Today we’re taking a look at working mothers, and how often times, despite their enormous levels of resolve, they still face numerous, and systemic, challenges in everyday life. Working mothers are on average 40% more stressed than any other group of people, according to a report from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at Essex University, yet we see that they are still routinely discriminated against. Whether that’s people questioning their ability to work, or ‘small’ but inappropriate comments about their personal lives or appearance.
We spoke to Lenka Blaskova, marketing manager at Crystal Hotels (@crystal_hotels), to get a more in depth look at how it feels to be a working mother, and the challenges, disappointments, but also the rewards that comes with it.
Since my son Hendrix was born two years ago, my life changed considerably. Long gone are boutique hotel stays and pricey workouts in London’s gyms. Instead of that, I get my toddler drawing on the walls and filling up a travel toiletry bottle with play dough. I had never, in a million years, expected how active and creative he would be. When us women dream about babies, we picture them in adorable, and clean, clothing sitting quietly. This is far from the truth.
After my maternity leave came to an end, I decided to return to work full-time as my career in marketing is very important to me, and over the years I have worked hard to gain new skills and excel at my job. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Many companies, especially smaller ones, are not able to properly support mothers returning to work and they hardly realise how awfully stressful it is to leave your 1-year old child behind, especially after you’ve spent every single day and night with him since he was born.
You are expected to meet deadlines, deliver miracles on a limited budget, and smile like everything is just fine. Many times, I had about 4 hours of proper sleep as Hendrix was teething or had a bad cold. I did not want to mention anything to my boss as I was grateful for them allowing me to adjust my working hours slightly, otherwise it would have been impossible for me to return to work.
However, I was stunned by the attitude of some of my colleagues who questioned a small change in my working hours, not understanding my domestic duties of being a mother. A couple of comments were also made about how much weight I lost. Is it really anybody’s business? Unfortunately, some people make it their business.
I was also told by my new boss at the beginning ‘I thought you might have lost your brain during your time away but you are still with it!’ Good to know, I still have got a brain then!
The cost of the childcare and commuting fares are so high that it’s almost not worth it to go back to your desk, but most of us do it. Some of us return to work for a bit of sanity (yes, you do need a break from your child, and occasionally a large glass of wine too) and others do it to keep their job and career going. After all, we are not just mothers, we are superheroes juggling many different things every day, not having any time for ourselves but still managing to bag promotions and most importantly complete that never ending ‘To-do list’.
There is a long way to go for small companies to fully accommodate working mothers, but I honestly believe you do not need to be tied to your desk from 9-5 in order to be productive and creative. It is actually the opposite. Flexibility allows you to produce better work in a shorter period of time and that is really what we all want.
Thank you Lenka.