I never had an ambition to be a Teacher, yet neither did I to be a Recruitment Consultant in reality.
The last 12 months have been the hardest for me, both personally and professionally. When Boris’ most recent announcement about school closures came, my emotions almost divided in an instant.
The mum in me felt a sigh of relief that, even whilst working, I would get the time with my little girl both her and I so badly crave. However, the workaholic in me went into sheer panic! How can I find time? When will I have peace? Will people still be forgiving this far down the line? How supportive will management be?
The questions raced through my mind and my emotions never really organised themselves to react rationally.
I did what most parents did - I sat Madison down and explained that mummy still has to work and there will be times she will want my attention but cannot have it. I of course explained doing school work was important, although inside I knew instantly it wouldn’t be a priority - for either of us.
As the only full time working mum at Elizabeth Michael, I feared how striking the balance between colleague and teacher would be received; fortunately, very well.
There is a constant battle I, and many other mums have for going out to work. My friends, my candidates; we all say the same:
If I don’t work, I cannot give my child the life they deserve and I want for them. However, if I work, I miss out on moments I can never get back. It’s like an endless torment and before you know it, the years have passed and somehow, you’ve managed just fine.
The irony of course, is that Madison became my teacher. She taught me patience, she taught me adaptability on a grand scale and there’s no doubt about it, she even taught me a little maths! Okay, a lot of maths.
We muddled through the days with the best intentions at the start. I would make a list of what we would do, I even bought ink for the printer - I was fully going to be ‘Miss Mummy’ and have it all together (kind of). Guess what? I didn’t have a single thing ‘together’.
The days weren’t filled with education, they were filled with love. The days weren’t organised, they were chaos, chaos that even I miss now. The were no ‘5 a day’ rules, it was mainly seeing if I could throw the Wotsits to her before the person on the other end picked up the phone. Sadly, the dog ALWAYS got there first!
I registered candidates from the living room and made sure to inform them ‘my six-year-old MAY (will) intervene at some point’. Low and behold, she did!
I apologised to clients for the noise of the TV - could Paw Patrol really get any more annoying? I apologised even more for the dogs barking and the guinea pig squeaking every time I walked past!
We laughed together, we played together and we learnt a little. Work remained a priority and I struggled in different ways each day. Some days it was the noise, other days the guilt, sometimes the volume of calls from candidates I simply couldn’t help at that point.
Clients remained patient, even those who weren’t mums were forgiving of my quick dashes to answer a pressing question: ‘Mummy, what do a squirrel’s feet look like?’.
My colleagues remained welcoming of Madison on the daily team ZOOM calls – she even showed them some of her artwork, for all she was a little shy. We all smiled at her bushy curls first thing in the morning (her hair is chaotic)!
My manager remained positive, kept encouraging me to control the controllables and that better days were to come – they did.
Whilst I tried to morph into ‘Miss Mummy’, the reality is I became ‘Miss Chaos’. Routines were out of whack, Madison’s obsession with Mario Kart worsened because she played it so much and I most likely did it all the wrong way, but I did it nonetheless.
The reality is, whether in the office or at home, sometimes we don’t all have it as ‘together’ as we like to portray.
I still throw the occasional bag of Wotsits across the living room, and the dog still wins.
I still get worked up. I still can’t do fractions properly! However, I still try to show my daughter an example that anything is possible. If you want it, you work for it. It may not always work, but you work hard regardless.
We are still here, closer than ever and whilst I miss having a mini me PA (at times), she has settled back into school well, as I have the office.
The mum guilt is still real, however as a team, I am so proud of what we have all achieved at Elizabeth Michael during COVID! We have also smashed our first quarter and we continue to grow strong as a business and as the leader in our field.
The best part is of course, that the future Consultant, Miss Madison Edwards, will be ready and waiting to one day fill her Mummy’s shoes!