Challenges and strategies for mothers returning to work
Returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting experience for many women. Mothers may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of balancing work and family life and concerned about maintaining their goals and professional development. However, with the right support from employers, family and friends, mothers returning to work can successfully navigate this transition.
In this Q&A with Christina Sotherden, Client Services Director at Jumar, we will explore the biggest challenges that women face when returning to work after maternity leave and the useful resources and networks on offer to create a supportive work environment for mothers
1. What are the biggest challenges that women face when returning to work after maternity leave?
Returning to work can be overwhelming after spending the best part of a year talking baby talk and listening to endless nursery rhymes! You do wonder ‘can you still do your job’, or even hold a conversation with another ‘grown up!’ The fear that you won’t be able to have a work/life balance can be consuming – you do think, ‘how can you have it all, a career and be a good mum’?
2. How can employers create a supportive work environment for mothers returning from maternity leave?
I am extremely lucky to have my manager Nick and the team at Jumar supporting me, they have worked with me on being able to do a part-time role for now which allows me to be there for my children. Throughout my time off, I had my keep-in-touch days which I was able to have my son with me as I had no child-care at the time, I was able to keep updated with how the market was performing and how my team were doing. Wendy, my CEO and Andy, CCO would message to check in and see how I was getting on. They always asked if I needed anything and I was invited and included in all company events.
3. What are some strategies for balancing work and motherhood after returning from maternity leave?
For me, it was important that I still get time with my children especially as I have no grandparent support, so both children attend nursery which is more expensive than my mortgage! Jumar supported this without hesitation and has reduced my days to 3 days a week. Jumar also understand on occasion the children are at home with me when I’m working and I’m not made to feel like it's an issue in any way.
I’m always honest with my clients if the children are here with me and people are so understanding and supportive. It hasn’t negatively impacted my relationships or the service provided. I think honesty is key and I provide the best service I can.
4. How can mothers returning from maternity leave stay connected to their career goals and professional development?
Use your keep-in-touch days if you have them. The odd check-in with colleagues and clients helped me feel involved with the market, my team and company!
5. What kind of support can family members or friends offer to mothers returning from maternity leave?
If you are lucky enough to have family members close by with the ability to look after your children, can take the pressure off in so many ways it can help with cost. It is nice to know your children are with family and friends as it adds a layer of security and a little less guilt for us mums!
6. What are some resources or support networks available to mothers returning to work after maternity leave?
You are entitled to 20% towards childcare costs no matter what your income of up to £500 every 3 months. From next year, the Government will offer free childcare hours from 9 months old, but the changes don’t happen until April and September, currently, you are only entitled to free childcare hours from the age of 3.
Sarah Wright, People Director at Jumar shares; Supporting working mums back into employment is hugely important for us at Jumar. There is a wealth of talent and experience at school and nursery gates every day, we want to give women the opportunity to come back to work in a supportive and flexible environment. The UK government are starting to recognise the social and economic benefits of mums returning to work after maternity leave and introducing schemes such as childcare support for babies from nine months. We absolutely recognise that working and balancing care giving responsibilities is not easy and that it’s primarily women who are adversely affected. Our policies and processes reflect our commitment. As an organisation, we will continue to try and remove barriers and grow our team to be a diverse representation of wider the society.