Working mums profile: Clare Dean

Clare Dean got her job as a Human Resources Manager for a Sales and Marketing consultancy based in Ascot through She describes her working life. 

How long have you been at your current job? 
I have been there for 4 months.

How much time did you take off for maternity/paternity leave?
I took 7 months maternity leave for each of my two children, aged two and five.

Did you keep in touch with your job during maternity leave?
Yes, I did keep in touch with my job, but really on a social basis only and occasionally I got calls for advice.

What kind of childcare do you have and are you happy with it? 
We have a fantastic childminder who we have had since our eldest was seven months old, five years ago.

If you have children at school, how do you cover the holidays? 

One of our boys is at school and the other is with our childminder when I am working so she covers all of the school holiday needs at the moment.

What has been your worst moment as a working parent? 
When going back to work full time after Oliver (now two) was born and realising that as much as we needed for me to work full time financially, I actually wasn’t able to devote to anyone ie my children, my husband, my job and myself – enough time and energy resulting in all areas of our lives being affected and me having to leave my job after 7 years (in post) to be able to readdress the balance and satisfy us all.

And your best?
Enjoying the best of both worlds – time to spend with my children, a great  and fulfilling job in a truly flexible working environment, more energy and less illness!

Do you work flexibly? Yes

What is your typical working day?
9.30am to 3pm 4 days per week

How many hours a week do you work?

What do you feel, if anything, needs to change to improve your work/family life balance? 
In an ideal world, I would work less hours.  When my youngest son starts school in 2010, I am hoping to work school hours, though, which will also mean that we will not need childcare.

Do you feel there is enough support/advice for working parents? 
I do feel there is enough advice about, but in reality everyone has very different needs as a working parent ie availabilty of flexible working, good jobs that are well paid – and there is an awful lot of indirect discrimination towards working mums in the workplace which can make it difficult to find work and be comfortable in the position.  As well, childcare is so very expensive and if your finances fall just a little over the threshold for working tax credits, regardless of all of your other financial committments including debts, it can be a real struggle.

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