Being a Working Mum

Being a Working Mum

Hello, I’m Collette Smith, Artist

Having 2 birth sons (aged 22 and 16) and 2 foster children (aged 12 and 10), I know how challenging it is to balance looking after them, earning a living and just day to day life and chores. I used to feel overwhelmed that I just couldn’t achieve everything I ‘should’. I think a lot of Mums, especially new Mums, feel like this so I thought I would share my journey so people know they are not alone and there are more solutions to it than you think!

When I left college back in the 1980’s, if there was career advice I certainly wasn’t aware of it! I come from an ordinary working class family. I loved art but it didn’t seem to be a viable option to earn money for me so I became an can’t get much more different can you?! I was good at maths and I thought it paid well so it seemed the obvious choice! The demands of studying and working at the same time took over along with meeting my husband when I was 22 and my art came to a grinding halt. Little did I realise that this just wasn’t the right career for me!

I was successful in my career and with promotions came more responsibility and longer working hours. I felt I had no choice but to do the hours or my employers would say the job wasn’t getting done. The fear of losing financial security was huge and weighed heavily on me.

When I had my first son, Daniel, it made me reevaluate what was important to me and I found it even more difficult to enjoy my career as it highlighted the chasm in how unfulfilled I was but I carried on because I now had a family to support.

I felt so much guilt having to work long hours and only see my newborn son Daniel, sometimes, for just an hour a night before he went to bed. It literally killed me but I felt I had no choice as I had to earn a living so that at least my husband Dean could stay at home and care for him which was again for purely financial reasons.

During the pregnancy of my second son, Jamie, I had a number of slipped discs so I needed several operations over the next 15 years and lost some of the use of my left leg due to nerve damage and also have arthritis in my spine now. But again, I had responsibilities so I forced myself to carry on in the same job that was taking so much from me and my family with continuing long hours and travelling.

Why am I telling you all this?

The Universe had to force me to re-evaluate my life and to use my talent which gave me joy and purpose. I am on this planet to serve people, I’ve always known that but I didn’t know how. It was like I was searching for a light switch in the dark for most of my life but the penny has eventually dropped for me! I hope my story inspires you to be brave and make a Life not just a Living by doing what you love rather than what you feel you have to do or is expected of you.

Lots of Love

Collette xx

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