Your last day of work often can't come soon enough, you have worked hard to ensure all your work is in order to ensure a smooth handover, unless you are one of the lucky ones whereby a fixed term maternity cover has already started! You then embark on your maternity leave, which is a very personal experience, and one that should be cherished, however, this period is often tainted by the ever pending return to work. It has been my experience that parents fall into the following categories -
- Maternity leave has to be cut short due to financial needs
- Maternity leave has been life changing but career is calling
- Maternity leave has finished and they want to?? return to full time employment
Regardless of the length of time off, returning to work after maternity leave is often met with a myriad of emotions, many of which have the potential to become overwhelming when not addressed. And in all of the cases I have dealt with, most returning parents are requesting flexible work arrangements - hence the "want to??"
In a 2014 article featured in Harvard Business Review, Hilary Pearl reflects on the surmounting pressure that many new mothers face: “When you’re a new mother, it feels like everyone wants a piece of you -- literally, figuratively, and emotionally. Add physiological changes, a lack of sleep, and hormonal fluctuations into that mix and it’s easy to understand why returning to work after maternity leave can be one of the most fraught, challenging, and stressful times in a woman’s life.” Despite the fact that many women have similar postpartum experiences, Pearl goes on to note that women in the workforce often keep their struggles to themselves.
Returning to work may "fix" your needs, however for many, especially those who are in the midst of building or maintaining their careers, there are a number of barriers, such as the unwillingness to seek advise, asking for support and the lack of time. The number 1 barrier, however is the internalized belief that women should be able to handle the trials and tribulations of motherhood, work, relationships and keeping house with ease!
At Maslow we are embarking on a journey, we are challenging the old thinking of 9.- 5, we are asking business owners WHY they so easily let talent slip away, we are helping them to see how adopting a different mindset to flexible working arrangements secures their IP that's held by talented returning parents and creates a positive and rewarding career move forwards for the returning to work parents.