I’ve never made any secret of the fact that when I found out at the end of 2015 that I was pregnant it was a huge shock. Then, in February 2016 I found out that there was not one but two babies in there and my life was turned upside down forever!
I was 22 years old and was in my final year of university. It wasn’t exactly the graduate role I had planned, but I was determined to rise to the challenge of motherhood and ensure that I did my absolute best at that role, as I do with every challenge I take on.
Despite dealing with extreme sickness until I was 20 weeks pregnant and suffering from antenatal depression I was able to graduate with a first-class degree and walked (waddled) across the stage to collect my diploma just a few weeks before I gave birth.
I knew I wanted to dedicate a full year to being a full-time parent. As I wasn’t working before the birth there was no maternity pay and no opportunity for my husband to have a chance at shared parental leave. Childcare was extortionate for two children – any entry-level role would be unlikely to pay me the £1,600 per month minimum I would need to keep my children in nursery for 9 hours a day. So I figured that another year at home was my only option.
I enjoyed being at home in a lot of ways. It was certainly a privilege to watch my girls grow up and be so absorbed in their life. But I must admit that I always felt there was something missing. I’d never had any burning desire to be a mother but I had always had a burning desire to have a great career. Whilst being at home I began blogging and writing a lot more and I realised just how passionate I was about communication. I decided that I wanted to continue my studies and applied for a Master’s degree in publishing.
I studied for my MA part-time so that I could balance childcare and occasional part-time and freelance work. I loved using my brain for something more than writing shopping lists and working on live briefs only made me more determined to follow my ambition of having a really good career.
As my twins were August babies they started school a few weeks after they turned four. We decided to move up to Manchester so that both of us would have more career opportunities and I got to work finding a job.
Between July and December I applied for over 250 jobs, I got a fair few rejections but most of them didn’t respond at all. I could see many of the jobs had over 1,000 applicants and I knew that I lacked experience but that didn’t stop my determination to find myself a job.
In October, I interviewed for a company and was delighted to be called back for a second interview. Between the first and second interview, I had learnt a lot about the company and I realised that this was not just another job, I really wanted to work for this company! My second interview went pretty well and I was hopeful but a few days later I heard back that I hadn’t got the job.
I was pretty gutted but they told me they’d keep my CV on file and asked me if I would like to do some freelance work for them. I must admit that I didn’t really believe they’d keep my CV on file – I had heard that quite a few times before! But I took the freelance work and also managed to get another short-term freelance role which was very well paid and I was pretty happy that I was able to contribute to our Christmas budget!
In December, the company contacted me and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for another role in the company which of course I jumped at the chance at! This time it was a dual role across two different departments and involved both editing and writing which seemed to be such a good fit for me. I was over the moon when they offered me the role and I began my first full-time role at the beginning of January!
Over the past five years, I have faced so many challenges and obstacles to scale and I feel that these challenges have prepared me so well for a working environment. I have only become more dedicated and focused on what I want from my career through having time to figure it out, not to mention I am really motivated to succeed to prove to myself and my daughters that you don’t need to let anything that happens in your life define you or hinder your success.
I have also refined my skills in time management and organisation through studying for a Master’s and raising a family. I can think on my feet and respond to problems really quickly and efficiently.
Overall, I love being a working parent. I love being a mother and I love pursuing my career goals. I don’t think I have had to settle for second best and I am excited to see where the future takes me!