I am a working parent. Like thousands of others in recruitment. You are probably reading this yourself whilst simultaneously stuffing some washing in the machine, meanwhile helping your child with their project and prepping your candidate on their final interview?
No. Just me then…
How is it possible to achieve this nemesis? Of being able to be the best recruiter I can- offer the best, most diligent service to my candidates and clients, ensure I am quick off the mark when I need to be; detailed and prudent on the commercials. And is there such a thing as a work-life balance really?
The best way for me to answer that is to give you a typical day in my work week and then we can ascertain whether that is the nemesis achieved. I am revealing an insight into my world that I have never actually shared ever before. I hope I can trust you with this information and that you will not judge me as a parent nor disrespect or disengage with me as a recruiter:
Wake up (alarm is set for 6:30 am) but my body clock still wakes me at the earlier time as that is when my kids woke up. Lie in bed and catch up with new Twitter followers, RT relevant tweets, add more people on Facebook. Get up 6:15 am-ish!
6:15 am – 6:50 am:
Cup of tea (or 2!) and get ready for the day.
Sneak on the PC and respond to emails not managed to reply to from the night before. Plan my day, including maps for meetings, make note of all calls needed to be made during business hours. Put a wash on.
Wake my darling kids (if they are not already sneakily sat in bed watching TV!).
7:15 am – 7:45 am:
Breakfast for all, packed lunches, dishwashers, feed animals (1 dog, 3 cats, and 2 fish).
7:45 am – 8:00 am:
Early morning final prep calls if needed.
8:00 am – 8:15 am:
Get all bags ready for the day ahead, brush girls’ hair. Shout “SHOES, COAT, TEETH!” loudly for 10 mins.
8:15 am – 8:20 am:
Get out of the door, no doubt phone is already going mad but I am answering saying I will call back at 8:45 am!
8:20 am – 8:45 am:
School run. If the dog is lucky, he gets to walk to school.
8:45 am – 3:25 pm:
Run my desk in business hours, so lots of f2f meetings with candidates, clients, calls, preps, social media, invoices, admin.
The mad dash to school gates if collecting at 3:30 pm. Always last mum there but I always make it at 3:30 pm. If they are in after-school club until 4:30 pm/5:00 pm the day always seems much calmer somehow.
3:30 pm – 6:00 pm:
Balance work calls with the after-school mum role- whether that is homework, park, play dates, dance class. Make a home-cooked meal every night. Yes. I do. It is true. *polishes halo*. Pretend to be calm, happy, and enjoy it all!
6:00 – 8:00 pm:
Try and spend as much time as I can with them, watch a movie, play a game, even just chill. The reality is, my phone goes mad at this time so I spend most of it thinking I am a bad mum but “let me just take this call, sweety….”…
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm:
Bedtime. Absolutely NO calls now. Very strict about this. Be proper mum, read stories, chat about their day, worries, concerns- and trust me, with two preenager girls that are critical.
9:00 pm – 9:45 pm:
Wrap up my workday, reply to any texts/calls or emails since I have been with the kids. Plan my day for tomorrow.
Collapse on the sofa. Then remember the wash I put on at 6:50 am which is now all creased and moldy… Have a conversation with my husband who has also worked from dawn till dusk creating his ales…
Does this sound like balance to you? Am I better off just working 9-5 and putting stricter curves in place? Obviously, recruitment has peaks and troughs anyway so if I am in a quieter week, I do finish at 6:00 pm and switch off. If I am manic, I can’t! What advice would you give to other working parents, like me?