Now take me to the end of maternity leave and …. argh! I was lucky (some might think unlucky) to take the full 12 months. As my return date approached I realised how much harder it is to slot back into work compared to the first time around financially.
With your return day looming you suddenly realise:
- The MASSIVE cost of childcare. My two kids in nursery is more than our mortgage!
- Compare that to your salary and working full time you might not even be covering it or barely.
- Your baby that you’ve spent the past year close to 24/7 is going to turn 1 and you’re going to have to put them into nursery to earn barely any £. Plus add some guilt when they scream for you at drop off. Meanwhile my toddler barely waves goodbye (she loves it!).
Note: I know there maybe alternate childcare alternatives but nursery is the one I am most comfortable with and unfortunately the most expensive for us.
What were the options?
- Return to your current job. As much as I enjoyed working at ITV it just wasn’t viable. Luckily for me there was no penalty for not returning. Other companies may make you repay some maternity leave.
- Quit and be a stay at home mum. This was not financially an option for us. I think my husband might be slightly relieved too as it can be a challenge at times and he’s the lucky one I vent to.
- Find a job that fits with our family and pays enough. And even more importantly that I am passionate about and see progresses my career. Ha, simples no?
Cue the mad search online for ‘part time’ ‘work from home’ etc… Plenty of dodgy get rich sites amongst some good part time job sites (Capability Jane, Timewise jobs, Working mums). The challenge is finding a role that fits with your career aspirations. Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be any product manager roles advertised and was difficult to find a recruiter interested in finding a part time role.
TIP: Although this was an accident as I thought the role said open to part time.
Apply for and reply to full time job opportunities that you are interested in and ask for the possibility of part time/flexibility. Also ask within your network.
The search hasn’t been easy but I was lucky to land a part time job that aligns to where I want to be in my career by applying for an advertised full time role.
During my search I also came across Digital Mums. I really bought into their vision. Signed up and currently on my journey as a social media manager. Challenging to find the time but rewarding and possibly will be the key to work/life balance as the kids get older.
It can be so stressful and I know so many other parents that have or are about to get to that return date. And make the difficult decision of what is best for the family.
Be interesting to know what your experience has been and share any tips!