Welcome to Flexi Mamas, a series about barriers that working mums face. This edition features Hollie Gregersen, owner of www.thriftymum.com. She has two boys only 14 months apart so has spent the majority of the last two years on maternity leave from my job as a buyer in the public sector.
Hollie couldn’t wait to return to an office environment after maternity leave, but she knew she wanted to start a new job rather than return to her old one.
“Caring for two under two is so hard and at times very lonely. I missed adult conversion and job satisfaction. I love my kids but sometimes it was just us in survival mode which would be like ‘groundhog day’.
“I would have preferred part time work and just used free childcare from family and then paid for one day in nursery, but to get a new job on my level of salary was impossible unless it was full-time work. There simply wasn’t a part-time option for me.
“We’re having to pay over £1K a month for childcare and that’s only for three days a week, but for two children and no free hours for another 18 months yet!”
If Hollie had stayed with her previous employer, she could have requested flexible working, but didn’t feel like she could when she moved to a new organisation.
“I’ve not been there long enough to put in the request and I was worried about asking for fewer hours at interview stage in case this put them off offering me the job over someone without childcare needs.
“There are not enough job opportunities on a decent wage in my local area, although I believe this is a national issue. I also needed to be near enough to my childcare provider in the event that one of my children was sick and needed picking up, as this would most likely fall on me rather than their dad as he works away a lot.”
So…what’s the biggest thing that could help mums who want to work?
“More jobs advertised as suitable for job share, rather than placing the emphasis on the employee to have to request fewer or condensed hours,” says Hollie.
“If you want to attract and retain talent, you need to have a realistic promotion route and that needs to cater for those with families as parents bring such a wide portfolio of skills with them just by being a parent.”
You can find out how Hollie earned more on maternity leave than in her regular job on her blog, or on her social media channels:
Have a story about your own struggles with flexible working – or how found the flexible work you needed? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.