Welcome to Flexi Mamas, a series about barriers for working mums.
This week’s Flexi Mama is Hayley, who writes over at Devon Mama. She started blogging when she was pregnant with her son, who was born in 2016. She was on maternity leave from her role as a procurement director and wanted something to keep her focused over the time off – not that having a new baby wasn’t a big enough challenge in itself!
She always knew that she wanted to return to work after having children.
“I work for my family company and have been there since I was thirteen and working Saturdays,” says Hayley. “I’ve worked hard to get into my position and prove myself – I was adamant that becoming a mother wasn’t going to stop that.
“We’ve been really fortunate with childcare as my mum has my son one day a week, meaning we only have to pay for childcare for the remaining day and a half. It’s expensive and definitely a factor when we start thinking about expanding our family further.
“I’m fortunate that the wage I bring in covers the cost and more of that care, but I still think it’s a lot. With that in mind, I genuinely don’t mind paying the fees – when I break it down, it come out to less than £5 an hour. That’s for them to pay staff, have a great environment for my son and keep him entertained. It’s cheap really!
“I do believe there are still issues surrounding the government support for working parents. The 30 hours a week is a great incentive, but it’s still only for 3-4 year olds and it pays the nurseries a minimal amount. To me, it doesn’t help encourage people to get back into employment and makes it harder for parents to afford childcare; nurseries have to cover their costs from somewhere when they’re not being funded the full amount for ‘free’ spaces.”
Hayley currently works two and a half days a week – though in reality, it’s far more.
“My official hours are two full days in the office and then six hours at home on a Monday. When I returned to work I moved positions sideways, relinquishing some elements of my role and increasing the content marketing side that I’d created the year before. It’s allowed me far more flexibility as I can work from home in the evenings, answer emails during the day on my phone and come into the office as and when required.
“There is still a balance to be found – we’re working hard to embrace flexible working, but it’s difficult for those who aren’t working flexible hours to see the work that we do in the same way. They don’t see the half hour I put in before my son wakes, the time during naptimes when I’m proofing and correcting briefs, the organisation that happens each evening or the emails that I answer when I’m meant to be playing with my son. It’s hard trying to get that across and sometimes can be frustrating but we’re getting there! “
So…what’s the biggest thing that could help mothers who want to work?
“Support,” says Hayley.
“I work with a couple of other women who work flexibly whilst their little ones are small. They’re brilliant examples of how flexible working can work. From my experience, you get less ‘face’ time with them but just as much output as a full-time worker due to them being focussed during their time in the office. We need to start supporting mothers who want to return to work, whether that’s full time or part time. A little support really does go a long way to encouraging loyal and ridiculously hard working members of any team.”
You can find out more about Hayley on her social channels: