Getting the right working hours to fit around your family can be difficult, even if you’re returning to the same job. This week’s working mum has had the struggle of finding the right hours on top of a husband who works away from home.
Jenna from Then There Were 3 tells us how she juggles it all…
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m a 28-year-old mum to two girls living in South West Wales. My husband works away during the week as an HGV driver so I fly solo for the majority of the time.
What do you do for a living?
I work for a major international airline responding to customers emails.
How many hours per week do you work?
I work 22.5 hours a week spread over three days.
Who looks after your children while you work?
My daughter goes to a private nursery for 1.5 of the 3 days that I work – the rest of the time my parents have her and my husband for my shift on the weekend.
Are you in the same job before you went on maternity leave?
Did you return to work on the same hours?
Before I went on maternity leave I worked full time on different shifts ranging from 9am to 11pm. I requested to return full time 9 to 5 but was declined. I went back part-time to a different department which I hated, but the shifts were set and worked well for me considering the nursery hours and my husband working away. Six months after my return the department was looking to change my hours to later which would have meant I would not have had childcare. My plan was to leave however my old department managed to offer me better hours with a higher pay.
How long was your maternity leave?
14 months with my first and I am 3 months into a 10 month leave on my second.
How did you feel about returning to work?
I was looking forward to it; 14 months was too long to take off and I needed it for my sanity.
What do you find hardest about being a working mum?
Getting other people to understand why I have to work set hours. The nursery requires a months notice for any changes and I like to keep the girls in a routine.
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
The opportunities I can provide my daughters; I earn my own wage to treat them during the week and with my work benefits I can take them around the world!
Do you have any tips for other mums thinking about returning to work after maternity leave?
Stand your ground and know your rights. A lot of companies take the mick out of mums returning after maternity leave. I actually spent a lot of time on the phone to ACAS when I found out my hours were being changed without my consent; they helped me form a plan of action which, luckily, I didn’t have to end up using.