Going Back to Work after Maternity Leave was Easier Than I Thought

I don’t mean that in the literal sense because obviously, I was boobs deep in sleep deprivation, hormonal changes, breastfeeding and every other exhausting by-product of having a newborn. 

But this was my second baby, so I was somewhat prepared. At the very least, I was aware that going back to work meant being pulled into many unexpected directions. I also took heart in the fact that I work for a company that does its very best to cultivate and retain a strong culture of support. Our CEO and Strategic Director have kids and understand what it takes to return to work successfully.

This is vastly different for other new mums. I know friends who returned to work only to find that their organisations don’t want to engage with them, either because they’re too afraid to give new mums work or – more alarmingly – expect them to work like they’re not experiencing the most life-changing event. 

The impact of this is staggering. A report by Ovia Health found that 34% of women did not return to their job after having a child. Another study from the United States found that 43% of female STEM professionals switch fields, transition to part-time work or leave the workforce entirely after having a child. The intangible burden on both stay-at-home mums and working mums are the same though: guilt, boredom, exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed. 

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the same doubts about returning—but I am incredibly lucky to work in a company that supports staff in finding the perfect balance between being a new parent and working. 

So, what does Mutant do differently? 

Found out my needs

Before I returned to work, senior members of the team checked in to enquire about my specific needs. I needed a private nook to pump—and so a week before my return the company set that up for me. It’s probably NBD for big corporates with dedicated pumping rooms, but we’re a growing business and it matters when the company creates something entirely from scratch for you. 

Progressive return policy

The first time I took maternity leave, I didn’t know what to expect and how I’d manage getting back to work. This time around I knew exactly what to expect, partly because of my first experience, but equally because of Mutant’s progressive return policy. Our Gradual Return Maternity Policy provides new mums with an additional four months’ staggered leave beyond the legally required 3-4 months – with full pay. So, when I returned three months after my son was born, I worked just 10 hours per week in that first month. It would be four full months until I was back up to 40+ hours. 

Flexible working hours

My older son goes to pre-school, which means he brings a ton of germs into our house and routinely gets the entire house sick. This means frequent doctor visits and work-from-home days. Fortunately, Mutant has a thriving flexi-work environment, which I fully maximise on days I need to stay home with the kids. And while it’s true I’ve taken more days off since becoming a mum, it has also made me a better worker. I’m now able to manage my time more efficiently by multi-tasking, getting to the point quickly and powering through my days.

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