SARAH MACONACHIE

WORK HARD PARENT HARD

Welcoming a new member into the family undoubtedly reshapes our lives, especially for parents who still want to have a career. The transition back to work after becoming parents is often challenging, as it requires reevaluating priorities, adapting to new routines, and finding a balance between professional and personal responsibilities.

When I returned to work after my first daughter the transition was a lot greater than I thought. I took a more junior role, a huge pay cut and suffered with intense feelings of guilt that my daughter was in daycare for days that were far too long for both of us. I didn’t receive any support transitioning back into the workforce and I was overwhelmed and torn between wanting to be a great mum and wanting to develop my career.  

I want to delve into the importance of providing adequate support for new parents returning to work and how it can redefine the purpose of parenthood in the workplace. Not only will this benefit your employee’s but as parents make up around 50% of our workforces, this can help to prevent turn over, and provide an increase in performance and results.

Embracing Change: Are You Providing Adequate Support?

When a baby enters the picture, the dynamics of our lives shift dramatically. As parents return to work, they face a multitude of changes in their professional and personal lives. Employers must acknowledge and address these changes by offering support systems that cater to the evolving needs of parent employees.

Flexible work arrangements and childcare assistance is an essential start to providing the support that is needed, but should we be stopping there? Providing support to new parents demonstrates an understanding of their challenges and a commitment to helping them navigate this significant life transition. Providing them with the tools they need to redefine what this transition in their life now looks like, what their purpose is now and what they need to make their career work for them and their family, is a large missing piece of the puzzle.

Redefining Career Priorities: Beyond the Nine-to-Five

Parenthood often prompts a re-evaluation of career priorities. Returning to work doesn’t mean reverting to the same roles and responsibilities as before. Parents may find that their priorities have shifted, and certain aspects of their previous roles are no longer feasible or desirable.

Employers can empower parents to redefine their career paths by offering opportunities for skill development, career advancement, and alternative work arrangements that accommodate their new roles as caregivers. Parents also need to have this awareness to receive adequate support from their employer.

Coping with Change: Providing Support and Tools

Parenthood is synonymous with change, and parents must continuously adapt to the evolving needs of their children. Employers can support their parent employees by providing resources, such as parenting workshops, and flexible scheduling options, to help them cope with these changes effectively. The greatest gift employers can give is providing tools to make permanent shifts and changes to parents thoughts and behaviours. 80% of our outcomes are based on our mindset and as humans the ability to change, have the confidence to speak up for what we want and need and how to push ourselves out of our comfort zone can make a dramatic difference in the performance and wellbeing of parents.

By investing in the well-being of parent employees, organisations foster a supportive work environment that promotes productivity, satisfaction, and retention.

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone: Working Smarter, Not Harder

Returning to work after parental leave often requires stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new challenges. Encouraging parents to adopt a growth mindset and explore innovative approaches to work can enhance their confidence and resilience.

Employers can foster a culture of continuous learning and professional development, where employees are encouraged to take risks, learn from failures, and adapt to change with resilience and determination.

Supporting new parents as they transition back to work is not only a matter of employee welfare but also a strategic investment in organisational success. By offering tailored support, resources, and opportunities for growth, employers can empower parent employees to thrive professionally and personally, ultimately redefining the purpose of parenthood in the workplace. Let’s strive to create workplaces where parents feel valued, supported, and able to achieve their full potential. If you would like to discuss this with myself and how I can support your organisation please don’t hesitate to reach out.

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