Many women suffer from guilt when returning to work; am I being a bad parent? Are the children in day-care for too long each day? Am I doing a good job at work? It comes from every angle.
For many women in senior leadership positions it is hard to find an equivalent level role on a part time basis. What to do? Return to work on a full time basis and sacrifice time with their children? More recently, I have seen many women starting their own business ventures as they identified gaps in the market. Sadly this means the workforce is missing out on a large talent pool of high calibre female talent due to organisations not being aligned to a part time workforce. Why haven’t we seen more job sharing at a senior leadership level or part time roles? Is it because society expects these roles to be carried out on a full time basis?
Many women are lucky enough to have the support of family i.e. grandparents who generously care for the children and allow us to go to work. Some organisations have a high proportion of working mums, as they feel they are reliable and effective in regards to their output given they are working in a reduced timeframe. Along with this is flexibility, which needs to be exercised both ways.
In my situation I have returned to work three days per week with my little one in day-care two days per week and with the grandparents one day. It is challenging however the positives have been a great relationship with the grandparents (it is amazing what knowledge the older folk have to impart), the challenges and engagement that work brings me, not to mention the financial aspect (which the mortgage appreciates).
How do woman reach their own nirvana?
Answer: no route will get you there, however my recipe includes being exceptionally organised both at home and at work, forward planning and trying to be one step ahead of the game. Sometimes life may throw me a curve ball, but focusing on priorities (baby and family) and making time for myself (when I can) works for me. Whilst my recipe won’t work for all women, I imagine the core ingredients will be the similar.
So for those mums who are looking to return to work in a part time capacity be upfront and open about your commitments, identify organisations that cater for part time mums and offer flexibility and most importantly what you can offer them. For potential employers, be prepared to change your mindset in the way you would typically look to hire talent into your business, in doing so, you will unearth a diverse talent pool of top talent.
What advice can you share with mothers wanting to juggle their career and family?
Kristan De Sousa