Claire Crompton from The Audit Lab points out why hiring working mums is a good business move.
I’m a mum. A mum of two actually, having just had another baby. A little girl, thank you for asking. And I co-run my own business, a digital marketing agency called The Audit Lab. I work as much as my home will allow, and this year we even hired another new mum who was looking to ease back into work when her boy was eight months old.
Now many companies stuck in the dark ages would scoff at the idea of taking on a new mum; giving them flexibility from the get-go even when they worked on a part-time basis. They’d quote the “risk” involved with last-minute reasons to leave early, frequent phone calls and schedule changes to suit childcare. But not us, because I get it.
Businesses can sometimes see mums and new mums as a problem. They’re either thinking about babies, having babies or looking after babies; too busy to work, and their career is over the minute those two little lines appear on the stick. Right? Wrong.
As a mum myself I understand it all. The worry of stretching maternity pay, the anxiety of getting back to work, and the excitement too, and then the guilt. The ever-present mum-guilt. Having dealt with all that myself, I wasn’t going to let my business become a place where women didn’t feel as though they could have a career and family at the same time.
So listen up. Here’s five reasons why you shouldn’t shy away from adding mums to your payroll. Even if they do have to dash for the school run.
Mums who are looking to return to work are highly educated, and I don’t just mean they have a degree. While many will have a Bachelors or even a Masters, there’s a lot more to being educated than that. Not only have we worked our way up the ladder before we had kids, but that drive and skills are still there just waiting to jump into action.
And if you think staying at home is easy – whether it’s permanent or maternity leave – then you should try it some time. Staying at home with your child means that you’re responsible for a whole other person, as well as looking after yourself, balancing the running of a house and all the other things that go hand-in-hand with the life of a grown-up. And for that you need two things: brains and the patience of a saint.
Take it from me and the mums I work with, it takes a great deal of dedication to leave the house every morning and go to work. ‘Mum guilt’ is real, and it’s everywhere. The very fact that we are sitting in an office doing our work, giving up time with our little one, shows that we are incredibly dedicated to the business.
Part-time opportunities and flexible working don’t come along that often, despite progress being made. Even now people can only ask for flexibility if they have been working at a company for 26 weeks, and the company only has to consider the request – they aren’t obligated to grant it.
So when flexibility does come along, where new mums can contribute financially and still be home for bath and bedtime, they seize it with both hands. And that, in turn, sparks a loyalty that no six-figure salary can buy.
When you’re a mum, your time is like diamond dust. It’s precious and it’s incredibly rare. You don’t just have yourself to think about; more often than not there’s three or more people’s schedules in your head, along with the complicated requirements of a family and a personal life rattling alongside.
Something happens when you give birth, or at least me and my fellow Audit Lab mums have found. We suddenly become seasoned experts in time management. Gone are the days of meetings for the sake of it, umming and ahhing over a project. Mums think things through quickly, organise logistics and get it done, without a single complaint.
Leading on from this, because our time is so precious, we know that we have to put all our focus and effort on the task at hand. When we’re at work, we are really at work. Although we may work fewer hours, there’s no room for scrolling social media or chatting about Game of Thrones. In fact I’ve seen our mums often have a working lunch at their desk.
Mums don’t have time to slack off; they’re on a time limit, and are dedicated to getting things done in those minutes. We have the ‘mothering’ instinct. We’ve all heard of “baby brain”, right? And while myself and fellow parents can confirm it’s not a myth (unfortunately), it’s also not the key-forgetting, leaving your phone in the fridge memory lapse that old wives’ tales will have us think. Science has repeatedly shown that a woman’s brain chemistry changes once they have a baby, most notably with a flurry of increased activity in the right side of the brain – the part that is related to emotions.
But this present from Mother Nature isn’t just great for bonding with our new babies, it can actually transfer to our working lives. The ability to listen, create loyal and close teams and nurture one another’s ideas are all traits that modern-day leaders really need.
I hope that’s given you something to mull over. Next time you’re in an interview or handling a flexible working request, see beyond what may be outside the norm and see the talent underneath and what the interviewee can do for you.
We may be mums, but it’s not all we are. Underneath it all we’re hard workers, dedicated, loyal and ready to graft. Just with a little extra coffee, that’s all.
*Claire Crompton is Director of The Audit Lab. Picture credit of some of The Audit Lab team.