Jane Barclay is a human resources manager for a leading holiday firm. She works part-time from home with occasional visits to the office.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
Two children, aged 5 and 4
How much time did you take off for maternity/paternity leave?
Six months first time and 10 months second time
Did you keep in touch with your job during maternity leave?
Yes – weekly phone calls and email contact with various managers and team members
How was the first week back?
Fine – I was very glad to be back in the ‘land of the living!’ – although the novelty wore off eventually and I decided I wanted to spend more time with the children as they progressed from baby/toddler to little children…
What kind of childcare do you have and are you happy with it?
Originally a full-time nanny which was fantastic, but now I work part-time from home so I have no requirement for childcare apart from help from family/friends when I visit the office every few weeks…
What has been your worst moment as a working parent?
I missed my son’s first nativity play at nursery due to work commitments…
And your best?
Every day coming in from work to see their little faces!
What is your typical working day?
I no longer work full time so I focus on getting the children ready for school and nursery from 7am to 8.30am then drop them off before coming home to do a few hours work on the computer/phone. Then I run around doing the housework, errands, preparing tea etc before collecting my son just after lunch from nursery then my daughter from school – then help with reading, a little homework etc before bath and bedtime! – much more preferable to rushing off to work in a suit after a two-minute greeting to our nanny, then coming home shattered at 6.30/7pm and rushing to get the children bathed and to bed before starting to even think about what’s on my domestic ‘to do’ list!!
How many hours a week do you work?
Since last March i have only worked about 10 hours per week – prior to that i was full time so 40/45 hours per week.
What do you feel, if anything, needs to change to improve work/family life balance?
I have the perfect balance now, and am even starting to find some time to do a little voluntary work – and when my son starts full-time school in September it will improve naturally even more!
Do you feel there is enough support/advice for working parents?
Probably not, but I respect that employers have to first and foremost run their business successfully – whilst it’s in their interests normally to have family friendly policies, I don’t think it’s the employer’s responsibility to necessarily offer more support/advice to parents if they already offer some… Online websites and helplines/ booklets put together by those with experience would be useful I would imagine.