Bringing up a child is a tough job in itself, but when a parent also has a day job while keeping their house in order, that kind of multi-tasking is to be admired.
I know there are many working dads out there who do an awesome job too. But I want to talk specifically about working mums...mainly because I am one and can speak from experience.
In my eyes, a working mum is an asset to a company. So, I was shocked and appalled to hear that, during a job interview recently, a woman was told that the fact she had a child was “a problem”.
Just because a woman is also a mother, it doesn’t prevent her from doing a job successfully. She won’t have taken this decision lightly to go back into the world of work and be apart from her child for a large part of the day. She may not have had a choice due to finances, or she may want to get back to work to regain some independence.
Whatever the situation, if she’s qualified to do the job, she should be given the same chance as everyone else. And I guarantee she’ll have honed some extra skills that come from the art of parenting:
Able to multitask effectively
Able to juggle multiple deadlines
A flexible approach
Returning to work
It’s more common these days for women to go back to work after having a baby. In 2019, three-quarters of mothers with dependent children were in work, according to the ONS.
When the time came for me to go back to work after having my first child, I had mixed emotions. I knew I had to do it due to our financial situation, and although I was sad not to be spending all day with her, I actually quite liked the idea of getting some independence back and doing a job I knew I was good at…rather than winging it the whole time as I’d been doing in my ‘mummy role’.
After discussions with my boss, it was agreed that I’d go back 3 days a week, which I then decided to increase to 4 days once I got back into the swing of things. I’m currently on maternity leave again, having had my second child. But before I left, I felt I’d got the balance just right. I still had one day off a week to spend with my daughter, but I was also able to do my job effectively, so I felt I had the best of both worlds.
If anything, I think I’m even more efficient as a working mum. I have to complete the same amount of work in less time now I work part-time, and I know I can’t stay late to complete a task because I have to pick my daughter up from nursery.
Time for change
I totally get that some jobs and companies aren’t as flexible as mine; I know I’m lucky. But I think employers need to wake up to the fact that it’s the 21st Century. Gone are the days of it being expected that the woman stays at home and the man goes to work while she cleans and has dinner on the table when he gets home.
A mother’s decision to go back to work after having a child should be applauded. It means, despite probably being exhausted, she still has the drive to want to work and regain her independence and identity as someone other than ‘mummy’. She’s a hero.
And for the record, I think stay-at-home mums and dads are heroes too. It takes a lot of patience and energy to look after a child 24/7, 365 days a year. Those are two things that I don’t have a lot of!
If you'd like to work with this working mum, let's chat!