We just love hearing from our fabulous members and feel extremely proud when you reach out to share how Circle In inspires you every day. This latest email comes from Monika (not her real name) who, after baby #number2, found the confidence to take control of her parental leave journey and ask for flexibility in her role. And we are thrilled to tell you that she got the result she was looking for!
At Circle In HQ, we were all immediately struck by Monika’s amazing story, her openness, and ability to look for the positive in a challenging situation. Her email is a reminder to always value our worth, both as parents and employees, and of the power of our circle.
I just wanted to get in touch to express my appreciation for Circle In.
I’m currently in the process of returning to work after my second round of parental leave, and from the moment I found out about Circle In about a year ago, it’s been a great source of information and support.
In 2015 I was feeling so stressed about going back to work. The whole experience was very challenging. It seemed like I was the only person in the world to struggle with it the way I did. I felt like I was simultaneously failing at work and failing my family. I remember desperately googling ‘I hate being back at work after a baby’ in tears at 3AM, and there was so little in the way of good, relatable advice or articles. I also recall saying to my husband, ‘There needs to be some sort of support resource for mums going back to work’. I did find ways of coping and got through it, but it was a steep learning curve and I felt so alone.
Thanks to Circle In (and being a bit older and wiser), this time around I’ve had the confidence to actually ask my manager for some changes to my role, and we’ve worked together to utilise keeping in touch days to make the transition back easier. I’ve chosen to take a side step (actually a backward step) so that I’m not managing a big team and can work three days. There was an interview recently on your site with a woman who made a similar choice and just when I was questioning my decision. It reinforced that I’d done the right thing for my family at this time in our lives.
Knowing that there are so many other women in the same situation, dealing with the juggle, facing the same issues and supporting each other, has changed my whole mindset.
Instead of feeling isolated and hopeless, I feel like I’m part of something important. We are normalising flexible work and proving that with a little bit of innovative thinking and understanding from our employers, working parents can contribute so much.
These days, whenever a colleague is about to go on parental leave, even if I don’t know her well, I get in touch to let her know I’m happy to have a coffee when she’s back, just to chat about how she’s going. My workplace is male dominated, which makes it even more important that women returning to work feel valued and supported. I always recommend Circle In, and I know it’s been utilised by many friends and colleagues.
Thank you, Jodi and Kate. You’re providing an invaluable resource that has made such a difference to me and my family.