Returning to work: a mum’s perspective
If you’re thinking about having a baby, you may be wondering how on earth you will make working ‘work’ once you have a baby to think about. It’s a common worry, but it’s a process most parents have to go through eventually. Here we look at one professional mother’s experience of returning to work post baby.
Davina is a Communications Executive in a top FTSE company. Here she explains how she’s approaching her return to work after her second baby.
Hi Davina, tell us about your role and how you make working ‘work’ as a mum of two?
“I’ve worked for the same company for many years in a full-time position. When my first baby was born, I decided to ask for flexible working, so instead of five days, I wanted to do four. I didn’t think I would ever get it, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Have you done any keeping in touch days?
I’ve taken four keeping in touch days so far this maternity leave. I only took one with my first son, because work were better set up and didn’t need me so much. This time, my replacement has needed some extra guidance, which has in some ways worked out well for me.
Sometimes I work my keeping in touch days from home and sometimes I go into the office with my baby. I think that even if you go in just for a meeting, you should still get paid for the whole day. I’m using mine to do actual work to assist my replacement, plus my boss is quite new to the company so it’s useful.
Has your workplace been supportive of your changing circumstances?
There aren’t many women in my company who have two children and have come back to their jobs. It’s a male orientated industry, so that’s probably why. When I first returned to work after taking nine months’ maternity leave, I requested a four-day week instead of the five I used to do. I didn’t think I’d get it, but I did. I was so pleased. There have been times where I’ve had to still work a five day week during busy periods, but now I just view that as extra money in my pocket.
Why do you think your current flexible working role has worked out so well for you?
I’ve found my new boss is far more supportive of flexible working than my old one used to be. But I think the key is that I work hard, and because my partner’s work is flexible (he is self-employed), having kids hasn’t really affected my work style. So I can still do what I need to do, like travelling or working away. I’ve also been lucky that my first son has been very robust so I haven’t had to pick him up because of illness too often. However, I’m careful to keep work and home separate. I don’t go on about my children to anyone who will listen. I feel it’s important to be professional in the workplace.
Is there any advice you’d give to mums returning to work after their maternity leave?
My advice to anyone worried about going back to work is to start as you mean to carry on. So if you need to leave on time to do the nursery pick up, do it from the very first day you get back. My old boss had to get used to the fact that I was sticking to my hours rather than staying late for the sake of it. But when there’s a genuine need to stay late, I do. I know my job well enough to plan with my partner for those times.
I take my job very seriously, even though I have children, and my boss and colleagues respect me for that. I would add that I felt I had to prove myself when I came back to work after my first birth, but it means that colleagues are more understanding when I do need to leave early or if my child is poorly. All in all though, I love my job. I think if you enjoy what you do, everything will work out.”
If you no longer have a role to return to or if you’re finding work isn’t quite as flexible as you’d like it to be, get in touch with Ten2Two today. We’re specialists in flexible only jobs, so part-time, reduced hours or full-time roles that can be completed flexibly. We look forward to hearing from you.