"Women are more likely to exit the workforce, or have intermittent patterns of work, for reasons, such as childcare and sometimes caring for the elderly," said Josephine Teo speaking in Parliament in March as then Second Minister for Manpower.
For many new mothers, returning to work after spending time looking after the family will generate complex emotions from fear, anxiety, helplessness, excitement and the dreaded mum guilt. Not only have they gone through a life changing experience – but are preparing to return to the workforce as a completely different person with new priorities and outlook on life.
At half the sky we are passionate about raising greater awareness about workplace challenges faced by working mums in Southeast Asia, and the many issues they face in returning to the office after maternity leave. Juggling both work and family, is not an easy task – and gets even more difficult if you work for an organisation that doesn’t provide a supporting environment.
Our team has shared three tips on how new mums can manage the transition back into the workforce:
Negotiate for flexible work arrangements
“Women are expected to work like they don't have children, and raise children like they don't have a job.”
Society has changed immensely in so many ways for women and millennial mothers, in particular, who face a different environment than their mothers and grandmothers. They are perhaps the first generation of mothers who are more likely to go to work than stay home with their children. Companies are also rapidly changing, they are not all stuck in the stone ages of workplace norms, many more companies are realizing that offering workplace flexibility allows them to retain and attract the best talent. So be open in communicating your needs for flexible working arrangements, far too many working mums feel guilty and unfortunatly made to feel this way by immediate mangers - but dont compromise on your need for flexible working arangements which can only be achieved if working mothers are open in communicating their needs to their employers.
Seek help from people around you
When you are a busy mom, you should seek help from as many people around you especially family and friends who will act as your first layer of support – but it’s also important to build a second layer of support at work -for example, learning from other working mothers to learn from their experiences and to perhaps implement some of the things they found helpful into your life can be extremely useful.
It takes time to get back into the swing of things
Have some patience with yourself - both at work and at home. It will take you some time to get adjusted to your new life, and you can't expect that you will be able to nail everything right away.
About half the sky
half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.
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