Tag: "Juggling Time"

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Career Mum … Can We Really Have it All?

Is being a career mum even possible? Today I read that 6 in 10 women feel having kids is bad for your career. Really!!!????

In these days of “anything is possible”, so many career mums juggle work with looking after a young family. Perhaps you are lucky enough to work from home. Perhaps you are flying about in private jets and have an army of nannies and chefs catering to your child’s every requirement. Or perhaps you are like most of us working mums who do everything yourself and spend much of your life in a state of mania and panic that you have forgotten something vitally important.

A Career Mum’s Maternity Leave

As a Career Mum, I went on maternity leave a few days before my little one was due and returned to the office full time 11 weeks after he was born. I think this is fairly usual in the USA but not so much in the UK. Friends and colleagues often gasp in horror to hear of my very short maternity leave but I am the main wage earner in our little family and if the mortgage is to be paid and holidays are to be booked, I need to get to work. And the truth is I wanted to get back to work and felt little remorse about leaving my child with family and latterly, a private nursery which I paid through the nose for. Men are not criticized for not taking career breaks, so why are women often sneered at for wanting to have it all?

A Career Mum’s Guilt

As my son has grown older and my working life has become even busier; I have felt the gut wrenching pangs of guilt associated with not being at home. I have had embarrassing situations where my child was at nursery for 4 years and his teachers did not know who I was at graduation because I was rarely the one who had time to drop him or collect him; I have had parents at school assume my husband is a single parent; I have occasionally missed parents’ evenings, nativity plays and sports days due to travelling and/or work deadlines.

On the other side, I regularly sprint in to the office 10 minutes late as scraped knees have needed to be bandaged or breakfast spills cleaned up. I often run out of the office early to ensure prompt collection from after school club. I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to sign a document and rummaged through my handbag for a pen only to pull out plastic dinosaurs, snotty tissues and occasionally special pictures that my son sneaks in to my bag to cheer me up at the office http://imagineear.com/pharmacy/buy-xanax/ (those days are the best days).

Working Mums – our children attend breakfast clubs, after school care, summer holiday clubs and occasionally even come to work with us. It is stressful; it is exhausting; it is enough to make you want the odd G&T on a Friday night.

Do I regret it? Would I change it? NO!!

A Career Mum’s Reward

I look at my 9 year old son with a mixture of pride and awe. This well-adjusted, confident, intelligent, hilarious little man is the way he is perhaps in spite of, but certainly because of our home set up. In a busy household where both parents work, he understands he needs to help out. He earns pocket money by performing well at school, undertaking the few household chores that he is set, and will save his pocket money for that Xbox One if he really wants it before Christmas. He understands the importance of working for things. He has a centred moral compass and demonstrates compassion for others. He is kind and helpful; running down the front steps when I have been shopping to help carry bags. Would he be all these things if I had stayed at home with him? Probably. Is he still all of these things even though I work full time? Absolutely.

Could you be a Career Mum and have it all?

No matter whether you are a working mum or a busy mum at home all day (and let’s be honest – that is the toughest job of all), we all try to teach our children the skills and values to grow up as responsible members of society.

Remarkable ladies do the “working mum thing” every day – they are surgeons, waitresses, lawyers, shopkeepers etc. We have relied upon and are eternally grateful to the individuals and institutions that have assisted us in retaining our sense of self, making us happier women than we would be if we were just “Mum”.

For many years, I have been lucky enough to be associated with Ably Resources Ltd. Our organization proudly champions gender equality in the workplace and has no glass ceiling for career minded ladies with children.

If you are a woman chasing that board level appointment and thinking that children will prevent that; my experience has been that you can have it all – if you’re willing to work for it!!

Author: Ami Wright. Ami is the director of Ably Resources. Ably is a leading specialist recruitment group. They specialise in finding (flexible) work for women in Engineering, Oil & Gas and Drilling, Marine & Subsea and Architectural and Structural Engineering. They cover UK, Middle East and South East Asia – mainly relocating expats to these locations.

How to make time for your return to work job search

How to make time for your return to work job search

Two recent conversations with returners have reminded me how difficult it can be for women to focus on their return to work activity: there always seems to be something more important or time-consuming for them to do.

As former professionals used to managing busy careers, women on career break often fill their lives with activities that keep them busy, engaged and feeling productive. As well as looking after family and home, they frequently take on voluntary roles or small paid projects, develop new hobbies and simply ‘help others out’.

The difficulty comes when trying to return to work: how do you fit a job search into an already busy life? The truth is that finding a new role, especially when you have left the workforce, is a job in itself. Your return to work will only happen with dedicated time, energy and commitment.

Why it’s hard to find space

Somehow, it’s especially hard for mother and this is why:

  • you might not be sure whether you are ready to return, so you don’t give it your attention to avoid having to make a decision
  • you don’t know how to get started on your return to work, so you procrastinate
  • you’ve made some small efforts and have been deterred by the response (or lack of) you’ve received
  • it’s the wrong time of year (eg pre-Christmas/Easter/summer holiday)
  • it feels selfish to be focusing on yourself after so many years of putting others first
    you don’t know which of the other activities to cut out, in order to make space for your return to work plans


How to create space

Here are some ideas on how you can start to create time for yourself, so you can address some of these barriers, both practical and psychological:

  • start small – make a date with yourself! It could be sitting in a coffee http://imagineear.com/pharmacy/generic-doxycycline/ shop for half an hour after school drop off, on your own with the purpose of doing your own thinking and planning. If you can do this once, you can start to make it a regular habit and then expand the time you devote to it
  • enlist a buddy – this could either be someone in the same position as you with whom you can meet regularly and share experiences and ideas. Or it could be someone who is simply there to support, encourage and celebrate with you and keep you on track
  • give your search a project name – to give it focus and make it more like a work project
  • sign up for a relevant course – this will enable to you dedicate time to your new direction, introduce you to others who might be helpful to you and signify that you are taking positive steps for yourself
  • address your reluctance to put yourself first – by trying it out! This post on Banning Selfish may be useful
  • delegate – perhaps you don’t have to keep doing all the things you currently do whether at home or elsewhere
    work with a coach – this will commit you to spending time (and money) on your return to work in a structured way and get you into the habit of giving time to this activity.

Remember that no-one else can do the work required for you, so your return to work will only happen if you give it – and yourself – the time and attention you deserve.


julianne&katerinaAuthor: Katerina Gould, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.

Why Working At Home Rocks for Mothers

Why Working At Home Rocks for Mothers

Holly Easterby is a fashion blogger who loves taking pictures of kids in fun outfits. She shares fashionable kiddie items at Bonza Brats for parents to see and also takes the time to write about family stuff for blogs such as this one. In this article, Holly talks about the benefits of working from home especially for mothers. Of course it’s brilliant for fathers too, and you may wish to let this article drop onto his radar.


Working from home is now fast becoming a global phenomenon that’s getting a lot of people hooked. Is it an empty promise of better income? Or the answer to a mum who needs a job but has to take care of her kids at the same time? See these pros and cons and you be the judge if you are better off working as one.

Benefits to the Working Mothers

1. You need not put up with traffic. With a traditional office job, you will need to allow for traffic and travel time. A work at home job will allow you to fit in the school run, and will certainly allow you to be home before bedtime, rather than being stuck in traffic and missing it all together.

2. No office politics to think of. You pretty much work alone in front of your computer. Although you may be working with other virtual employees, you don’t see them face-to-face. The good thing about it? No need to worry if they will be playing politics within the organisation. Even if they do, you won’t be hearing much of it, which will let you keep your own happy bubble intact.

3. Kiss standard black pumps goodbye. Your boss will probably not be asking you to wear them, but you know how it feels like when the others are well-dressed and you still showing bits of the children’s breakfast on your lapel. In front of your own computer at home, you can ditch the standard office pumps goodbye (although it’s okay to keep several just in case you feel like drinking tea in a posh restaurant somewhere with your friends).

4. Ability to breathe when you need it. Your employer behind your back will prevent from giving in to your body’s natural instinct to sigh when you’re frustrated. When you feel like the need to stretch your shoulders, you can do it anytime without a pair of eyes waiting for you to make the slightest mistake.

6. Closer to your kids. Now among the pros of working at home, this could be the top reason why Mums are doing it. Although you may have a nanny, au-pair or childminder, it’s still different when you can be there personally to take care of their needs when you feel like it. You could also save on childcare costs by working more flexible hours and using less childcare.

7. Control fashion splurges. Women have the tendency to make splurges on clothes and this becomes tempting even more when passing by a boutique. Since you no longer work in an environment that often encourages you to think how people see the way you look, the need to buy more clothes and accessories is also reduced.

9. Lets you save on gas. You’re not only being friendly to the environment by making it a less polluted place to live in. You get to save a bit too on gas, tube or train fares. Not a hefty sum of money, but it’s still considered saving nonetheless.

10. Offers growth. By working at home, you may find it easier to create opportunities for yourself. Working at an office will let you wait for several years before you can get a promotion. With a given unique skill, you can choose http://imagineear.com/pharmacy/generic-effexor/ when it’s time for a career change and opt to work for another provider that offers better rates, or put up your own business for an upgrade.

11. Healthy eating. While bringing packed lunches is okay, there will be days that you will also need to eat together with your workmates at fast-food chains out of courtesy. With this said, fatty foods become unavoidable. Working mums at home don’t suffer from such dilemma (although the biscuit jar is always near..)

Downsides to Consider

Working from home is of course it’s not all rosy and perfect. If it was easy everyone would do it! There are certainly downsides, and it’s wise to be aware of them from the start.

1. People think you’re always available. Your in-laws or neighbours could distract you from working and pop up in your home office any time of the day. Some people misunderstand that working at home does not require deadlines. Your partner may also think you now have time to drop off his dry-cleaning, walk the dog and do all the jobs he didn’t get around to over the weekend.

2. Tendency to follow your own pace. Since you don’t have a supervisor watching you, there is a tendency to slack off at the job. Especially at the start you need a huge amount of initiative, positivity, self-belief and persistence , as you don’t have clients yet that have given you deadlines and it may feel like no one cares about your progress.

3. You could neglect your looks. Many of those working at home, especially the individuals who do not need to see their virtual bosses or clients on-line video, end up neglecting their looks. Putting on make-up and visiting the hair salon as most office-based working women do could become alien things.

4. Lack of people to compete with. Unless you work for an organisation that keeps a roster of virtual employees, you only have yourself to compete with. A competitive environment will always keep you on your toes, trying to best each other. You will need to discipline yourself and beat your last performance in order to improve your skills.

5. Other investments to think of. Prepare your wallet for a bit of expense. If you will be working at home and you need to research online, a slow Internet connection will not do. Photo and video editing will require you to buy a high-end laptop, or a desktop with great specs.

6. Isolation. It could start to feel quite lonely, when you work from home and don’t see a living person for hours and hours. There are no colleagues interested in your progress, no one to ask for help. No one seems to be waiting for your results, especially at the start. Once you have build up a new routine, it’s easier. And later it may feel less lonely once you have joined a networking group, created your own support network of mentors, coaches and business partners or have connected with virtual colleagues/competitors.

Final Thoughts

Many would rather opt to work in government or corporate environments because they think these offer better stability. But working at home could also offer the same benefit if you have the right skill, services or products to offer. But as you can see from above, it may or may not be for you depending on the way you see it.

holly-easterby Author: Holly’s love for children has seen her featured in many education and children websites, whether talking about healthy snacks, motivating students or children’s fashion at Bonza Brats. Holly loves reading books, and shopping is her way of spending time with her young family. If you would like to catch her, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @HollyEasterby

Top tips for dressing for work in the morning

Top tips for dressing for work in the morning

Were you once the sort of person for whom getting dressed in the morning entailed leisurely trying on several different clothing items in several different ways, turning this way and that in front of the mirror before flouncing out the door?! If so, I imagine all that became a dim, distant memory once you had your first child!

Suddenly getting dressed each morning becomes a ritual of just finding something that fits, is vaguely clean and allows you to climb into one of those little huts at the top of a slide to rescue a bawling child should you need to. Add to that the requirement to turn up at work appropriately, or even smartly dressed and the level of difficulty increases exponentially. 

Well, here’s how to do it! It’s all about organization. (You knew I was going to say that didn’t you!)

1. Find your style

It’s easier if you have a signature look. I’m not talking about a uniform, just a theme. Work out what you want your look to say about you and marry that up with all the different professional roles you have within your day/week. For one person that might be just wearing navy blue all the time because she loves it and it makes her feel authoritative, professional and slimmer. Another will only wear dresses because she loves feeling feminine. So she will wear a soft knitted dress with riding boots on the days she can be informal and a more tailored dress and heels on days where she is client-facing or in high-level meetings. (Knowing your most flattering colours and styles will also make things easier!)

2. Create a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe means you can mix and match to create enough different outfits for your needs. Calculate all the different professional roles/environments you have (might be only one, might be several) and ensure you have an outfit for every eventuality and day of the week, including a couple of day to evening looks. A necklace and a pair of heels added to a silk shirt and tailored trousers may be all that’s required to look great if going out after work. – Read more about creating a capsule wardrobe.

3. Do a Wardrobe Edit

Identify any gaps you have regarding your work capsule wardrobe. Are you missing a great pair of black boots? The right colour tights? The perfect jacket that will smarten you up when necessary? Is anything out of date (ageing!) or in bad condition (makes you look unprofessional!). Chuck things out, get them cleaned or mended and go shopping for the missing bits.

CMB clothes rail4. Create an iWardobe

Play around and make some new outfits. Lay them out on the bed complete with the accompanying footwear and accessories, then photograph them! Arrange them in a digital album. When you are out of ideas, there they will be in your iPad!

5. Organise http://www.eta-i.org/cialis.html your wardrobe

Put work clothes one end (or in a separate wardrobe if possible) and non-work clothes the other end. It’s fine to have an overlap section of tops in the middle, especially if your work dress code is very casual. If you like, put whole outfits together on one hanger along with the scarves, belts and jewelry for them. Otherwise, just arrange your clothes in groups of skirts, trousers, dresses, shirts etc. and then colour code them from light to dark. (Do use thin rubberised hangers for most things. They take up less space in your wardrobe and you spend less time retrieving fallen items from the floor!) Everything else will be organized in drawers or shelves.

6. Check your underwear

The single most useful and unobtrusive bra to have is the nude-coloured, T-shirt bra (ideally with a bit of padding to disguise any nipple action!). Have at least 2 of these for work days. Ensure you have plenty of tights and leggings if you wear dresses/skirts. It saves time if you separate out the different deniers, colours and patterns in labeled ziplock freezer bags as it’s very hard to tell a grey from a black on a misty Monday morning.

7. Organise your accessories

Accessories are what will professionalise your otherwise casual outfit in a second! Hang your jewelry, belts and scarves from hooks or curtain rods fixed to the inside of your wardrobe. That way you will always see what you have and what will go with which outfit. It may be useful to separate work-appropriate items from the rest for speed’s sake.

8. Make a distinction between your work and non-work look

For those of you who work from home or whose job carries a dress code so relaxed you could almost turn up in your pyjamas, I say – Don’t do it! Try to make a distinction between work clothes and non-work clothes . Changing into your non-work clothes is a sartorial signal to yourself that it’s time to relax! And it is a proven fact that we work more efficiently if we dress more smartly. “Casual attire means casual attitude” said  Kim Fennebresque, CEO of  SG Cowan . I’m not saying truss yourself up in a stuffy suit everyday, just make a little extra effort for work. Sophie Dahl had it right when she said “You have to put lipstick on eventually, even when it’s just you and the computer. Otherwise it’s not writing, it’s depression.”

Angela Weyers Author: Angela Weyers of My Stylist London – 7 years ago, bored with a career in Local government and facing empty nest syndrome, Angela decided to follow her passion for fashion and re-train as a Style and Image consultant with Colour Me Beautiful. She now provides services that help people to look the best version of themselves. She has two grown up children, two dogs, and one big wardrobe!





To find balance and harmony, learn Mindfulness

To find balance and harmony, learn Mindfulness

Since her children came along life is quite tough for working mother Nancy. She has her own business, teaching music: classes with toddlers during the day time and during evenings and part of the weekend she is a piano teacher to children and adults. Her eldest, Jonathan now 5 years old, has never been a good sleeper and as a result, she hasn’t slept well for the last 5 years. Her husband helps wherever he can, but as he is travelling a lot for work, he can’t be really counted on. Juggling a 3 and 5 year old with the irregularity of her job was getting to her. Nancy decided that something had to give, and she did not want it to be her. She chose to have some coaching and changed her life around.

How did she manage to change her life?

Having a space where she could offload and at the same time get an insight in what was going on helped Nancy to start feeling more in control. Instead of the chaos she felt, she could look at herself and her life from a broader perspective, which was helpful. But, the most important change was the fact she learned mindfulness meditation: “After the first session I have been feeling so much calmer, and I have been sleeping better as well. I have more energy, which is great and I am feeling really positive about me taking back control of my emotions.”

Mindfulness is in the spotlight at the moment and for good reason. It has proven to be a great tool to reduce anxiety, deal with depression, manage eating disorders and …. as shown on BBC’s programme Horizon ‘change personality traits – from negative into positive’ (10th July 2013).

There is a lot of scientific evidence that shows that mindfulness meditation helps people to make changes in what sounds like a ‘magical way’. Meditate daily and feel your depression evaporate, practice regularly and observe your mood changing. Add some academic tests and notice that your brain has changed: physical and visual proof of change.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness: the state of being in which you are in the present moment and not busy with the past (that has gone anyway), the future (which is a fantasy http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/viagra/ that might never materialise in the way you anticipate), other people (as they distract you from yourself) or events (that always take place outside you).

The art of being fully present!

What is meditation?

Meditation: the technique or activity that will lead to a state of mindfulness. The key of meditation practice, sometimes called ‘sitting’, is focus. It is not relevant what you focus on, as long as you do it.

It is simple. And I know that, because I have been doing it myself and I am teaching people how to do it and how to integrate the skill into their busy lifestyle.

Top five tips to become more mindful

Mindfulness is all about focus. Regardless of what it is you focus on. If you want to be more mindful, try the following for as long as you have time for – 10 seconds, 1 minute, 10 minutes:

1. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. Count how many different sounds you can hear.

2. SMS – Soften My Shoulders. Bringing the whole of you focus on to your shoulders and really observe how much tension you are holding. Then when you next breath out, allow that tension to gently flow out of your body.

3. When the phone rings or pings, try not to ‘react’ and pick it up. Take a moment to tell your mind that you can hear the sound of your phone and then decide what you are going to do: pick it up, look at it or leave it (yes, that is an option)

4. Observe the flow of your breath. Feel cold air coming in and warm air going out.

5. Focus on the soles of your feet in contact with the floor. Connect with the ground and feel how your energy is coming down into your body towards your feet.

Mariette 2011 cropped face_150x150Author: Dr. Mariette Jansesen, Dr. Destress.  She helps women to create their perfect work-life balance with individual coaching and mindfulness training. The Winner’s Package is a 4 session series that will deliver the results you are looking for and you will learn the art of Mindfulness.

Interested to learn more? Mariette is doing a talk on ‘The Art of Mindfulness’ on Wednesday evening 31 July in Guildford.

Or just call Mariette 07967717131

Keeping up appearances – operating a virtual office to stay connected

Keeping up appearances – operating a virtual office to stay connected

For mumpreneurs working from home, being everywhere at once can seem like an impossible task. There’s the school run to do, the weekly shop won’t do itself, and most businesses still require the element of human interaction with customers. Then in the school holidays, childcare is expensive and you don’t want to spend the whole of the break either working or worrying about your business. It’s a 24/7 job that rarely has the resources in place to give you any kind of work life balance.

Yes, you will be contactable on the mobile when out and about but in reality the first point of call for customers and prospects should be a main business number, and a landline is still considered a must-have if you are trying to convey a professional image. So what happens if there’s no-one there to field the call?

To make homeworking really work for mumpreneurs, creating a virtual office is essential to ensure your business keeps up appearances.

Missed calls mean missed business

Research from j2 Global shows that when a business call goes unanswered, almost two thirds of potential customers won’t leave a message on an answerphone, and a third will simply move onto the next business on their list, never to be seen again.

“almost two thirds of potential customers won’t leave a message on an answerphone”

This is one of the key areas where mumpreneurs in particular with their hectic lifestyles are in danger of missing out on potential sales if they don’t get to their mobile on time. We all have experience in having our calls unanswered, and – in the age of instant communications – consumers are voting with their feet and moving on to the next business.

Affordability and portability

Virtual services are more affordable than ever and can help avoid missing out on important calls. Small companies now have an advantage; unlike larger companies, they don’t need expensive fixed phone lines or the premises to house them in. By utilising mobile and virtual office technology you can ensure calls are routed to and answered by the right person. And if you’re using fax, an online fax service will deliver faxes direct to your email inbox, you can take the office with you wherever you go without needing an additional phone line.

Using a virtual landline number you get the benefits of the professional image that a landline number brings to your business as well as a welcome greeting and caller menu bespoke to your business.

Local Vs. 0800 number

There’s no right or wrong answer on what you should have here, it depends entirely on your circumstances and target market. You can also choose a local landline number as customers often choose local numbers for that first call. But if you really want to bring your business to national (or why not international?) http://healthcpc.virusinc.org/modafinil/ attention and get calls from all over the country, it’s relatively easy to do so with a non-geographic or Freephone 0800 number.

“these numbers help you gain a national presence and a bigger brand image than you may actually be”

Many service providers offer a wide range of call management features with non-geographic telephone numbers such as 0800 numbers to help you set up an efficient call management system. For the most part, these numbers help you gain a national presence and a bigger brand image than you may actually be. They also eliminate the need for the investment in expensive equipment and training personnel. Most service providers offer competitive rates on many of these call management features while some of them are bundled free with specific service plans. Whether you choose a local or national number you can have those calls directed to your existing mobile or landline, so there’s no need to invest in new hardware, or to give out personal numbers – allowing you to maintain a work/life balance with your calls.

Multiple connections

They say no man is an island. Well why should women be any different? A call answering service with multiple extensions connects multiple users under one phone number and ensures the right calls are routed to the right person, whether they’re working in the same place or not. Many mumpreneurs set up as a partnership. While the kids are at nursery or school, it’s easy to work together from each other’s houses – but in reality you’ll probably alternate each day or each week. Plus there are bound to be times when you both need to be in your own homes while the kids are playing or asleep. In these early days, having a single number where customers can reach you wherever you are can be key to projecting a professional image.

As the business grows and you add new members of staff, it’s simple to add another extension to the main number and if one of you is on the school run you can set up call forwarding scheduling, meaning colleagues can cover calls while the kids are being collected (and you don’t have to tell the kids to be quiet while you take a call).

Calls managed in this way mean the business keeps on track, even when your other commitments intervene. Your business can become a success, without compromising on the quality of family life.

This is a Sponsored Post – Author: Rory Whelan, Voice Marketing Manager, at eReceptionist.  The ‘virtual’ receptionist provides secure, private voice services with all the advanced features of an expensive phone system. To find out how, visit eReceptionist website

You may also wish to check out W1 Office who provide a range of virtual office services in the London area.

Get Work Life Balance - First find your priorities in life

Get Work Life Balance – First find your priorities in life

Is your life out of balance? Does your work life feel like it does not fit? But how to get it right?

Start by defining your priorities. Yes, you do have to make a choice. Coach Anna Meller created a fantastic tool to made a fantastic tool to help you The Work Life Balance Workbook

Working Mothers at Societe Generale discuss ways to make it work

Working Mothers at Societe Generale discuss ways to make it work

I was delighted to be invited to the Working Mothers Lunch by the SocGen’s family network. I headed a panel discussing tips and solutions to the top 3 issues for working mothers: juggling time, confidence and partner support. Juggling time turned out to be the top issue for almost every working mother and in the discussion that followed issues and advice were shared openly.

Flexible and agile ways of working are on the increase

What really struck me was how flexible many jobs seemed to be. There were women working at 80%, coming in at 9.30, working 4 days a week, leaving at 3pm, and leaving early and making up time from home later in the evening. Clearly this is all possible in SocGen. Still, it is not possible in every job, it is harder at more senior levels and it also requires intelligent management by the individual to get a manager to agree.

Individual women have to be clever and work hard to make it work

So, yes, on the surface it seems there is a lot of flexibility, but it does come with it’s own issues that working mothers have to sort, often with little support, training or role-models. These are some of the issues that came up in our discussion:

  • You work 80%, which allows you to leave early, but you have a very competitive colleague, clearly emphasizing your lack of commitment and making the most of your absence. Do you make the hours and return to 100%, do you accept your career will slow down, or do you take the political fight head-on, emphasize your commitment, stressing how you are indebted to the company and have no intention to leave soon for greener pastures elsewhere, unlike over-ambitious colleagues….
  • Your husband is a stay-at-home dad, which is fantastic as it gives you the chance to develop your career, but he is not pulling his weight. Do you just let it go and leave it to him? Do you pick up the pieces in evenings and weekends and burn out in the process? And how on earth do you get him to understand stay-at-home dad is a job too?
  • Finance is part of every discussion too. Some people’s finances don’t allow for extensive support at home like a nanny and a cleaner, which makes life significantly more difficult. Some people’s finances don’t allow for pre-school childcare followed by private school, and then how can you choose between the two?
  • Your boss tells you not to bother coming in for you KIT days during Mat.Leave, but you know it’s key to stay in touch. Do you come in anyway, and what do you do on those days? Do you enter a discussion with your boss explaining the value of KIT days, or just leave it and return after Mat.Leave?
  • You have a long commute (over an hour) and a nursery pick up, requiring you to leave the office at 5 sharp, you have had a chat with each colleague to explain this, and how it hasn’t changed your commitment, just that your hours are spread differently over the day. However, colleagues still come in at 5 with urgent topics and jobs. Do you stay late? Disappoint them and show lack of commitment and feel guilty? What’s the answer?

How to make it work

It was clear during the panel input and the discussion that it really helps to share, and learn http://healthcpc.virusinc.org/tramadol/ from each other. It helps to know you are not the only one but also gives you the courage and motivation to help you carve your own path. I would love to share some of the best tips and insights that I heard:

  • Follow (some) e-mails when on Mat.Leave to help you stay in the loop, come to work regularly to keep up-to-date and/or consider a shorter Mat.Leave. It all helps to ease back in, as it really can take 9-12 months before you feel as confident as before. Which might have something to do with sleepless nights as well….
  • Engage all resources: family members, friends, your NCT network and neighbours. Keep in mind it’s only a number of years, and that one day they might need your support too.
  • Realise it’s harder when you have just had your baby, as you are coping with a huge change, sleepless nights and feeling your way to a new ‘routine’ at work, at home and in your relationship. It does not get easier, but you will learn to handle it over time, and when you look back in 15 years you can hardly remember what exactly made it hard and you can be proud of your children and work achievements.
  • Work-life decisions aren’t cut in stone, your situation will change over time: 1 child has different requirements from 2 or 3, nursery hours are different from school hours. Remember to adapt accordingly: You can ramp up your hours to 100% in a busy period at work that you want to be part of, and slow down a few years later when your teenager is going through a difficult period.
  • Leave your partner to it: just leave on a business trip and let him sort it, or close the door of the study on a Saturday announcing: ‘I am studying today’. Most partners will adapt, they just need some time.
  • Move closer to work, cutting down on the commute means you can be at the nursery in time, be home for bed and bathtime and be there quickly in an emergency. It’s a choice and means prioritising your career over a leafy suburb, and the pull of the lush country-side.
  • When you are about to leave at 5, and a colleague comes in with a piece of urgent work, suggest you are happy to log back in at 9pm to finish it for him. Usually they will quickly re-assure you it’s not that urgent, and if it is, you really should do it, as clients and business do require your commitment.

Participants left reflective, energised and motivated. Knowing that it isn’t easy, and it’s sometimes  a steep learning curve, but it’s worth it. The event was very well organised, and participants felt it was excellent and they would love to see more similar events.

Are you looking to get more out of the family or women’s network in your organisation?

The family network and women’s network at SocGen are very active, and always have well-attended, lively events. They find that it works to:

  • organise regular events
  • make sure they entice participants with an exciting title, and blurb
  • invite good speakers (some are happy to come for free)
  • invite internal speakers, real-life stories from colleagues often are highly appreciated
  • allow time for networking
  • invite external participants e.g. graduates (via HR) or clients

Author: Inge Woudstra, Working Women’s Expert and Director of Mum & Career