Supporting parents when starting a family and beyond
I have worked in the Recruitment industry for the last 15 years. During that time I have worked my way up from Trainee Recruitment Consultant to Talent Director and gained exposure to agency and in-house settings, as well as SME and FTSE 100’s. I have seen and experienced all the high’s and low’s and everything in between and am still as passionate about the industry as when I first started.
Up until the last few years, I was someone who was able commit to being as flexible as needed in the interests of giving 110% to my job and career, and that hard work and dedication definitely paid off. But when my husband and I decided that we wanted to start a family I knew things would need to change. I was working for a FTSE 100 retailer at the time and as starting a family wasn’t proving to be as straight-forward as we had hoped, I realised I was going to need to seek flexibility from my employer to support me through the IVF process we were about to embark upon. I was lucky and received support above and beyond what I expected but I know now not everyone is as fortunate as me and not having this support from your employer during every part of this journey can ultimately be so detrimental to someone’s commitment and loyalty to their employer. I’m convinced without the support I received, we wouldn’t be in the fortunate position of having our miracle baby boy today and I will be forever grateful to my employer for that.
The support and flexibility doesn’t end there though, it continues throughout pregnancy, during MAT leave and finally during that scary period of adjustment when you have to go against all your natural instincts and tear yourself away from your little bundle of joy! For me, alongside my keeping in touch days, I received private coaching sessions to help me think about and plan for my return to work to make it as ‘painless’ as possible. Now this doesn’t mean it made it a walk in the park! It was still a difficult, emotional and, at times, a really scary time but I know these sessions definitely helped me to more confidently make that return to work and to see the positives of the whole process. Unfortunately, my biggest disappointment came in that it wasn’t possible for me to return to my previous role in a part time capacity and I faced the difficult decision of returning full time and continuing to build my career with a company I loved or to seek a part time opportunity that would better support my new family commitments but may not help me to achieve my career development objectives in the future. Essentially, leaving me feeling that I had to choose between my baby or my career.
Shortly before my return from maternity leave I was lucky to be approached by my previous employer, an SME business, who could offer me both a part time role with the flexibility I needed as well as an incredible role that would continue to progress my career opportunities. Despite being very sad to leave my employer, especially after all the support I have received throughout the journey to that point, it was a ‘no brainer’ in the end – it just ticked all the boxes. Seven months in and I couldn’t be happier. I am definitely still adjusting to balancing a challenging and busy job with my new ‘Mummy’ duties but I am getting the support I need both at home and work to help me on this journey.
My own experience has left me so passionate about the support all parents should have when starting a family and beyond, to ensure they have choices and aren’t feeling that they are being forced into deciding between being a parent or having a career. So, when I heard about Louise and her vision for The Daisy Chain I knew it was a company I wanted to support and be involved in, and I am delighted to join the Board of Advisors to offer help and advice to the growing community where I can.