20 August 2019 | General
Going back to work after my maternity leave was never a question in my mind prior to the coming of my first child. After all, my work was more than the (albeit important) matter of finances. It provided a mental stimulation that I thrived upon and was part of my identity. What some people mistakenly believe to be a 3-month holiday turned out to be a hazy time filled with sleepless nights and blurry days flying in a never-ending cycle of baby feeding, changing and soothing.
When the time came to go back to work, I was torn between guilt over abandoning the baby care to other people who would not care for him as I would have and missing important chunks of his life, relief at finally having some baby-free time and worry over how to manage all the responsibilities of work and family life.
Achieving a work-life balance in the modern fast-paced working environment can be something of a feat for most of the working population. But for most working mothers, balancing work and responsibilities as parent can be even more daunting than a tightrope balancing act.
It is undeniable that women still carry most of the family’s mental load. As a mother of 2 small children, I am usually the one in charge of ensuring healthy meals, keeping track of doctor’s appointments, sorting out the pick-up and drop-off schedule, making sure homework is done, organizing the grocery shopping, staying on top of the kids’ clothes needs, never letting the house run out of toilet paper, just to name a few.
Most mothers recognize that the key to being able to integrate everything in a life that works for her, her career and her family is flexibility. I have been fortunate enough to obtain this much sought-after flexibility while working at finctax.
Flexibility can come in different forms: working hours that are convenient as opposed to the standard 9 to 5, the possibility to work remotely or the possibility to work the number of hours needed to get the job done even if this results in less hours than the standard 40-hour week
It is sad that most employers in Mauritius are yet to recognize that advocating a work culture where people are allowed to flex to meet the demands of their lives is the smart approach. Staff will still be held accountable and high performance expectations set but they should have choices about how to structure their lives to meet them. Employers need to trust their employees to manage their commitments while employees have to show that they can be trusted not to abuse these privileges.
Being able to have well-rounded professional and family lives will then not be the good fortune of a few certain people but a reality which every working person can achieve.