I was late to motherhood, like many women of my generation. Encouraged by my parents who wanted all of their 4 children to achieve all they could, I prioritised study, a good job and travel before getting married and starting a family. So I had a successful 13 year career in Marketing in Financial Services before I had my first child at the age of 36, and then twins three years later.
I stopped working at around 30 weeks in my first pregnancy. My job was really important to me. I loved working; I was a high achiever. It was a massive shock to go from working ALL the hours to being a mum with no option to return to work.
At the point when I found out we were having twins my husband and I discussed that perhaps my career break might be a bit longer than we originally expected. This was certainly the case when we looked into the cost of care for three preschool children. It was really confronting as I had assumed I'd be able to continue my career and help build our family’s future with my husband.
As it turns out, I was not able to return to the workforce until the twins started school. I then found a part-time role two days a week but COVID ruined my plans for ongoing employment. I sadly had to give up working after only six months when I was hit with the responsibility of guiding my twin 6-year olds through their first two years of school as COVID restrictions saw us remote-schooling our kids for the best part of 2020 and 2021. My employers tried to be flexible but balancing work with the demands of home-schooling twin six year olds - plus amusing them, keeping the house running and my mental health in check, all while in extended lockdown, was impossible.
I am now 10 years out of the workforce, and while I have been central in my children’s lives and an active member of my community I am light-years behind with my superannuation, and I do not have the secure financial future I once had.
I am actively seeking work at the moment. I've retrained in community services as it better reflects my personal values and priorities since having children. I have nearly finished a Diploma in Community Services and I did a Grad Cert in Applied Mental Health last year (I'm doing the Grad Dip this year too). I'm also part of Future Women's Jobs Academy which is helping women like me get back into the workforce.
I'd love to have been able to continue my marketing career, but I would have needed flexible work options, childcare that was affordable and convenient/adjacent to work (which was only in Melbourne’s CBD; working from home was not a thing at all back then), and my husband to have flexibility too so we both could have taken responsibility for the kids. As it was, I took the hit while his career went on as if he never had kids.
If you would like to share your story please email Maddy at [email protected]