Article provided by Claire Crompton, Director and Co-Founder, The Audit Lab
My name is Claire, and I’m a working mum.
A working mum of two, actually, having just had another baby. A little girl, thank you so much for asking.
I’m not just a working mum. I’m director and co-founder of a digital marketing agency called The Audit Lab. And it’s this combination that I want to talk about.
I work as much as my home life will allow. That may mean some days in the office, some days at home, some weekends sat at a laptop and answering emails while doing the night feeds. But just because I’m juggling a baby and an almost two-year old doesn’t mean I’m any less dedicated to my career. And just because I check my inbox after 5pm doesn’t mean I’m any less of an amazing mum.
I understand the juggle that working mums face, and that’s why I love co-running my own agency. Because it allows us to step out of the dark ages that many companies are still stuck in, and take on new mums as employees. In fact, just this year we hired a new mum who was looking to ease back into work when her boy was eight months old. She now works for us four days a week.
Can you hear the gasps and scoffs? Hiring new mums isn’t something many companies would consider, even in 2019. They’d cite the “risks” involved with giving them flexibility from day one even when they work on a part-time basis, 5pm on-the-dot dashes out of the door, frequent phone calls and last-minute schedule changes. But not us, because I understand.
I understand it all. The worry of making it to the end of the month on maternity pay, the anxiety of getting back to work after so long, the excitement too, and then the guilt. The ever-present mum-guilt. Having dealt with all that myself, I wasn’t going to let my business become a place where women didn’t feel as though they could have a career and a family.
So listen closely. Here are four reasons why companies shouldn’t hold back from hiring working mums. Even if we do have to do the school run.
Mums are highly educated, and not just in the traditional sense. While it’s true that many will have a degree or two hanging proudly on their walls, they’re also incredibly rich in life experience. Before we took time off to birth and raise small humans, we were working our way up the ladder, and all those skills are still there.
If you think it’s easy to be at home with your kids, whether it’s temporary maternity leave or a permanent decision, then I’m going to roll my eyes, chuckle and suggest you try it some time. You are responsible for a whole other person who is completely, and I mean completely, dependent on you. Not only that but you have to run a household, manage to-do lists, calendars, eat and maybe take a shower every now and then. To do all that you need the patience of a saint, and a brain.
Any mum will tell you this, but it takes a great deal of inner strength and dedication to leave for work every morning. ‘Mum guilt’ is the worst. Even just handing your small human over to another caregiver brings on pangs of heart-wrenching guilt. So the fact that we are sitting somewhere else doing our work when we could be with them, shows that we are incredibly dedicated to you.
Even in 2019, part-time roles in all industries and flexible working options aren’t common. The progress made is good but not good enough. So when the opportunity for flexible working does come along, where mums have the opportunity to get back into work, earn a living and still be able to spend time with their kids, they grab it and never let go. That, my friends, will spark a loyalty that no salary can buy.
A mum’s time is incredibly precious. You have to think about and balance so much. Routines, three home-cooked meals a day, doctor’s appointments, bills to pay, childcare arrangements, squeezing in a date night… And don’t forget to get enough sleep, reply to texts and do your kegels.
Myself and my fellow Audit Lab mums have found something happens after you give birth. We suddenly became able to fit hours of work into half the time. To-do lists that seemed impossible were not only do-able, but a complete cakewalk. We are now experts in time management. We said goodbye to meetings for the sake and debating over pointless details. Mums are able to think quickly, be organised and get it done.
We’re hard workers
And finally, because our time is so important, we having to put every single spare moment and every ounce of our effort and focus into the task at hand. So when we’re at work, we are really there. There’s no time for social media or banter, in fact we often eat lunch at our desk (leftovers, of course). We don’t have time to slack off, because come 5 o’clock we will be out of that door for bath and bedtime.
I hope that’s given you plenty of food for thought. So next time the opportunity comes to hire a working mum, see beyond what is the “norm”. Instead see the talent that lies underneath the surface, and figure out what you can do to get them on your team. You won’t regret it.
I may be a working mum, but that’s not all I am. I’m hard-working, loyal, and ready to put in the hardwork. I just need a little extra coffee, that’s all.