Ok, so I have recently made it common knowledge that I am expecting my first child later this year. It was weird telling everyone and to be honest still doesn’t feel real to me. It got me thinking though about how I will balance being a good mum but also continuing with the work I do and love. I want to blog about my journey exploring these issues and would love to hear others views too.
Since I made it public and have shared with people that I will probably only take a few weeks off, and then ease back into my work from there. People’s reactions have been right through from supportive to horrified. I think it’s a really personal choice but for me just because I choose to get back into doing meaningful work not long after having a baby, doesn’t make me I am a bad mother or a workaholic it just makes me a person with purpose who wants to continue to peruse that purpose alongside my new purpose of being a parent. Everyone needs to make the right choice for them and I am lucky working for myself that I am able to work flexible and can do a lot of my work at times that work for me not a set time slot that has been set down by an organisation. Imagine if more workplaces could give parents, carers and well everyone more flexibility. We know though it isn’t happening at scale.
Then I got to think about how I might be feeling if I was still employed in an organisation where I felt frustrated and unfulfilled. The narrative then would probably be, well I need to work out the maximum amount of time I can have off. This wouldn’t necessarily be because I would want to parent any different but more because the stretch, challenge and purposeful work wouldn’t have been there, so there would be no rush to return. This isn’t saying that everyone who chooses to have the maximum amount of time off is doing it for this reason, this is just where I think I would have been, if I was in that situation.
For me I want to redefine maternity leave, if that is the right term for it at all. I want it to work for me, my baby, my family and my work. I want my husband Toby to have quality time with his baby too as well as it’s grandparents who are all retired and I want them to always learn from an early age its ok to love your work as well as be loved by your family.
So, how it will work in practice is yet be decided but I have commitments in my diary that I want to and will meet not too long after they will be born, so I will figure it out as I go. I will be blogging along the way to share what I am thinking and how we are working through things. I think that if we can think different about how we support mum’s and dad’s to work and spend quality time we would get so much more from them in the workplace as well as giving them the space to bring up happy and healthy children.
All views welcomed, there is no right or wrong answer to this, just a person chouce for each and every woman and family.