Have I ruined my career by going on maternity leave for 12 months?

 

 

There has been a lot of debate in newspapers in the last few months about the effect that going on maternity leave has on women’s career if it is beneficial for women to take maternity leave and how long they should take off.

When I found out I was pregnant I made the decision to take 12 months’ maternity leave from work as I felt that I would like to have as much time off with my baby as possible.

I have been reading a few newspaper articles online and a lot of them seem to give the opinion that going on maternity leave affects your career aspirations and chances of getting a pay rise.

“New mothers may struggle to get back into the workforce, earn less and be passed over for promotion in what has been described as a ‘motherhood penalty” [Daily Mail]

I found an article two weeks ago from the Daily Mail where a well-known top female lawyer advised women not to take a long Maternity leave as it risks your job.

“A top female lawyer known for championing women in the workplace has warned that new mothers risk losing their jobs by taking long maternity breaks.”

Is this really true? Am I risking my job by going on Maternity leave for 12 months? This has really got me worried because I find myself thinking what will I do if I go back and my role has completely changed or I have been demoted. Will I be able to work the same way I did and do they still expect the same level of work from me or will they think that I cannot work as hard because I have had a year off?

This lawyer in the article then goes on to explain that the maximum time that should be taken for Maternity leave should be 12 weeks. I don’t think I could have gone back to work after 12 weeks and left my baby with a nanny which is what she advises mothers to do.

“when a baby is born it needs to be fed, bathed and diapered.
‘An 18-year-old girl can do that. Your job is to get the money to pay the 18-year-old girl. When you have to be there is when the child gets smarter than the nanny.”

As much as I disagree with her advice I find myself sadly being able to understand the point she is making because I have heard of many stories when mothers go back to work after Maternity leave their role has been completely changed or they have been demoted or even pushed out of their job.

“Every year, 54,000 pregnant women and new mothers lose their jobs because of unfair and unlawful treatment by their employer. Laws are in place to protect women from pregnancy and maternity discrimination but a worrying number of employers are not complying with their legal obligations”

I have to confess that when I decided to go on Maternity leave I did feel like I was making a choice between my career and wanting to be a mother and in the back of my head I know that when I do return to work my role will no longer be the same, I know that some of my responsibilities may be taken away.

It is sad that in this day and age we still have to choose between having a career or a family why can’t we have both? Why do we have to sacrifice one in order to succeed in the other one?

Some employers would rather promote someone without a child because they feel that person is more loyal and more productive. A friend of mine told me that once she had advised her manager that she was pregnant her manager started treating her differently and that once she came back from Maternity leave her role had been given to someone else because she asked to cut her hours down and work part time so she could spend more time with her child.

She told me that before she went on Maternity leave she was at a senior level and had a lot of responsibilities but these were all taken away after her return and it made her feel like she was starting all over again. She also told me that she was always made to feel guilty if she had to take a day off because of her child was ill and she could not find anyone to look after her.

In the last few days I have been thinking about what I will do after my maternity leave will I go back to work or decide to stay at home if we can financially afford to. Or maybe I should look for a new job because honestly, I don’t think that my role will be the same if I decide to go back to work.

I just don’t understand why employers feel it is ok to treat women that come back from maternity leave differently, even though there are laws protecting us against certain discrimination.

What is wrong with a mother wanting to take as much time off work as she wants to so that she can bond with her baby and give them the best start to life.

I couldn’t go back to work at this point even though my baby is six months old I still feel that he needs me to be with him and I want to be at home looking after him.

Having a baby and taking a year off has not in any way affected how I work and how I do my job and I wish that employers would realise this and not punish women for taking maternity leave.

Thank you for reading

Mummy Bee

One Messy Mama
Mudpie Fridays

MummyB

Hello Welcome to my Blog. I decided to write a blog to share my experience and life as a new mum and more. I hope you enjoy reading it. Mummy Bee

  • Talking from experience this is a load of rubbish… I am just about to return after my second maternity leave and I am going back even stronger than after my first. Yet Ive taken off three months more this time round. Do not feel bad. You only get these moments once. You will make your own opportunities and once the business knows you can work just as hard if not harder as a mum then there is no reason why you will not get the same opportunities as you would have done before. Good luck, I am always around if you want to chat or have a wobble 🙂 #bloggerclubuk xx

    • Awww thank you very much for your comment, I am really hoping that I will still have the same opportunities when I go back to work and in the meantime I am making the most of my time with my baby. x x

  • One Messy Mama

    Here’s hoping that you don’t have an unpleasant experience going back to work. I agree with all that you have said. Enjoy the time with your little one. It goes way to fast! #globalblogging

    • Fingers crossed. Oh I am making sure to enjoy my time off with my little man.

  • It’s a pity that how you get treated by an employer after maternity leave can depend on personalities. I hope you have the best of luck. #BloggerClubUK

  • Jenny Brotherton

    Scary stuff but it might not be like that for you and hopefully you may be fortunate with your return.It’s such a special time that goes by in a blink of an eye,I miss it lots!Enjoy it and damn them all!#globalblogging -Jenny apply to face blog

    • I really do hope that its not too bad. It really has gone by so quickly I cant believe that 6 months have gone already and I am enjoying my time off with my baby.

  • Jeannette Wentzel

    I agree, It is sad how difficult it is for mom’s. Good luck with your way forward. #globalblogging

  • MadDadSkillz

    I’ve observed these concerns in my wife and then experiences them myself when I took the decision to take Shared Parental Leave.
    Maybe it sounds like I’m pushing my own agenda but I think SPL can go some way to helping. The more men who experience this break from work, and concerns that come with it, the more empathetic they will be when future employees tell them they are pregnant. I know it has opened my eyes to the professional concerns of a new mum.

    Good luck and remember, it’s only one year, it’s worth it. In the big scheme of working till you 65, it will be worth it.

    Good luck. And if they do dick you around…sue!

    • Thank you very much for your comment. I agree with you I think more men should take SPL as this will hopefully help them understand what it feels like for mothers taking time off work and returning to work. Sadly, it really does feel like I have to make to make a choice and it should not be like that.

      Don’t you worry I wont let them mess me about.