I often get asked, if I miss being at home with my daughter when i am at work and i can honestly say that its the most difficult question i have ever been asked.
I have worked at Dreamtek for just over 10 years now, 3 of which i have been a working Mum. I am one of those very lucky people who can pick their phone up and FaceTime to see my little ones big moment if I can’t make it, or pop on a Google Hangout when she’s giving her grandparents grief for a good telling off! But most importantly, she comes to see me at work occasionally and thinks the shredder is the most amazing thing ever. #coolestthingatmummysoffice
Dreamtek give me the flexibility to be a working parent at its best. If you are an employer with staffers with children I would encourage you to give them some flexibility, as Richard Branson said “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. Its that simple.”
I think most parents go through a battle when they come back to work, Am I still dedicating enough time to my child? Am i good parent? Are they missing out because I am not at home? I think the worst part about being a working parent is, there isn’t an absolute answer.
The most important part of being a working Mum for me is to know, I can still be a good mum and have a career. The Guardian recently did an article on working Mothers and the effects on their daughters.
The Harvard study found daughters of mothers in paid employment have better careers.
Using data from 24 countries including the UK and US, the Harvard study says that while working mothers “often internalise social messages of impending doom for their children”, the reality is that their sons and daughters appear to thrive, with daughters benefiting most from the positive role model of a mother with a career.
This really made me think. Why shouldn’t Mummy go to work instead of Daddy? What would my daughter think of me when she looks back on her childhood? Would she be proud of me for working hard to provide her the life she has had or would she resent me for not being there? I think the article by the Guardian hits the nail on the head.
“Whether moms or dads stay at home or are employed, part-time or full-time, children benefit from exposure to role models offering a wide set of alternatives for leading rich and rewarding lives.”
The bottom line is, we now live in a world where mostly, both parents need to work on some level to support a household, particularly when there is more than one child. If my daughter is provided a better quality of life because I work then thats a good thing surely?
So here’s a couple of ways I try to be a Career Mum;
- Keep it separate – When I am at work its all work and at home I don’t do any work until my daughter is in bed. My colleagues know this and unless its an emergency we keep it this way. There is a clear distinction between work time and home time. Thats not to say I don’t read my emails in bed!
- I make allowances for being a parent – If i need to pick up my daughter or need to arrange something, its ok. Everyone has kids! Everyone knows what sick kids, naughty kids, kids forgetting lunch boxes, doctors appointments, feels like! So don’t beat yourself up just because you have to step away for an hour. Most of time you make the time up anyway.
- Listen to your kids – My daughter is 3 and she already knows what she wants, ( just like her mother.) If your kids are telling you they haven’t seen you or want to spend time with you, then you have probably been on your iPhone for too long! make time to spend with them and play. Its important to have play time as much as work time.
- Celebrate success – Its ok if you are doing well in your job and enjoy working. I have friends and family who have nearly killed themselves (and their kids) to stay at home for the full 9 months maternity. If you don’t think you can do it or want to go back to work, Go back to work! If you are happy, its more likely to have a positive affect on your kids. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying your career. Realising this set me free.
- Don’t hold back – This is something I have really learnt in the last 12 months. Just because I am a working Mum, does not mean i can’t succeed. #AimBigandSucceed
I hope to any other working Mums or Dads out there who might be feeling guilty or looking to come back to work after maternity have found this helpful.
At Dreamtek we love to dream big so I hope you all can too and make those dreams a reality.