Welcome to Flexi Mamas, a series about barriers that working mums face. This week’s Flexi Mama is Bridget, mum to 2-year-old Emma and stepmum to 13-year-old James.
I used to work as a TV production manager before I had my daughter. I loved my job in TV and always knew I would return to it in some shape or form, when the time was right for Emma.
I had worked hard to climb up the career ladder and was in a good place with plenty of experience under my belt. There was only one downside to my maternity leave – the company I was working for couldn’t hold a position for me due to the nature of how TV companies work, so finding a new job felt like starting from scratch.
Last autumn, I received a job offer and it seemed like everything I had been wanting, and needing. Four days a week within a digital media team – perfect. I was so excited to be going back to work – hot coffee, decent lunch – but I had no idea that it would be so much harder than it looked.
Returning to work after maternity leave is tough, or at least it was for me. My mind was about 2 steps behind for a couple of months, and working in a digital team for the first time meant there was so much to learn. I even remember being in meetings and some of the tech jargon seemed like gobbledigook. Put this together with sleep deprivation – it made me feel like a complete imposter.
Over time I caught up, but then noticed that I seemed to be pushed out within the team for things that were completely out of my control. My contract was agreed that I wouldn’t work on Fridays, and yet several members of the team would make back-handed comments about me not working on those days. The resentment festered and I couldn’t help noticing the odd looks between other team members. This just wasn’t working.
As my happiness at work dwindled, the mummy guilt I felt at leaving Emma was really hard to cope with. What was I doing this for? I wasn’t being paid well and the nursery fees seemed to be increasing every month. I felt like I was disappointing all sides, never 100% present for either sides of my life. I’d either miss something at work as I had to collect Emma, or I’d be impatient and rushing for my daughter. I eventually realised that this job wasn’t really worth it and decided to hand my notice in.
When I left my role, I explained to my boss that I think the part-time role within the team needs to be reviewed. Either the role was too big to fit within 4 days, or the culture of the team just doesn’t allow for flexi-working. She didn’t agree with me at the time, but weeks later I learned that my replacement is now working full time so perhaps some thought went into it after the event.
Flexi-working is more than offering a 4 day a week role and expecting that member of staff to cram a full-time role into those hours. I’ve recently heard of other companies offering job sharing, so I think things may be changing slowly.
Since leaving my job, I have made the decision to work full time on my blog as well as doing social media management for independent companies in Brighton. I had been working at monetising my blog previously, but now I have time to invest in it, things are going from strength to strength.
Never say never, but I don’t anticipate going back to work in the same role again and have accepted that my priorities when it comes to work have completely changed.
You can find out more about Bridget on her blog, Bridie By The Sea, or on her social channels: