Welcome to Flexi Mamas, a series about barriers for working mums. This week’s Flexi Mama is Eva, who has a family of four with a three-year-old and a baby who just turned one. She lives in the suburbs of London and has always worked for hotels and other travel companies.
Before going on maternity leave with her first child, she worked for a hotel company and was responsible for the revenue of their hotels.
“It’s about pricing and contracting, lots of numbers are involved – but I loved it,” Eva said.
She wanted to go back to work after maternity leave, but didn’t want to go back to the same company she had worked for.
“They illegally asked me to resign before starting maternity leave, and of course I didn’t want to work with those people again,” she said.
“In the end, after attending a couple of job interviews in between children, when my first child was around 13-14 months old, we realised that given the childcare cost, the price of commuting (we live in the 6th London zone and therefore we pay the highest rate for the travel cards), I would literally earn money just to cover those costs. It just didn’t work.
“We were looking into paying £1400-1500 a month for 5 days a week from 9-5. But of course you need to be at your workplace at 9am and you don’t leave before 5pm. (Definitely not in my previous job.) I would say at least 40% less than that would make it justifiable.”
She suggested flexible working when commuting became hard when she was heavily pregnant, but her boss refused to support her.
“Even though I knew it was possible, because all I needed to do my job were WiFi and access to a few softwares, my boss declined my suggestion. So I guess his answer would have remained the same when returning after maternity leave.”
Eva struggled to find another job that worked around her childcare needs, citing long hours and the commute (both in length and price) as the biggest barriers.
“Of course, I didn’t cover it up on job interviews. I was totally honest – look, I have a very small child, I can’t travel, I can’t do overtime or logging in on the weekends. So I hardly ever got through second or third rounds of interviews.”
She would love to go back to work in the same field, but isn’t sure if it’s possible.
“I’d love to go back to the same thing, but I’m worried that I lost my skill set – I don’t know the newest softwares, trends, etc. I’m fairly open to do and learn something else, that’s why I started blogging too.”
You can find out more about Eva on her blog, Captain Bobcat, or her social media channels:
Have a story that you want to share as part of this series? Email me at email@example.com.