In a week where we have heard the shocking report from The Women and Equalities Committee that the number of expectant and new mums forced to leave their jobs has almost doubled in the last 10 years to 54,000 the government has suggested urgent action is needed to stop discrimination. Um, yes, I should say!
This is something I hear about all the time from my ‘YogaBump and YogaBub’ mums in the local classes I run. Often underhand and manipulative ways in the office to make pregnant women and new mums feel vulnerable, incapable, and ‘out of the working loop’, kind of an underhand bullying. This can lead to mums giving up work of their own accord to make happier lives for themselves away from negative office politics and depressing working situations. This is simply so sad.
Up until I had my first baby 11 years ago, I was working as a television executive, I was pretty ‘Big Cheese’. When I left to have my baby I was on a one year contract, so there were no awkward conversations, I was simply ‘out’. My company did take me back part time, as a consultant, but it was on less pay. Fair enough in a way as I didn’t want the responsibility I had before, so it worked for all of us. But I knew I could never go back to being an executive part-time, and travelling up and down to London, so choices had to be made.
It’s my sons seventh birthday today and this correlates with my total change in life. It was when I was pregnant with Sam I decided to pivot my life, my career and do something completely different, mostly because I knew staying in my old job would mean I would never be able to get back to my professional status, and as much as working part time as a producer is a great job, I saw it as a kind of step backwards, and I’ve never been good at that.
Decisions we make as new mums are tough. We have to accept differences in our lives, in our career, and we do have to make hard choices as to which area we are prepared to fully commit our lives. As much as nannies and boarding schools are good for others, it just wasn’t right for me.
Indeed, for argument of good balance, there are some employers who make it easy, women who can carry on in their chosen jobs and careers, feel their worth, and I even know of some new mums who have been promoted whilst working part time. This is excellent. Work / life/ mothering balance will always equal happiness and fulfilment for both woman, family and employer.
But to those women for whom their ‘going back to work life’ isn’t quite so cosy… I say this… Remember your worth. Say out loud, “it’s your loss!” and refocus. Success is always the best revenge. This is an absolutely brilliant time in your life to stop, rethink, rebalance and train in something you really want to do. It wasn’t until my brave sister-in-law had her baby that she figured out her life, worked really hard, supported by SureStart when she had no money, she did her GCSE’s, A ‘levels, even a first class degree at our local city college, and now has a great job and a life she enjoys. It took her 6 years, but she did it! Who knew for me 7 years ago that a course in massage therapy would lead to me running two successful complementary health businesses and doing something that I love, get well paid for, and fits around the school runs! Never forget, new mums. You Can! Life doesn’t stop, in fact it has just begun… Go Get It!