By Eloina Rodriguez Gonzalez
Is it realistic to believe that working in consultancy and being a mom is possible?
It can be easy to believe that going back to work after a full year of maternity leave will be simple and to expect that everything will flow as naturally as it did before. I am a mom of two beautiful girls who need a full-time mom as well as a full-time Sr. Consultant at Groundswell. So, how can it be possible to be a full-time mom and a full-time consultant?
I don’t have a straight answer for you because I think every family is different. What I can say is how important it is to be supported by your company. Groundswell has made this ‘back to work’ process as smooth as possible, and my Manager works closely with me to ensure I get the support I need. What exactly does this support look like, and how I’m surviving this process?
A couple of weeks before returning to work, Groundswell’s People and Culture team (P&C for short) got in touch to discuss my current vacation balance (yes, you accumulate vacation time during maternity leave!) and how I wanted to use those days. I could choose to extend my maternity leave for a couple of weeks, or return to work and use that vacation in the future. I decided to take Fridays off for the first two months to have some transition time with my girls. I was also allowed to return full-time or part-time. I decided to return to work full-time since both of my girls are attending daycare, and I am comfortable with our situation to spend 40 hours at work.
Flexibility for Working Parents
Flexibility is fundamental for parents! We have to have flexibility because you never know: when your daughter is going to puke and have daycare ask you to keep her at home for 48 hours (true story); when you need to take them to the doctor; or when there is a power outage at daycare so no- one may attend that session. As a working parent, flexibility is a key to success in both roles. Groundswell gives me that flexibility, allowing me to manage my schedule to sort out all these unpredictable events. As long there is open communication between Managers and Teams, flexing time to accommodate home and work responsibilities is possible and successful.
Normalizing Working Parents
Since I joined Groundswell in August 2020, I have noticed the effort put in to normalize and make life easier for working parents. Many of my colleagues have children, and in recent years there has been an increase in people starting families. Groundswell recently made a Slack channel so parents can share their daily challenges, stories, and tips, ask questions and send memes about being a parent. This channel is an amazing way to connect with parents and help them realize that they are not alone in this exhausting but rewarding journey!
I believe that today, families don’t have to sacrifice an income to become parents like they may have had to do in the past or may still have to do in other countries around the world. Companies are now shifting their mindset to give all parents, not just the moms, the same opportunities and flexibility. Some work still needs to be done to find the right balance, but I’m pretty sure we are going in the right direction.
Working parents are real-life heroes juggling kids and work and need support from employers to happily and sanely succeed in both roles.
You can learn more about some of Groundswell’s policies that support parents here.