International Women’s Day means something different to everyone, but for me this year it felt important to celebrate the people that are always supporting me, making my life easier and helping me be the best that I can be at both my ‘jobs’. My need to celebrate this was triggered by reading Linkedin’s campaign about working mums, featuring some hard-hitting stats:   

  • 64% of women believe a non-flexible work schedule is the biggest obstacle to career advancement
  • 85% of hiring managers believe mothers should discuss their career breaks and the unique transferable skills they’ve gained during those breaks
  • 52% of women still believe highlighting a gap in their résumé will lead to them being dismissed as a candidate

The fact that such a high percentage of women believe that flexibility is still a barrier to returning to work tells me that many businesses are still not offering workable solutions for parents, specifically mums. Whilst talking to my friends, who have all recently taken maternity leave and returned to work, I realised that many of them had not been offered the solutions that they needed by their employers.  They had therefore either settled for a less than optimal solution, not returned to that job and found something else, or others who didn’t return to work at all as the obstacles felt too big.

Now my experience has been far different. I wanted to share that because as someone who has just started the working mum juggle I feel incredibly lucky to work for a business that has supported me before I was a mum, throughout my pregnancy, my maternity leave and now in my return to work in every way they could have. I wanted to share my story because I want to highlight to any mums trying to return to work or new mums worrying about their flexible working opportunities that a ‘career break’ is not an obstacle and ‘flexible working hours’ are possible.

Having returned to work only 6 weeks ago, I can tell you that the build-up was filled with excitement, major mum guilt and also that feeling of ‘will my brain work the same way again’! Since coming back to work I have had all the normal working mum challenges thrown at me: from the dreaded nursery illnesses, train delays and the fear you won’t be there in time to pick him up, the tears at drop off and everything in between, it is as hard as I thought it would be but now it feels like we have been doing it forever. 

Through all of this, I have never once doubted Mongoose’s support of me and what I need to do in order to do my ‘two’ jobs. I can honestly say that Mongoose gave me a blank canvas to work out what I needed from them in terms of flexible working so that I could continue to do the job I love,  work around childcare hours, have quality time with my son and continue to contribute to the business in a meaningful way. They have offered me every flexibility they could in terms of hours, working from home and all with the encouragement and re-assurance that they will help me make it work. This is not everybody’s story and not only does that shock me but it makes me frustrated for all those women who want to be able to do both and who absolutely can do both but they are not being given the opportunity. 

So I want to celebrate the businesses that are enabling working mums to be the best they can be and leave you with this from Linkedin’s Vice president of global diversity, inclusion and belonging Rosanna Durruthy: She concluded: “the transition from employee to mother to working mother can be a remarkable shift,  but remember that you’re not alone. Join us in celebrating International Women’s Day and the mothers balancing families and careers as they navigate re-entering the workforce.” #IWD2020 and #InItTogether

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