How to be a successful career woman while being a hands-on mum

It doesn’t have to be either or, you can pursue your career and still manage to be the mum you want to be

Can having a successful career and being a hands-on mum go together?

Is it possible to have a career and balance being the mum you want to be?

Mum multi tasking with baby

Absolutely! Whether you work full-time or part-time, you can still have that close relationship with your little ones. Like anything in life, to achieve it you may need to make a few compromises along the way.

If you are a full time working mum, it may be unrealistic to think you will be able to attend every nursery event, so try not to sweat the small stuff. Prioritise the most important things you want to attend. 

Parents meetings for example are often followed up with notes that the nursery can email to keep you in the picture of administrative type stuff and perhaps you’ll have to limit how much time you give to volunteering to help out. But don’t worry, cake sales and school fayres still benefit when you come along and spend to show your support!

Be clear what goals you want to achieve in your career and as a mum. For example, if a particular promotion involves studying, you may feel more able to look at that when your child is older whereas being there to pick your little one up from nursery every day might be your immediate priority. 

If you’ve worked in your current job for at least 26 weeks, you have the right to request flexible working and your employer has a duty to consider your application, but be aware they're not obliged to accept it. 

Flexible working options you can suggest include:

  • Working part-time: working fewer hours per day or fewer days per week.
  • Home-working: working from home for some days or all week.
  • Compressed hours: working your agreed hours over fewer days.
  • Staggered hours: different starting and finishing times.
  • Flexi-time: flexibility over how you work, outside a set of core hours.
  • Job sharing: sharing your job over the week with a colleague.

If you work full-time while your partner stays at home discuss how it will work so you can spend quality-time with your little one when you get home. Something like you do bath and bedtime while your partner cooks dinner can work. 

If you work the same hours, perhaps decide on sharing housework and other chores so you equally get quality time with the little ones. 

Ultimately it’s about finding the right balance for you and your family.

When you’re back at work do plan regular meetings and reviews with your line manager.

A weekly update helps you get back in the swing of things and is a useful, informal way of checking in on what’s working well and raising any issues early. It’ll also help you present yourself as committed and proactive.

In the medium to long term, a free an objectives setting meeting in your first couple of weeks back and review them with your manager in a couple of months’ time when you can also discuss your future career path.

Don’t forget to think about how you can use the new skills you’ve learnt whilst being at home. Your ability to multi-task and creative problem solving has just been tested to the max outside of your pre-baby comfort zone, so think about how you might now do things differently in the workplace too.

How to be a successful career woman while being a hands-on mum