In the modern world, work/life balance is a constant question for a lot of people. For mothers, it’s an even bigger issue to contend with – how do you assert yourself in the workplace and maintain your career without losing focus on the things that really matter?
These days, mothers are 40% more likely than fathers to report that childcare issues harmed their careers. 23% of working parents say they’ve been treated as if they aren’t committed to their work because they have kids, which can have a brutal impact on your self-esteem and mental health.
It’s true, dads with jobs remain more likely to work full time than working mothers – in fact, in 2019, 98% of employed fathers were working full-time, in comparison to the 78% of employed mothers.
Work/life balance is certainly a challenge, and especially so for mothers, and more so again for new mothers with younger children that demand more attention. I’ve learned a lot from my own experience, and thought I’d lay out some of the best ways I managed that delicate equilibrium.
So, what advice would I have for managing career and motherhood?
- First of all, decide what you want and what works best for you. We are all different. There is no one solution or best practice that works for all.
- Work for a company that supports women throughout maternity leave: good maternity leave and parental leave; flexible working; remote working; a supportive boss.
- Find (and train) the right support at home that works for you well in advance. If not the child’s father, or a family member or good friend -then the right kind of childcare. Fathers really do want to share childcare these days and many forward-looking employers are making this work.
- Communicate openly with your line manager about your plans. How long you expect to be off work. How you would like to stay in touch throughout your maternity leave. What support the company could provide to allow you to manage the transition. How you will ensure that your replacement/support, while you are away, is fully briefed and that the business will manage in your absence.
- Prepare thoroughly. Who has to do what to make sure that the business thrives while you are away?
- Get rid of anything that wastes your time and make use of all the time-saving initiatives that you can find.
- Join or create a supportive community. People who are going through the same thing and who can give advice, provide solutions and act as a sounding board.
- Take time for yourself. We often feel guilty unless every second of outside work is spent with our kids. Speaking personally, I was always a much better and much more patient Mum when I had time for myself to practice yoga or catch up with friends over drinks.
So, if you’re a mother, or you’re thinking of your future and the future of your family, these are all points of consideration that need to be taken into account. It can be a frightening, disheartening, and isolating to go it alone without an experienced guide to lead you through it, and that’s where we come in. Here at Women in Fashion, we know what it is to be a mother, a businesswoman, and an individual all at once, and we have much more to offer you than the talking points of a single article. Take a look at our 1-1 mentoring courses here or reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about what we can do for you.