Zoe was made to feel ‘difficult’ for being mum who worked
It’s not easy for mums returning to the workforce
New mums are often eager to get back to work. But with that comes huge changes in terms of work-life balance.
Actress Zoe Saldana is one high-profile mum who was surprised by the attitude of her employers when she tried getting back into the groove.
An in-demand star, the mother of 18-month-old twin boys Cy and Bowie was amazed by how she was made to feel when she discussed babysitting and her new situation.
She said: "The tone changed in the negotiations. I was starting to feel that I was ... difficult [for babysitting to be] considered a perk. No. This is a necessity that you must cover for me in order for me to go and perform my job.
“The fact that there are women working in these studios - and they’re the ones [enforcing] these man-made rules.
“When are we going to learn to stick together?" Not all mums want the Alist treatment, and it’s hard to imagine many expecting babysitting to be covered. But the situation does highlight the issues of returning to work with a new set of priorities. Helen Farmer is an editor, broadcaster and founder of popular Dubai-based parenting blog The Mothership (themothershipdxb.com). Mother of 17-month-old daughter Phoebe, she’s got a lot on her plate. And she couldn’t be happier. “It’s hugely difficult,” she says. “However, many working mums need to return to their career for financial reasons, or they really enjoy professional life. Since becoming a mother I feel like more of an asset - productivity is through the roof, I’m more focused. It has made me better at my job.”
New parents soon discover that they need to be much more flexible when it comes to their little ones, in terms of vaccinations, doctor visits and nursery runs.
Unfortunately. others may not share such a progressive view of proceedings. But Ceri McVittie, a life and executive coach at Your Absolute Life (yourabsolutelife.com) urges employers not to be narrow-minded in their approach to staffing and recruitment.
A new mum herself, she has worked for a number of companies who have family friendly policies, but knows many are still behind the curve.
She says: “Some companies have the attitude... ‘you chose to have kids so it is your problem’ (but) flexibility is required when you are a parent’.
“Always talk to your employer, if you need extra flexibility you should ask. If your employer is not open to discussion, is this the kind of place you want to work? It is not just mums. Parenting isn’t a 9-5 and, it is important companies help support parents as part of a diverse workforce.”
Helen agrees: “Mums have an enormous amount to offer the workforce, and employers in the UAE need to update their ways of thinking, such as more flexible working conditions so they can work from home or in the evenings, should the industry or role allow. I just wish more employers realised the value in employing mums.”
WONDER WOMAN: Actress Zoe Saldana (inset) found out that employers aren’t always understanding to parents