Mental Health Awareness Week - The stresses of juggling work and home life with two toddlers

Photo of writer Sarah Manning

The stress of juggling work and home life with two toddlers

I came back to work in January 2018 after two maternity leaves that were more or less back to back. I have two children, a two and one year old. As you can imagine, life at home is very hectic. I was hesitant about coming back to work initially as I struggled to envisage how I would balance being a good mum, a good wife, a good family solicitor, having a nice clean home, eating healthy and keeping fit. I thought this is not possible!

I started back at work in January and had to commute which took between two to three hours a day.

I soon realised that I actually enjoyed being back at work...I got a dinner hour and I was able to make and drink a cup of tea without it going cold. Also dropping the kids off at nursery wasn’t as bad as I thought, I didn’t have to feed the kids and they hadn’t been at home to trash the house.

I soon tired of the commute and was getting home too late to even see the kids. My husband did the collections from nursery and often I came home just as they were either going to bed or already asleep. I was finding this very hard and the mum guilt was setting in.

I decided after three months back at work that I needed a new job closer to home. I live only an eight minute train journey from Leeds city centre and I knew that I needed to make the change for me and my family. I managed to find the perfect job and I bit the bullet and told work that after my 2.5 year maternity leave, I was leaving. This wasn’t easy for me, I was worried about whether I had made the right decision - better the devil you know. For the first time in a long time I wasn’t sleeping well and felt very anxious because I had only just gone back after my maternity leave.

Now that I am in my new role, any worries I had have been alleviated and I am now home in good time and on some occasions, I collect the children from nursery, bath them, read stories and play games.

The move was much better for my mental health and my family which is most important to me. I still struggle on occasion to balance home and work life as well as trying to keep fit but I feel now that I made the right choice for me and my family in terms of the location of my job. I am now able to be ‘ok’ at all the things I want to do. I manage to exercise twice a week, do well at work and hopefully be a good mum and wife to my family.

Sometimes big decisions are stressful but if you are not happy perhaps think about what changes you could make to feel happier in the long term, even if it is difficult in the short term.  

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