I had no plans to return to full-time work until my youngest child started "big school". Then my dream job landed on my lap, two years too early.
I have a list of jobs I've said "no" to since becoming a mum and some of them are pretty bloody impressive. I imagined myself emailing the list through to my children when they are all teenagers and torturing me: 'See what I gave up for you!"
But this job was different. Unlike the other jobs I'd been offered it was flexible. The saddest part of trying to return to the workforce after becoming a mother is that all my years of experience and qualifications meant nothing when it came to trying to find a job that fell within school hours. I know so many highly qualified women who are capable of so much more than the jobs they are being offered. But we are so limited.
It's not fair.
So, after my husband gave me the thumbs up (his exact words were "if you turn this down you'll never forgive yourself) I started quizzing every working mum I came across.
I talked to mums at soccer, at swimming, at both schools and one mum was subjected to my interrogation in the checkout at the grocery store.
Do you work?
How many days do you work?
What are the hours?
What do you do during the school holidays?
What do you do when the kids are sick?
Do you drive to work or catch public transport?
Who do you call if you get caught up at work, in traffic or if the bus or train breaks down?
Are your children in pre-school?
Do you use a nanny?
I discovered that every mum thought long and hard about the logistics of returning to work. It all came down to short working weeks and a lot of organisation. Everything is planned, packed and prepared. Nothing is left to chance.
Most mums agreed that two days a week at work wasn't enough but three to four was a good amount. Five days was too much unless the kids were all in primary school, or they had husbands and partners who were able to help out at home on a regular basis.
One mum drops her son at before-school care so she can spend an hour driving to the office.
Another mum has a nanny help out two afternoons each week.
Many live close to family and friends who help.