I've just returned to full-time work after eight years at home, caring for my two boys. That’s a long spell in the wilderness, wiping snot and being forced to watch The Wiggles!
Before motherhood beckoned, I was a career high-flier, earning the same as my husband, managing a team, and getting opportunities to travel the world. I say “was” because that might as well have happened in another life. You see, in the eyes of your typical employer, as soon as you make the decision to spend some time as a stay-at-home mum, you might as well wipe out your skills and experience like wiping chalk off a blackboard.
There are so many highly-talented women out there, taking low-skilled jobs or not returning to work at all, because employers fail to recognise their worth, and won’t be flexible to allow them to fit work around their family commitments.
Me? I suppose I got lucky. Lucky enough to get a job on half my former pay. But with training in new skills that interest me, and which I believe I can build on. I have to prove myself all over again. Starting afresh at 40 is an interesting experience. But listen, I’m not bitter. Nor am I saying mums deserve special treatment. But if she’s qualified for a job – and you’re able to give her a little wiggle room – this is why taking on a mum might just be the best investment you ever made:
She’s never ill - There’s nothing better for building up an immunity to germs than being knee-deep in mucky toddlers. And besides, after so long in a job where there’s no option to take time off sick, a mum doesn’t take to bed with the sniffles. If this woman coughed up a lung, she’d shove it back in and continue with the job at hand.
She has no ego - She’s all about getting results – not accolades. Her life is now about putting the needs of others first. There’s no posturing or looking to be top dog from this lady.
She makes lemonade - Not literally. But you know the old saying: “When life gives you lemons…”
Provide limited resources and impossible schedules and she laughs in your face. Welcome to her world. She still gets things done – and wonders what the hell everyone else is complaining about!
She chooses her battles - Petty squabbles are not her thing. She’s spent enough time dealing with them, and knows not to get involved in office dramas. She’s aware of when to go in all guns blazing – and when not to sweat the small stuff.
She’s eternally grateful - As her workmates are dreaming of a life of domestic bliss, she’s been there and knows it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. You’ve saved her from a Groundhog Day of soft plays and soiled nappies. And she won’t forget it. She’s so enthusiastic to be back in the world of grown-up conversation and cappuccinos, if you asked her for a kidney she’d give it to you.
She wears many hats - Ever heard an employee whine "but that’s not in my job description." You won’t hear it from her. At home she’s a personal assistant, nutritionist, peace envoy, budget manager, stylist, chauffeur, party planner and so much more. This woman rolls with the punches. If she can do it for you, she will.
To find out more about Donna White, visit her blog Mummy Central. Follow her on Twitter @mummy_central, Facebook and Google+.