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Maternity leave: managing the guilt of returning to work

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Published by: Olivia Brown

16th January 2014

Citymothers‘ founder Louisa Symington-Mills has written an enlightening piece for the Guardian’s Women in Leadership explaining how she manages the guilt of returning to work following her maternity leave. Louisa describes how her excitement of returning to work in a new position is overshadowed by the daunting prospect of juggling her personal and work life, along with her worry for the children that are left at home.

So how can parents ease the transition of going back to work and leaving their children at home? Louisa quotes her husband saying, ‘take him to work with you’, when she expresses her doubts about leaving her son at home, which is becoming an increasingly popular possibility in the workplace. With a quarter of women in the UK not returning to work after maternity leave, resulting in significant recruitment and training costs to companies, a number of businesses are investing in company childcare schemes. The article also presents a problem with local childcare for working parents, as office hours can often be long and inflexible. Some parents ease the transition by working flexible hours, such as the women in the Timewise Foundation’s Power Part Time list, or by undertaking positions that enable them to work from home.

However, as Louisa explains, the heart-wrenching guilt of leaving your child at home can only get better with time. She says, ” I was tempted to say that the guilt fades but actually, I’m not sure it does fade, more that routine and practice mean I am able to handle it better as time passes”.

Do you have trouble leaving your child at home when you are at work? Have you struggled with childcare options in order to better your work/life balance?

Share your experiences and advice here, or join the discussion on Twitter – @Dutyfy #DutyfyDiscussions

Read the article in full here.

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