Returning to work from maternity leave can be daunting in any situation, in a matter of months you have changed your world completely! I’ve had two maternity leaves since July 2019 and coming back this time in May 2022 – compared to 2019 feels like the entire universe has changed. The last couple of years have been extremely difficult for working parents and I feel extremely lucky that I’ve had an excellent support network and very understanding bosses, with children themselves! There are many benefits to the new working norm – however there are still many obstacles to get over in order to return to work!
Being on maternity leave, I was very much sheltered from the job uncertainty that many people had during the first lockdown and therefore I am able to look back with quite a positive perspective. I feel there are many more benefits now to my working life and I am able to juggle being a mother to two small children with work effectively. As with many offices, ours has adopted a hybrid, working from home / office, structure and we have also streamlined many processes, for example becoming totally paperless, that not only benefits our working practices, but the planet too!
From a personal perspective, I have found returning to work a joy! I love working; it provides me with a sense of self, something that is easily lost when becoming a mother, and I feel I am a better and more patient parent because of it. I feel I am more efficient at work too – no time for procrastinating when there are two children that need picking up from childcare!
Now we just need the government to look at childcare for under 5’s – at the moment, for more than three quarters of working parents, childcare costs are more than rent or mortgage costs – this makes it a privilege to come back to work from parental leave and causes poverty issues for parents unable to return to work. I am extremely lucky that along with nursery, my parents are able to help. This is not the case for most people, and this has a knock on effect for parents returning to the workforce.
At Bain and Gray we are advocates for returning parents, and being one myself I can absolutely confirm this!
Further reading on childcare stats: https://pregnantthenscrewed.com/one-in-four-parents-say-that-they-have-had-to-cut-down-on-heat-food-clothing-to-pay-for-childcare/