Before the birth of my two litttle darlings, my career path all seemed clear and easy and combining it with children would be a breeze. I was a senior associate in a law firm and clearly the next step up in my mind was partnership. Obviously if I had children then it would take me slightly longer to reach partnership but it was all just a matter of time. It would be easy to find the right childcare to fit around my responsibilities at work and between my husband (also a lawyer!) and I, we would still have plenty of time to spend with our children and work on our careers!
Ha ha ha! I think I must have been living in cloud cuckoo land! Seriously what was I thinking? I don’t think it was just a case of having rose-tinted glasses on, more like a total blindfold. Needless to say, having had two children, I’m not a partner in a law firm. In fact I no longer work in a law firm. It was hard going back after daughter number 1 to concentrate enough time on my career let alone as much time as I wanted to spend with her. My priorities just weren’t the same any more and although I’m the type of person that likes to give 100% to everything that I do, I just couldn’t clone myself to be the career orientated professional on the one hand and the focused dedicated mother on the other. I felt completely torn so I looked at my career and had a serious rethink.
18 months later and I have a new career and a new focus but I wish I knew then what I know now; that actually with a bit of flexibility and the right information, I could have made it work so much better for me. If I had really thought about what flexible working meant and talked it through properly with my employer and if I had really considered all of the childcare options available maybe I wouldn’t have had to make that difficult decision. Hindsight is a great thing and maybe this was what I was always meant to do but I wish I had had the chance to make a choice!
That said, we at Parental Choice are going to focus the next week on flexible working and how to help mums and dads out there make it work for them. We have some great guest blogs coming up and lots of advice and information on how to combine.
To kick it off, please read my article today in Guardian Careers entitled “Balancing Work and Family Life – what are the options?” – http://careers.guardian.co.uk/balancing-work-childcare-costs
It would be good to hear your thoughts as well on this topic and what has or hasn’t worked for you. DO let us know.
- How many mothers fully understand their rights when returning to work? (parentalchoiceuk.com)
- I enjoyed my job, it’s a pity it cost me more than I earned (neverknowinglyundercommitted.com)
- London parents pay 20% more for childcare than rest of UK (standard.co.uk)