I am excited to share this interview with my good friend Claire. Claire and I have known each other for about six years. We met working together and have remained friends ever since. She was there when I was pregnant with my son in 2009 and as we worked together I feel like she shared the journey with me.
Now, five years on, she is embarking on her own journey to motherhood.
I asked her a couple of questions about how she planned for maternity leave to share here with all of you.
How did you work out when you would commence maternity leave and how long you would take off?
In the early stages of pregnancy, I found this decision really difficult and quite stressful. I confided in friends who had been through the process asking them for advice, numerous discussions with my partner and my manager. I budgeted for various scenarios and discussed options with my partner. Everything went around in circles for a bit until I finally made a decision. I made my decision based on both on financial and career reasons. Knowing, I would want to spend as much time as possible at home and being a mother is going to be my number one priority, however, my career is still important to me and I did not want to lose touch.
I had 2 major events that I was organising at the end of my pregnancy, which I enjoyed and wanted to see out so I decided to work full time up until 36 weeks and then cut down to part time until 38 weeks.
I found this a fantastic transition into maternity leave and being about to finalise everything at work. It also allowed me to keep busy along with some down time leading up to my due date.
How early did you advise your workplace?
I asked my manager to meet for coffee at 10 weeks and told her then. I work very closely with my manager and having being through pregnancy herself, she already had an idea and could pick up on signs.
Have you planned a return to work date?
Yes – I have planned an initial return to work date but also have planned to meet with my manager monthly for coffee to stay up to date with what is happening at work and how I am tracking.
Do you plan to go back full time or part time?
I plan to go back to work for 6 months part time and then returning to full time work the following year (6 months mat leave, 6 months part time and then full time).
What process did you go through with your workplace to arrange maternity leave and return to work arrangements?
I openly and honestly discussed what I would like to do with my manager and we had various conversations about what would work best for the business and myself. Once a decision was made, I put everything in writing and gave this to my manager with specific dates and what I was expecting to do.
How did you prepare for the arrival of your baby while working full time?
I made sure I had free weekends to be able to prepare, organise and relax. My partner is a teacher so he was able to spend the school holidays preparing the nursery early on in our pregnancy which made it easier for us to prep.
What advice would you give other mums to be planning their maternity leave?
Be open and honest with what you want – continue to update your workplace and what you are planning to do and put everything in writing. Remember to look after yourself and your families needs first.
At one stage I was feeling quite overwhelmed with trying to work out what would be best to do, thinking about how the business would react and working my plans in to what I thought would best suit them and my manager said to me – ‘everyone has the right to have a baby’. This was very reassuring and made me re-look at what I wanted to do and not compromise my family. You still need to be open and flexible and willing to update and change your arrangements… to a degree. YOU and YOUR family come first.
Claire is a writer, blogger, mentor and career-advice-giving-educator. Claire does so by using her own experience, diving into the world of many fabulous careers. Claire helps guide you in your careers, giving advice, delving into what you are actually good at and applying that to your role, and most importantly giving fuel to your passion and desires.
Claire is a marketing professional in the corporate world. Her role is to implement strategically aligned marketing and communication strategies and functions and working with the executives to drive the business development activity. Claire is a professional mentor and has mentored many young inspiring women to developing their careers and building on their desires.
You can find Claire over at whiteblankpages.com.au