Welcome to Flexi Mamas, a series about barriers for working mums. This edition features Sarah, who’s in her late 30s and is from Poole in Dorset. She’s married with a daughter aged six and has worked in digital marketing for a property company for almost 11 years.
Sarah always wanted to return to work after having her daughter.
“I’m definitely not cut out to be a SAHM and was starting to go a little bit stir-crazy. I needed to use my brain and get away from Cbeebies for a bit!” she said.
When it came to childcare, she was lucky that both her parents and her husband’s parents were able to help out.
“I went back to work part-time when H was 8 months and didn’t have to put her in nursery until she was 2. At one point we were paying £400 a month for 2 days nursery a week – definitely couldn’t have afforded full-time childcare!
“I asked my employer for part-time hours and he agreed to let me do three days. I managed to persuade them to allow me to do two days in the office and one from home, even though they weren’t keen on me working from home.
“As H got bigger I did three days in the office, then extended it to four, and now she’s at school I work every day but shorter hours so that I can be there to pick her up. I think it helped that I had been there for five years when I went on maternity leave so they knew they could trust me to get work done at home.
“My employer has pretty much let me choose my hours around my daughter (within reason). It was important to me to be able to pick her up from school so I do this four days a week with one long day where she goes to after-school club. She also goes to breakfast club so that I can start work at 8:30 and get more done.”
According to Sarah, the biggest thing that could help more mothers return to work is more flexibility around hours.
“Being able to pick your child up from school and go to school events is a big deal when they’re small, and I imagine many mums choose not to work because they can’t fit it in around their kids. Flexible working also allows mums with kids of nursery age to work from home occasionally and have less childcare costs to pay out every month.
You can find out more about Sarah on her blog, or on her social media channels:
Have a story about your own struggles with flexible working – or how you found the flexible work you needed? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.