Welcome to the next guest blogger in my Interview With A Working Mum series.
Being a working mum is stressful enough as it is, without employers making returning to work even more difficult for new mums. This week’s guest blogger is a mum of 2, who didn’t have an easy return to work after her second daughter was born.
FIRST UP, PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF…
I’m Hannah, 30, married to Matt, and we have two daughters, Ava 5, and Wren 15 months. We live in beautiful Plymouth in Devon.
WHAT LINE OF WORK ARE YOU IN?
I work in construction and social housing. I’m currently a Community Engagement Officer for a large property, construction, residential and services group. I essentially make sure that the local community is happy with the work that is being carried out within their neighbourhood, and I get involved and support local community projects, including helping the unemployed back into work.
HOW MANY Hours PER WEEK DO YOU WORK?
I currently work 12 hours a week, more if I need to. My employer is very flexible and allows me to work around childcare, even working from home on the days that I struggle.
ARE YOU IN THE SAME JOB AS BEFORE YOU HAD YOUR Children?
I have only been in this job for a month, as after having Wren my request to work part time was declined by my previous employer. This was disappointing for me as I had worked for that company for 6 years, but I knew that with two children I wouldn’t be able to cope. The cost of childcare alone was ridiculous, coupled with the fact that I was still breastfeeding, ‘surviving’ on 4 hours sleep or less, and suffering from post natal depression and anxiety. To me it was a no brainer – when they told me my request was denied I resigned on the spot. The bitter pill was then repaying my maternity package, but I know that I have done the right thing for me.
HOW QUICKLY DID YOU RETURN TO WORK AFTER HAVING YOUR Children?
After having Ava, I returned to work within 10 months. I felt ready and I returned 3 days a week. However, after Wren I did not feel ready at all! I had 15 months off work with her and enjoyed every minute.
DID YOU WANT TO RETURN TO WORK?
I didn’t particularly want to return to work, it was only recently that I felt a desire too. I have been struggling terribly with self image and not working has added to my poor self esteem. 12 hours a week has been a perfect remedy, however I find the school day is remarkably short so I struggle to get everything done in my time off.
WHAT ARE THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A WORKING MUM?
I think the hardest part of being a working mum is actually managing to do it. Employers can be so inflexible when you have children, and it is so difficult to find a job that suits. I have come to the realisation that it is very difficult to ‘have it all’; inevitably a ball will drop somewhere, whether it’s not being allowed time off for a school play, being late to pick your children up, illness, housework being neglected etc. It’s very hard to successfully do everything, but we need to give ourselves a break sometimes!
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR OTHER WORKING MUMS?
I think my greatest tip would be to manage your time wisely and stay strong! I have been a stay at home mum and I’ve been a working mum, and both come with their pros and cons. But I think if women want to return to work the process should be much more flexible and employers need to be embracing returning mums more, and not make it so difficult. Women in the workplace need to be valued more, we can offer so much.
To find out more about Hannah you can follow her on Twitter.
If you’re interested in guest blogging for the Interview With A Working Mum series please feel free to drop me an email.
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