This weekend I went to a birthday party of a friend of mine and there were a few people there whom I haven’t seen for many months. The conversations at this party were very reminiscent of last week’s catch up with my ex-colleagues.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m showing – so there is the initial surprise and congratulations on my bump. Then is the question that I haven’t worked out how to answer yet – so, what do you do now since you have quit your high flying job?
As I haven’t quite worked that one out for myself being in limbo land, it’s a very difficult question to answer and I’ve noticed depending on the person I’m talking to, I get very varied reactions or facial expressions when I bumble out an answer.
So, what are you doing now? Well, I got married, travelled for a few months, got pregnant and relaxed at home for a few weeks, launched a website that has absolutely nothing to do with finance which I’m maintaining now and I’m thinking about going back to the workforce temporarily.
Depending on how I’m feeling at the time, the above answer varies slightly on what is included or omitted.
There are some wonderful people out there who say that my life sounds fantastic and very relaxing and express their wishes for doing the same thing (if only they knew that it sounds much better than it is). I then found the judging looks and comments such as, “but there will be a gap in your CV and how do you expect to get a job post maternity leave?” to be surprising and then concerning. Concerning because I’m now questioning myself again on what I should be doing with these next few months. Should I just forget my website and my ideas for new businesses and just go back to the workforce? It would help the finances in the short term…..
Here in London, I’ve heard mother’s comment that it’s very difficult to choose to stay at home full time or go back to work part-time after their obligatory 12 months maternity leave, not only because it’s hard work staying at home, can be lonely at times but also because in London it’s just not the done thing. You are judged for choosing this option. Even going back to work part-time is considered “lazy”. Even though I’ve heard, going to work is like taking a break.
However, just across the Channel, we have our Dutch friends who have quite a different view on working full-time. I’ve read a few articles discussing how the Dutch view part-time work for parents. Apparently 60% of women work part-time and this is therefore considered very normal.
Should other western countries take a leaf out of the Netherland’s book and encourage employers and society to appreciate part-timers or people wanting to start their own business at home?
Aside from the financial benefits of working full-time, what are the other benefits? Acceptance. Career progression. But what about working part-time? If we didn’t spend all of our money on consumer products or a large house that we want more than we need, is spending more quality time with our young children, having the time to relax and even doing things that you enjoy, better?
- Returning From Maternity Leave to Academic Family Medicine (stfm.org)
- Maternity leave breaches alleged (nzherald.co.nz)
- The Perfect Family Setup (itsadadslife.co.uk)
- Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? (NOT a tribute to The Clash) (techcommgeekmom.com)
- Don’t Lean In: Do We Want Mothers to Work Part-Time? (parenting.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Study: More Moms Want To Work Full-Time (minnesota.cbslocal.com)