Dr Chiara Hunt and Marina Fogle, founders of the Bump Class in South Kensington, talk about juggling work and babies
If all the challenges motherhood throws at you, guilt is possibly the hardest to deal with. And the guilt that comes with being a ‘working mother’ is often harder than any professional task.
Motherhood changes women profoundly; the ambition and love of a challenge they took for granted are tested in a way they never anticipated. Many mothers have no choice and have to return to work, but for most, working makes them happy, balanced and fulfilled – and the biggest winner in the whole scenario is the baby.
It’s important to spend time and money on getting your childcare right. Start thinking about what will work best about three to four months before you go back – nursery, childminder, nanny or nanny share? And spend as much as you can afford – think of the money as an investment in your children.
Persuade your employer that flexible working hours will work for both of you. Many mothers will only consider returning to their job with a degree of flexibility – either working from home part time or three or four days a week. Employees have the right to apply for flexible working once they return from maternity leave. While it does not have to be accepted, any application must be seriously considered and there has to be a business justification for any refusal. Don’t be shy of “bigging yourself up” and make sure you outline how you will manage your workload with your proposed hours. If you can show what you are proposing will work, then it will be difficult for your employer to say no.
Take a focused look at your week and all the things you are doing and prioritise the most important. Remember you simply cannot do it all! Use technology to speed things up (Ocado or Amazon) and outsource anything you can (ironing, cleaning). And remember, even if it’s just an hour a week, leave time for yourself.
There is no such thing as the perfect mother – so focus on doing the best you can. You could set up a Whatsapp group with your nanny and your partner and ask her to send photos and videos of your child during the day. When you are together, savour every precious moment. Switch the mobile off and give your full attention to your child; an hour of quality time is worth more than five hours of distracted time.
thebumpclass.com | Photography: Helene Sandberg