This is the last post in my Interview With A Working Mum series! I’ve had some amazing working mums taking part and hope you’ve enjoyed reading about their lives as much as I have.
I’m going to take a break with the series and hopefully be back later in the year with a revamped guest blogging series.
The final working mum in the series spends her days helping fellow working parents…
Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m Clara, mum to two girls (currently 5 and 11) and wife to Scott. We live in North Birmingham, not too far from where I grew up, and when we aren’t playing parent taxi we love watching films, reading and walking in the local big park.
What do you do for a living?
I run a social enterprise called The Balance Collective working towards reducing maternal unemployment. Day to day that means I coach and mentor parents to support their career, business, confidence and return to work goals. This can cover helping people decide what they want and help them take action, to more practical things like CV Support, Interview Skills, Flexible Working Request and LinkedIn Improvements
How many days do you work?
As standard, I do 9 till 3, Monday to Thursday. I like to keep my Friday’s free to do some volunteering.
Who looks after your children while you work?
During term time, they are both at school – which makes things easier in a way and also helps with my work-life balance boundaries. I have an absolute time that I need to be finished by. During the holidays, I tend to have a “skeleton diary” and my Mum, who lives locally, has the girls. I also do a little work in the evenings.
Now my two are older, it is easier to work when they are around – they tend to entertain themselves.
Are you in the same job before you went on maternity leave?
No, I left my last job and went self-employed when my youngest was three. I had returned to the same job, same company though, I have had two maternity leaves at two different companies, 6 years apart!
Did you return to work on the same hours?
For my last maternity leave, I returned to the same job and eventually, reduced hours/days. It was a gradual return, so I was able to use my remaining holiday to “test” the working hours. It made me realise what I wanted to do before I put in my flexible working request.
How long was your maternity leave?
My first, 6-months. May last, 53 weeks!
How did you feel about returning to work?
For both, I didn’t feel ready to go back but I enjoyed my job and working in the companies I worked in. For my last maternity leave, I found it very hard and think, in hindsight, I was suffering from post-natal anxiety. I did enjoy getting my identity back and to stretch my brain cells in a new way
What do you find the hardest about being a working mum?
The guilt – even as a coach that works with parents on this, on a daily basis, it can creep up on me too. We just have to remember that we are all doing our best!
What are your favourite things about being a working mum?
That I am role model to my two. My eldest has seen me as an employee and now as business owner and can identify with those choices. To be able to show them both that work is something to be enjoyed rather than endured is important to me!
Do you have any tips for other working mums?
Lots! The key thing to remember is that you have choices. To decide what you want to do, be it flexible working (which is a negotiation) to your career path and goals, don’t life force you to do things that aren’t right for you. Decide what YOUR definition of work-life balance success is, and work to that! If you want to see more about my tips, then feel free to check out my blog.
Thanks for reading these guest blog posts, you can check out all the amazing working mums in the series here.