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'You get that sense of satisfaction and appreciation… which you don’t always get at home'

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Author Caroline Grace-Cassidy has said mothers shouldn’t feel guilty about going back to work, and those who work often make better mothers, wives and friends.

Speaking to Mothers & Babies in the Irish Independent the author, whose latest book I Always Knew has just been released, says she doesn’t feel like she’s had to give up anything to be a mum.

Grace-Cassidy is a mother of two girls: Grace, seven, and Maggie, who is almost three. She combines caring for the girls with a hectic media career. As well as writing, she appears regularly on TV3’s Midday, is co-director of Smart Blondes Productions alongside partners Elaine O’Connor and Fair City actresses Sorcha Furlong and Sarah Flood (the partners have six children between them).

It’s very much a full-time career, but Grace-Cassidy still drops and collects her older daughter to and from the local school in Knocklyon in Dublin each day. Younger daughter Grace goes to creche three days a week, and her mum works flexibly on the days she’s home.

“Work-life balance for me is full on. When the girls are home and I’m working, I might bring them to the studio. The only way I know what to do with my life is to work, to do something I love and to have the kids around as well,” says Grace-Cassidy.

She adds that the biggest benefit of being a working mum is continuing to be herself.

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“I know some people find that really selfish. I don’t feel I had to give up anything to be a mother. I felt I gained loads. Obviously when the girls were first born I stayed home, but I don’t see why I had to give up any part of me. For me the pros [of being a working mum] are doing what I want to do, not losing myself and showing my girls that they can do it all.

“You’re a better person when you go back to work; you’re a better mother, better wife and better friend.”

However, she is not without the maternal guilt that often goes hand in hand with being a working mother.

“Guilt is always going to be there. Everyone feels guilty; you feel guilty if you’re going to a wedding and leaving your kids. It’s about managing the guilt and not feeling you’re a bad mother, because you’re not a bad mother,” she says.

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