As a newbie to the whole working mum gig (7 months to date), I think I can proudly say I’ve kind of got the hang of it now. And it hasn’t been easy. I still have those days where you may find me crying at my desk because I feel like a horrible mother for leaving my screaming toddler behind at childcare pleading at me “mummy don’t leave”. Or those days where you have barely had 4 hours of sleep because your children take it in turns to wake you up from a fever or a cough and you have to be “on” for the next morning’s very important business meeting- ahh yes those days are not even numbered.
Regardless of the challenges that motherhood or being a working mum has thrown at me, I feel more empowered than ever. It’s the feeling of accomplishment. I am a working mother who is devoted to her children but is also passionate about building her career. I have FlexCareers to thank for that.
Here is my story.
Before I was a mum, I was an energetic, highly ambitious and career-driven woman. I was in my dream job. Human Resources, top tier construction company with the most inspiring manager and working in a team I could only dream of. I was kicking goals and loving it. Then I fell pregnant with my first child Sienna and spiralled headfirst into the world of motherhood. I can only describe motherhood as a reality check. It was not about me anymore. Gone were the days where I enjoyed the luxury of pushing the snooze button (yes you read right- luxury) on my alarm. In fact, I no longer need to set an alarm because my children wake me before the sun comes up. Sleep was something I used to dream about (pardon the pun) and meals consisted of left over scraps from my kids lunches and eaten on the run. I must have been doing something right though because 18 months after Sienna was born I gave birth to my second child Tahlia. It wasn’t too long after that that my hubby & I started discussing my return to work.
I was sceptical at first and I must admit I had my insecurities. What if I wasn’t good enough? What if my skills were so outdated that I couldn’t perform in my role (after all it had been 3.5 years since my last job), was my motivation/goals/aspiration still the same or do they even exist? Which company was going to understand me now as a mother who works and give me the flexibility that I needed? Motherhood had become my security and joining the workforce again was something that left me feeling anxious.
Then one night as I was scrolling through Facebook, I noticed my ex-manager (who I have a great relationship with) tagged me in a post. It was a job ad for FlexCareers. I vividly remember it. HR Advisor, Western Sydney, 3 days a week, flexible options. TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK. ‘Should I apply for it?’ I kept asking myself. What have I got to lose. FlexCareers founder Joel McInnes was fantastic. He replied within minutes. Within a week, I had lined up an interview with the CFO of ITS PipeTech. Things were looking up. First item on my agenda – buy a new suit!
I joined ITS PipeTech – a pipeline rehabilitation & Construction Company based in Seven Hills in June 2015 as their sole HR Advisor. What drew me to this business was the culture, the acceptance and diversity and forward thinking nature in that they sought out to employ a working mother. I had a new purpose, never taking for granted a day’s work, and having new found appreciation for what I left behind at home.
I’m so grateful to have my ideal flexible work arrangement within a wonderful organisation where my contribution is valued. You can too. This is what I have learnt on my working mother journey (so far!):
- Know exactly what flexibility you need to make your life work (and enjoyable!)
- Seek out organisations that embrace flexibility and organisations where you want to work
- Register with FlexCareers, select ‘Looking for return to work opportunities’, and be the first to hear of suitable flexible roles and programs
- Focus on your strengths and what you have gained whilst navigating motherhood and not what you think you have forgotten. It all comes back!