“But What Do You Want?”

I left my last job on January 28th 2015 and since then haven’t thought about work since. Not one jot. I’ve missed the people I used to work with, who over time became real friends to me, but I didn’t miss the work at all. And then two days ago I was offered a job that was hard to refuse, back at a company that I only left because I wanted to take the next step in my career and they couldn’t offer me what I wanted. A company who were good to me and gave me truly incredible opportunities, meaning that I stayed there for the longest time I possibly could.

Staring at this email, I was left feeling so conflicted. Flattered to be thought of after 3 years of being absent from the company, and unsure whether I should even give this the slightest thought given that I now live in Brighton and the job would be a daily commute to Central London. I knew all about this slog from watching my other half face the early morning and late evening commute and it ain’t pretty. When you google train times, you’re assured that the Brighton to London Victoria journey is 51 minutes but that’s actually laughable…it’s more like 1 hour 15 minutes if you’re lucky and Southern Rail haven’t decided to cancel your train. And that’s before any tube travel to get to the office.


As I pulled myself out of my inner monologue rant over train travel, I then remembered the obvious. What about Emma? How would I feel being away from her after so many months being inseparable? I had wanted to ease myself in and take her to nursery a few mornings a week, before starting her on full days at nursery. Was I being too overcautious, as she seemed to love being there last week. I suddenly became overcome with worry for her, feeling like I was suddenly ditching my little girl for my career.

I chatted to my ever supportive other half about it and all he asked me was:

“but darling, what do you want?”ย 

Now there’s a question. What do I want? And I knew the answer. I want it all. I want to be there for Emma every time she needs me but also continue my career, on a diverted route, which I fully expected and embrace entirely. I want to avoid that awkward conversation where you ask tentatively what their thoughts on flexi working are and if I could leave at 4pm to pick up my daughter from nursery. I don’t want to disappoint people I work with by not being there when I’m needed. I don’t want to be the weak link, and deep down I know that’s how I’ll be seen. If truth be told, I regret being a freelancer as what I’m feeling right now is the familiar freelance pull towards saying yes based on the fear that another opportunity won’tย come knocking again. Should I just go for it?

Above all, I guess I crave for a little bit of me back. The me before I was a Mum. I know I’m not really supposed to admit that but equally I want to be truthful to myself. I don’t really have the answers and I expect the prospect of me going back to work is a completely new chapter for our family too…one that will be logistically way more complicated than I realise. It’s decision time, and not an easy one at that!

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  1. September 5, 2016 / 10:48 am

    It’s definitely not easy, going from a relative comfort zone into something that should be fairly familiar but is actually very known. Nothing is permanent though and if you accepted this job only to decide it’s not right for you, there are plenty other options that WILL come along. You’ll get to where you want to be even if that means accepting that you probably won’t be able to have it all…you can get close to it xx
    MouseMooMeToo recently posted…#MouseMooMeToo Cowprints – 4th September 2016My Profile

    • September 5, 2016 / 10:50 am

      Thank you lovely, lots to think about at the moment. I think you’re absolutely right, I’m sure lots more with come along if this isn’t the right one for the moment. Suddenly it’s all change again ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  2. September 5, 2016 / 12:04 pm

    Oh Bridie what a decision I totally feel your pain in agonising over this decision. I was agonising over mine recently. It was the hardest decision I ever made and I’m still not sure it was the right one. Only you know what’s right for you and there is nothing wrong in admitting you want a bit of your pre parent self back! Good luck and I look forward to hear ring your decision xx #bigpinklink

    • September 5, 2016 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you lovely, it’s so hard isn’t it? You just want to make the right decision for the family. I’ll let you know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

  3. September 5, 2016 / 1:47 pm

    Bless you not an easy choice at all. I think you can have a little bit of it all you just need to find the way and balance for you… 3 days in London and 2 working at home maybe. Kids are resilient…. em will be fine xx #triballove

    • September 5, 2016 / 6:28 pm

      Thank you my love, I’m hoping for the 3:2 ratio and not long now til I find out…they know I had a baby so hope it won’t be crazy expectations! Thank you for your comment xx

  4. September 5, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    Decisions like this become very difficult especially if you have family. Hope you get the balance that you want, so you’re a happy career woman as well as a happy wife and mum. Good luck! #AnythingGoes
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    • September 5, 2016 / 6:26 pm

      Thank you lovely, it’s such a tricky balance but I’m sure sure we’ll get there even if this job isn’t the right one for now.

  5. September 5, 2016 / 5:47 pm

    It’s a really tricky decision – is there not a way to work part time in London and then 1 or 2 days from home? If you don’t put the proposal to them you’ll never know. Or how about a job share? Also, if you are thinking of returning to work it might be worth trying to find something closer to home first and if that works then pursue a career in London at a later date when perhaps Emma is at school. Aww hope you come to the decision that is right for you lovely.
    justsayingmum recently posted…A Lesson From My DaughterMy Profile

    • September 5, 2016 / 5:49 pm

      Thanks lovely, I think you’re right – you have to go armed with all the questions you need the answers to and go from there ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for your comment xx

  6. September 5, 2016 / 6:20 pm

    Oh Bridie, I really feel for you here. Such a tricky decision to make. Dream job but then so many other things to consider here too. I echo what Helen says and I wonder if there is a way you could do a couple of days working from home. Good luck with making your decision but what a lovely decision to have to make! Only you can decide what is right for you and Emma ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx
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    • September 5, 2016 / 6:25 pm

      Thank you lovely – I’m hoping there’s a way I can be away from the office some of the time…fingers crossed ๐Ÿ™‚ xxx

  7. September 5, 2016 / 8:16 pm

    It’s such a hard decision to make, but I completely understand your desire to get a little bit of yourself back. Don’t underestimate the importance of that. Still, it’s hard to leave your little one, especially if you’re facing the prospect of a long commute. Maybe flexible working is an option? Good luck! #bigpinklink
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    • September 5, 2016 / 8:18 pm

      Thank you – I do feel this pull to get a bit of me back, but really hoping flexi working is an option. If not, it’ll just be too hard!

  8. September 5, 2016 / 9:07 pm

    Oh wow. I don’t envy you. What a hard decision to make! I would feel exactly the same though and so completely sympathise. I’m sure you will make the right decision for you all. Look forward to hearing what it is! #AnythingGoes
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    • September 5, 2016 / 9:11 pm

      Thank you, it’s such a tough one. I hope they’ll say “sure you can work part time!” but I think that might be wishful thinking. I’ll let you know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you for your comment xx

  9. September 5, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    Crossroads are so challenging. I went part time years back and I was sooooo excited to be able to be with the kids more. My arrangement was half days and I ended up hating it due to the running around and ginormous paycut…like insane paycut. Hope it all works out!


    • September 5, 2016 / 9:49 pm

      This is all totally possible…lots of running around and not much to show for it, eeeks. Thanks for commenting xx

  10. September 6, 2016 / 6:27 am

    What a massive compliment for them to contact you after so long. They must really value you! You have to do what’s right for you hubby was spot on! What do you want? Good luck Hun! #DreamTeam
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  11. September 6, 2016 / 6:53 am

    Its so tough isn’t it. I have a really easy low paid job which fits around the girls which is perfect however sometimes I yearn for more, sometimes I see a job that I would love to go for and sometimes I get as far as filling in the application form but I know it wont allow me to pick my girls up, it would mean potentially breakfast clubs, after school clubs and a whole lot of rush – and I know it just would not work. It is a tough decision and many people do it and are happy- but can we have it all? I don’t think so, something always has to give. #dreamteam
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  12. September 6, 2016 / 6:57 am

    It is so tricky to manage it all. I ignore kick ass job offers now because I can’t bear to think I might get them, after making the decision to be part time whilst my girl is so little. Hope you work out whatever makes you happy! #dreamteam

  13. September 6, 2016 / 6:57 am

    It can be really hard to know what’s right for your family and to balance that with making money that you need. Freelance is hard because of the uncertainty and having a stable job is very appealing. Good luck with whatever decision you make.

  14. September 6, 2016 / 7:40 am

    I don’t envy you this position, it’s one I’ve been in a couple of times and sometimes you just have to go with your gut. If it’s meant to be then everything will fall into place. Thinking of you! #DreamTeam
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  15. September 6, 2016 / 7:45 am

    Huge exciting, daunting, confusing decision! Take your time thinking about it, use your head but follow your heart. Whatever you do, you’ll be fabulous xxx #DreamTeam

  16. September 6, 2016 / 7:55 am

    I feel for you! It can’t be an easy decision, but I think you need to go with your gut instinct and do what you think will make you happy. I’m a firm believer in “Never regret not doing something”, and maybe it can’t hurt to try if you think it could be a great opportunity? Your priorities are bound to have changed since you last worked there though and you might need to go to them and put your cards on the table as to how it needs to look in order for it to work for you and your family. Be demanding. You’ve earned it xx
    Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam

  17. September 6, 2016 / 7:57 am

    Such a tough decision! I hope you find your answer soon! X

  18. September 6, 2016 / 9:11 am

    Good luck with whatever decision you make. It’s such a tough one to decide on. Im so glad you have a supportive partner though, makes all the difference.

    Terry-Ann recently posted…Self Harm RevisitedMy Profile

  19. September 6, 2016 / 9:22 am

    Being a mother suddenly makes us so vulnerable. We can never go back to the career women we once were because our time is more important. We have to spend time with our children. I went back to work after just six months with my first and worked very hard for a year but I left on time, had 2 days off when my baby was ill and it was ‘noticed’. Even though I did everything I was supposed to and more when I was at work, it wasn’t enough because I put my family first…hope it is better for you and it works out in your favour! #DreamTeam
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  20. September 6, 2016 / 10:08 am

    I know the feeling. I was in the same spot. I’m happy with my decision as I know you are too. A mother always knows what’s best for her child.
    Oana – Blondie Mommy recently posted…Bye Bye Summer!My Profile

  21. September 6, 2016 / 10:15 am

    Whilst you’re very lucky to be given the choice it can be so difficult to make one! Whatever you decide I’m sure will be the right thing for you and your family. Good luck! #DreamTeam
    Coffee & Bubbles recently posted…What the fleek?My Profile

  22. September 6, 2016 / 10:18 am

    Your situation resonates with so many people, and so many of us have been in a similar situation – take your time to think about what you want, for yourself and your family and if you do decide to take the job in London – negotiate hard to get the right working terms! Lots of luck! #DreamTeam

  23. September 6, 2016 / 10:22 am

    Such a difficult one. I was due to go back to work a couple of weeks ago but handed in my notice to pursue my passion of photography. So I’m now freelancing and live under that fear of not quite knowing where the next months wages will come from but at the moment it’s working well for us. Working a couple of times a month means I get to have a few days of being me and then time with Edith.

    Whatever decision you make. It’s the right one for you and your family and you shouldn’t feel guilty!


  24. September 6, 2016 / 11:29 am

    Such a great post that a lot of other women can relate to for sure! I was like you, I wanted it all before I left my school for my maternity leave. The truth is: I naively believed it was possible: having a great job, being a great teacher and a fab mum. I am back to work in January part-time. I have attended some KIT days and it’s quite clear that the school can do without me. They have done it many times. I know that it won’t be the same anymore and I will have to adjust. So yes, I won’t have it all but that’s ok because I made that decision for my son. Maybe one day when he is older, I will get up the ladder and have more responsibilities but not for now… I hope you make the decision that makes YOU happy! Good luck, it’s not an easy one! and let us know! #DREAMTEAM
    the frenchie mummy recently posted…The Daddy Tag Challenge with Oli from Naptime Natter โ€“ Guest Post #4My Profile

    • September 6, 2016 / 11:31 am

      Oh thank you lovely – such a supportive comment. I’m going to see them tomorrow and have no idea what’s possible yet. I’m hopeful, but as you mentioned not sure if I’m just being a bit naive. I also want to keep my blog up and running! I’ll be sure to update you all xx

  25. September 6, 2016 / 12:18 pm

    Whatever happens, go with your heart. It hasn’t failed me yet, even at the time if people say you’re not thinking straight, your heart leads you to the truth of what you want. Good luck and embrace the change # DreamTeam

  26. September 6, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    Only you know the answer to this, go with your gut feeling of what you feel you need right now and what you can manage? I had my children very young and so for me the rat race of working, parenting, commuting was all we ever knew and I was single Mum, I will say I’m glad I did it that way around while I had the energy for it all, I wouldn’t now at 41, I went self-employed when my boys were 9 &5 and have been ever since and worked from home full time when they were 13 & 9 and It was the right time for me to be around them, I don’t think they need you as much as you think they do when they are really small and are so adaptable and usually enjoy Nursery and being around other people. I personally have enjoyed being with them more as they were older than I did with nappies and bottles and so it worked for me, but we are all different. You will make the right decision. Emma xx

  27. September 6, 2016 / 1:23 pm

    The very best of luck. It’s a tricky decision but sounds like it could be a wonderful opportunity so I guess you could map out the exact scenario that would work for you and ask for it. They approached you so ball is in your court ;). hope you get everything you want. #dreamteam
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  28. September 6, 2016 / 1:27 pm

    There is never a right answer to this dilemma especially when you have been the main child rearing parent. At the end of the day you need to do what you feel is right for you and there is never any shame in admitting that you need to feel like ‘you’ for a while #DreamTeam
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  29. September 6, 2016 / 1:28 pm

    Ah it’s a tough one. My latest post (in Comment Love below) is on this exact thing – the pull from 2 different worlds and the guilt we feel about which one to lean towards. What a wonderfully supportive comment from your hubby, though. “What do you want?” You’re allowed to have your own wants (I say that to myself as much as to you because it’s something I really struggle with too). Congratulations on getting the offer too. You must have made a big impression to be remembered after 3 years! I hope the answers become clear for you soon. #DreamTeam
    Lucy At Home recently posted…Balancing Parenthood and PersonhoodMy Profile

  30. September 6, 2016 / 1:31 pm

    If saved your post on Facebook, so I’m really glad you’ve linked this as your host post. It hasn’t disappointed! I felt exactly the same way a few months back. I was offered a job which was less hours (and therefore less pay) but which I instinctively knew I’d enjoy. I spent a sleepless night worrying about what to do, messages my friends, family and baby Facebook group for advice and opinions, and eventually went with gut instinct. And I think that’s all you can do in these circumstances. I’m so glad I did, I love my job now! I hope you’ll also find some job satisfaction one way or another. Please update us all with your decision? #DreamTeam xxx
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  31. September 6, 2016 / 2:07 pm

    It is a tough choice and I really don’t envy you but I am sure whatever you do will be the right thing, just don’t let guilt make any of your decisions you have to make sure you are happy.

  32. September 6, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    It is a big decision. My eldest was four and my son 18month when I finally made the decision to go back to work- I left when i had my eldest – but I don’t regret going back, it gave me a bit of my life before kids back. But I also work evenings so I don’t miss out on time with the kids #dreamteam
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  33. September 6, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    It’s great to have a choice, though. #DreamTeam

  34. September 6, 2016 / 3:40 pm

    I know it’s a huge decision – but dream job could be something really great for you.

    Don’t hesitate to ask for flexitime to accommodate travelling + child care maybe working from home two days a week to minimise commute? There are options. And they came to you! Puts you in a strong bargaining position, use it.

    Now and now, you’d be a working mum – not a weak link and not a disappointment. Get that right out of your head now! Sure people mutter under their breath – but sod them!

    It’s a challenge, and you’ll have a very full, busy life and fulfilling life.

    At the end of the day go with you gut instinct I think that never fails!

  35. September 6, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    It’s such a hard decision, particularly with the commute, but also the excitement and prospect of getting what you want for your career. I recently left my job , who I had been loyal to for a long time, and went elsewhere as it was the best career decision for me but also the family and what we want to achieve in the next 5 years. There’s unfortunately no easy way to make a decision but I hope whatever you choose, that ultimately it’s right for you ๐Ÿ™‚ #dreamteam

  36. September 6, 2016 / 7:49 pm

    I need to go back to work when my boy will be not even 9 months ๐Ÿ™ I would like to stay with him till he will be 2 years but is not impossible because we want to build a house. I know I will be crying first days:(

  37. September 6, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    The heart is a complex thing. May be what you want isn’t a reality either. However, if it’s doesn’t feel 100% right I promise a better opportunity will come at the perfect moment #dreamteam

  38. September 6, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Ooof it is a hard one. What is the voice right at the back of your head telling you? That one is nearly always right. If that doesn’t work my instinct would be to go for it and if it doesn’t work out you can always leave. At least then you’ll have tried it and not always be wondering what might have happened. Also you should maybe explore all the options with the company. Can you work from home one or two days a week to cut down on the commute? I’m sure whatever you decide will work. #dreamlinky
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  39. September 6, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Wow, sounds like you gave a really big decision to make. Whichever path you choose to follow it must be a huge confidence boost to know that even after three years they really value your experience. Good luck with your decision x
    #AnythingGoes #bigpinklink
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  40. September 6, 2016 / 10:58 pm

    I know how you feel. I feel like I hold myself back from what I could be doing because I want to be close and here if my kids need me. I could be earning a lot more than I am, I am capable of a lot more than I do. But I make sacrifices for the just in cases and might never happens.

    It all depends on what you want and need ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. September 7, 2016 / 9:42 am

    Oh I’m not sure if my comment posted, my PC just crashed. I basically said do what makes you happy, I’m sure you will know the answer. #dreamteam
    laura dove recently posted…For Eva, on your first day at school.My Profile

  42. September 7, 2016 / 9:44 am

    How lovely to be approached by an old employer!
    But what a decision to have to make… but do you HAVE to make it now?
    If you are as well thought of in the workplace as they clearly regard you, then surely other opportunities WILL come up for you, when you are ready for them?
    I have often pondered how unfair it is that us girls seems to be the ones who have to choose between our careers and our families. It seems to be a no brainer for men. My husbands life literally hasn’t changed since we had our girls – he works the same hours, plays the same if not more Golf but at home there are now 3 girls instead of his 1!

    Take some time, maybe go and visit your old office and suss them out a bit.
    Good luck hunpi,
    big love L xxx

  43. September 7, 2016 / 2:10 pm

    Very exciting though! Even if you don’t take them up on it, it’s still a massive ego boost. I faced a similar but much less classy northern version of this problem when I updated my CV on an optician recruitment site to say I was taking a career break and was no longer registered, I suddenly had 5 phonecalls asking me to interview for some very temping positions in Hull that I would have jumped at a few years ago. The Grimsby to Hull commute is about 50 minutes on a normal day or 1hr15 in traffic, then there’s bridge toll and parking.

    I politely declined because I’m in the middle of a degree and want another baby soon. I did consider rejoining the working world though.

    A very hard decision!


  44. September 7, 2016 / 2:46 pm

    How exciting and difficult at the same time. I know exactly what you mean about the commute, Southern Trains are not the best ones to travel with! Hopefully you could work something out with them, where you work a few days in the office and some at home? Good luck in making the decision.x #dreamteam
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  45. September 7, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    Wise words from your partner there. May you find peace in your decision. #dreamteam
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  46. September 7, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    Oh! What a tough decision! I really feel your struggle with this one. I so wish I knew what to suggest for you. I really hope that it comes to you soon. Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink
    Louise Pink Pear Bear recently posted…Discovering Num Noms.My Profile

  47. September 8, 2016 / 5:47 am

    It’s a difficult decision, but at the same time very exciting and flattering to have received this offer. You’re lucky to be in the position of having different options and being able to choose. Whichever choice you make will involve both gains and sacrifices, you just have to weigh it all up and decide what you really want. Maybe give it a try anyway, as someone else already commented, you can always leave if you find it’s not really working for you. Other opportunities will surely come along! Good luck with the decision! #DreamTeam
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  48. September 8, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    I’ve been having a similar dilemma myself lately and it all feels so hard! I want to say we can have it all, but the truth is there is sacrifice, and whatever we decide we will feel guilty at times, but that should’t stop us following our dreams. I need more than just being mum, I need to use my intelligence, but then there are days they are sick and can’t go to school and I don’t have people to just cover me with picking up my children and they come first. It’s so tricky an so much to think about. Good luck with your decision xx #dreamtaem
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  49. September 8, 2016 / 11:14 pm

    Oh hon, I remember this after Monkey. It’s okay to want it all and strive for it. Sometimes it doesn’t work out when there’s a day you need to get home for but can’t because your stuck on a train or on the M25 but they are few and far. I went back on flexible and broke the mould asking for a 4 day week in the rather old and stuffy industry I worked for, they agreed and I proved that I could do it. To everyone’s surprise including my own! 2 weeks after I told them I was pregnant with Kipper they promoted me. I’ll be going back on my four days and holding onto that one day a week. But hopefully still following my career plan and still being the best mum I can be. Good luck in your decision, there is no wrong answer just different paths xx thanks for hosting #dreamteam xx
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  50. September 10, 2016 / 10:55 am

    This was how I felt after having my first. I jumped into my current workplace full-time only then realising that I hated being away from him so I cut my hours to part time which has worked our perfectly for us as now we have baby girl too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    If you just want to go back to work to feel like you’re getting your old self back I think part-time work or even job sharing may be a good fit because then you can work and still have plenty of time with Emma. The travel commute though… *hides face* lol #DreamTeam

  51. September 10, 2016 / 9:38 pm

    You have my sympathy. It’s always the simplest questions that are the hardest to answer.

    We’ve been through similar conversations recently and the answer flipped from day to day!


  52. September 11, 2016 / 12:46 am

    This is such a tough one! It’s so hard to answer! I know what you mean about wanting that little bit of yourself back, and yet, as parent’s we feel so guilty! My little one has just started full days at school and I start a teaching course in two weeks. I feel guilty as I can’t collect him every day but I know I need to do this. Have a think and make sure you do what’s right for you. It’s hard to discover what you really want. Xx

  53. September 12, 2016 / 7:33 am

    Best of luck with your decision Bridie. It sounds fantastic, but THAT COMMUTE! I know how hideous (and expensive) those trains can be. But as others have said, you are in a good bargaining position if you want to ask for some flexible working. #tribe
    Single Mum Speaks recently posted…Bridget Jones’ BabyMy Profile

  54. September 12, 2016 / 3:06 pm

    This resonates massively as I am having those return to work conversations. I want it all and I’m a bit bleary eyed now with baby no2 and trying to fight the urge that screams you can’t have it all! You will do the right thing for you and for your family, it sounds as though you hold some of the cards though if you are so fab they want you back. Use the advantage you have and best of luck! #dreamteam

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