kids is great…it isn’t easy, you don’t get a break, you can barely get a chance to pee in peace! It is very rewarding in other ways but it is in no way glamorous”
This week I meet Sara Delmer who is a twenty-eight year old mother of two. She’s a stay-at-home mum, who writes a personal/ parenting blog called Where Is My Mind, about the ups, downs, ins and outs of her life. She describes it as an outlet for the never-ending train of thoughts that go through her head and says it keeps her sane and brings her focus, as well as opening doors to interacting with groups of like-minded people.
Thank you Sara for joining the interview series – can you tell me a little about your family – how many children you have and their ages?
And now could you tell me a little about your career history – what did you do before you had your children and for how long you were working at this? Did you enjoy this work?
I had been working as an office junior but shortly before I found out I was pregnant I started a new job in administration and as a PR Assistant. The work was fine – it kept me busy and I got to interact with people all day long.
Did you consider going back to work at any stage or did you always know you wanted to be a stay-at-home mom?
My situation was a bit different as I was signed off work early due to illness in my pregnancy and as I was on a short-term contract, having only just started, there was no job to go back to. I was also in a place myself whereby I didn’t feel I would be ready to go back to work even if the position was there.
Would you have had parent-friendly flexibility in your previous job e.g. to work from home or work part-time?
The hours were flexible in that you could go in early and leave early or you could work up a bit of time in the evening; you were on the clock as soon as you signed in. There would have been no working from home options.
Is there anything you miss about working?
Yes absolutely. I miss the interaction with people the most. At first when I finished work it kind of suited me as I wasn’t well, but over the years, I miss having different tasks to focus on and people to talk to. I feel I have become very disorganised over the years.
What do you love about being at home with your girls?
I love that I’m always here for them if they need me; I never miss any of the little moments. We get to have lots of adventures and lots of days out in the garden. When they were small, before school, I loved having days were we just didn’t have to go anywhere we could all get into the bed and put a movie on and have a nap. There was never any rush and it helped as sometimes it was very overwhelming having two small ones. We are slightly more organised now and can make it out the door on time.
Do you ever wish you could work part-time?
Yes I’m really at a point now where I’m ready to go back to work, I want to go back to work, just a few hours a week, even just some time in a shop, just something where I’m around other people and I have a task at hand. Both of my girls will be in school come September, Abigail in first class and Ella is starting her ECCE. So I will have my mornings free and it would be nice to be earning some money.
What do you do for yourself – your own creative outlet or “me-time”?
I would say writing my blog is my biggest creative outlet at the moment, it’s great to have something to focus on and it connects me with a lot of people. I’m also trying to fit in some drawing when I can. Emily over at The Nest has set up an art challenge which I have been joining in on. A good long soak in the bath once a week is vital too!
Do you think there’s an optimal solution out there – a perfect balance that enables a mother to have a fulfilling career while being there for her children?
Well I suppose it’s different for everyone. For me personally if I could work while the girls were at school but still be there to collect them afterwards, it would be perfect. And then being able to be home for them during the holidays maybe; only having to do a couple of mornings, to get a break as much as get some work done, would work well.
If you could do any job, what would it be? Or would you prefer to stay at home regardless of any dream job with dream hours?
Well I love writing my blog and as you know yourself, it takes a lot of time and effort. If I could do more writing and get paid to do it, that for me would be perfect as it’s something I can do in my own time and it’s quite flexible. I wouldn’t say no to having to go to work in an office for a few hours a week while the girls are at school either, more to get me out of the house and doing something then anything else.
Do you think there’s a glass ceiling for women, or is it a perception based on the fact that mothers often look for flexibility or part-time hours which in turn limits their opportunities?
I don’t really know to be honest. I think there are plenty of women who manage a high-flying career and being a mother just fine. Everybody is different. I suppose it can depend on how determined you are and what your goals are too. But I could be completely off the mark here too!
Do you have any advice for expectant or new mothers thinking about leaving their jobs to stay-at-home, e.g. how to weigh up the decision, how to know it’s the right thing to do?
If you currently have a job I would say hold onto it, don’t rush into any decisions because you never know how you will feel down the line. I will say that while being at home with your kids is great, it can be, in my experience, very, very lonely and it isn’t easy, you don’t get a break, you can barely get a chance to pee in peace! It is very rewarding in other ways but it is in no way glamorous. If you can go back to work at least give it a trial run only then will you know what’s right for you.
Any other comments?
Just because you are a stay at home mom now doesn’t mean you always have to be; don’t give up on yourself. The kids won’t be home forever so do something for you that you will enjoy!
Sara I love how clear and straight-forward you are at all times, including here. I agree, I think there are lots of people who would love a job that gets them out of the house and earns them an income and gets them some interaction with others, and then allows them to be there when the kids are home. It’s ideal really! And I love the advice you gave, for mothers-to-be who are considering whether to continue working or not. I think you’re right – in the absence of complete certainty, it makes sense to hold on to the job – to wait and see how it goes.
I think it’s lovely that you’ve had this time with your daughters, and I know from your blog that you enjoy really happy, chilled out time together. Lots of people would say they’re not sure if they could make it work being at home, but I think you’re someone who really, really does. Thank you for sharing your insights with us!