FOR several weeks, as my husband had been walking through the front door returning from work, he would have to leap aside to make way for me sprinting out to my freedom, using a dog walk as my excuse to escape, writes Briony Hill.

After nearly five years as a stay-at-home mother to Miranda, now five, and Clemmie, now two, the time had come for mama to cut the apron strings.

Our most recent posting was in the north west; a beautiful area but living in a private hiring with no Army community for support. I spent 90 per cent of my day with just the children for company. I was feeling numbingly lonely and – guiltily – numbingly bored.

It didn’t take Professor Tanya Byron to realise the girls were also fed up with our insular existence and that my unhappiness would be having a detrimental effect on them.

Time for change

While all full-time mothers find their work exhausting and often difficult, when talking to friends in the same situation, I always felt their over-riding emotion was one of  happiness with an underlying sense of pride.

These feelings having been eroded from my repertoire, my husband and I agreed that something needed to change.

Volunteering skills

After taking the seemingly-monumental decision to return to work, I got mouse-happy on every job website Google could name.

A friend suggested volunteering my skills to add recent work to my CV and boost my confidence.

So alongside applying for up to five jobs every evening, I contacted the local council-owned stately home, Walton Hall, and a week later found myself transcribing recorded interviews with former workers on the estate and editing them into potted histories for exhibitions.

I signed up to the writing website Copify and found almost obscene enjoyment creating copy for ambulance-chasing lawfirms, escort agencies and bathroom companies, usually to the tune of 2p per word…

The right job

Then, out of the blue, an old colleague from my former life as a conference producer contacted me over Facebook asking if I would be interested in working again full-time, but doing so from home with minimal travel.

After two interviews, in which I expanded on the voluntary work I had done to show that I was keen and ready to return to the world of work, I was offered the job.

Both girls are happily settled into their new routines and our weekends are action-packed as I try to catch up on their lives which are continuing at full pace while I turn pale and pasty in my office.

Returning to full-time work was an extreme reaction to my self-perceived plight and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t certain they can wave goodbye to their babies for nine hours a day, but on balance – for us – it was the right decision.

Useful links

www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk 

www.womenlikeus.org.uk

www.workingfamilies.org.uk 

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