Much easier second time round but not without its challenges

General Details
Working mother
Type of leave:
Number of years professional experience:
11-15 years
Length of leave:
13-18 months
Type of experience:
Work pattern on return:
Flexible full-time
Message I have found returning to work after my second child much easier than after the first because I can use the experience of my previous return to ensure things work as I want them to. I have the confidence not to feel guilty about leaving early a couple of nights a week to collect my daughter from nursery and in my mind I have set the boundaries for what I am prepared to accept in my working life so that there is not a material adverse effect on my family life.

I live by three rules shared with me by a former colleague:

1. Be ruthlessly organised
2. Outsource all non-core tasks
3. Become significantly less conscientious where at all possible

So I write endless lists and get the kids’ bags ready and lay their clothes out the night before; I have a cleaner and do pretty much all my shopping online; and I spend far less time worrying about whether my internal emails to colleagues are phrased perfectly.

Life with two kids is obviously more hectic than with just one so my goal now is to put in place some “non-negotiables” – like taking my son to school at least one day a week and making sure I get some quality time with my husband.

This return has also not been without its challenges. I was told the week before I came back to work that extending my maternity leave by three months meant that going for promotion to partner would be delayed by a year and within five weeks of my return my new childcare arrangements were tested by working a 70 hour week.

Work/life balance is still a work in progress!
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