Before I left for Paris I was working for a big transport company in London. I had a good job, a job that was challenging and rewarding, it paid well and was part-time, because of flexible working.
The set up worked because I job-shared. It was a win-win for us and the company. The company got two highly experienced professionals, between us we had around 3o years’ experience, and I had a job, and time to be with the kids.
I find it really depressing when I read statistics that say that 60 per cent of mothers living with children under 18, do not have access to flexible working. It’s two years since legislation was introduced giving parents the right to ask for flexible working.
This is why I am shouting out about the Digital Mums campaign #WorkThatWorks. The campaign highlights the lack of flexible working options for mums.
If you have a moment, check out their report. Even better, give it to your employer!
Flexible working worked for us
After we adopted our two kids, King of the Mountains and I decided to work flexibly, working part-time, so we could focus on our new family without compromising our careers. And thankfully, we had forward thinking companies that allowed us to do that.
While I took a break from contracting, King of the Mountains, took three months’ adoption leave, then returned to work four days a week. He did this for about a year.
After a year, when my adoption leave was over, I went back into the work, three days a week.
I didn’t go back to contracting. That does not work around kids. To be a successful contractor you have to be ready to pick up a contract straight away, and work five days a week. That wasn’t going to be a flexible option.
A previous employer got in touch, and I secured a good part-time role, eventually job-sharing a full-time post with another mum who wanted to return to work part-time.
It worked well, a well paid, fulfilling job and I got to spend time with the kids: swimming lessons, play-dates, picking up the kids after school and going to the park to hang out with friends. (Those things are important in a kid’s life.)
Flexible working worked for us, and it worked for our employers.
Now that I am in Paris, I’m on a sabbatical while King of the Mountains has a job here.
Me, I’m taking time out to look after children. But that’s two years out of the job market. And when we return, I’ll have to go back to work.
Funnily enough I want work that will fit around my kids. Just because my kids are older doesn’t mean they don’t need me.
According to the Digital Mums’ report: “Research found that over three-fifths of respondents (64%) felt that their skills and experience had been compromised in some way in order to find a flexible job that fitted around childcare.”
Work That Works campaign
Maternal unemployment is real.
According to Digital Mums:
- Currently, some 2.6 million mothers are out of the labour force, classifying themselves as stay-at-home mums (SAHMs)
- While for some of these mothers, staying at home is a choice, our research suggests that a much larger number would like to have the option to go back to work but feel their hands are tied because of a lack of flexible working options
- Almost 7 in 10 (68 per cent) SAHMs living with children aged 18 and under said they would go back to work in some capacity if flexible working around childcare was an option
As part of the campaign, Digital Mums has launched the #WorkThatWorks Movement, calling all businesses to support flexible working. And if they don’t, well look who’s missing out on talent.
Digital Mums know mums can be social media super stars!
Digital Mums, is a social enterprise co-founded by mums, Kathryn Tyler and Nikki Cochrane. Digital Mums trains mums to be freelance social media managers, kickstarting a new career so they can work around their family commitments. Let’s face it jobs don’t have to be 9-5 anymore.
I think I will be giving Digital Mums a call when I get back to the UK!