Challenges in corporate for returning mother

I just got the news, I am expecting. I was excited but did not break it to anyone in office yet but somehow people are very good in guessing. My manager called me for meeting and said, we are planning to release you from project.

I was shocked, Why? I got answer, we want to maintain the hierarchy at first.
I said, I need to go on maternity leave after some time so if you can delay release.
Yeah, that’s another reason for release.
Shocked again, I said no other project will give me opportunity now. Please see if I can work for few more months here. The only thing I had done earlier was good work and so I was positive.

I got extension and worked for something new till I went on Maternity. My Manager agreed for Work From Home option for last 15 days before I go on maternity leave. But it was not that easy as I had to return laptop every Friday & collect it every Monday. Sometimes, I worked for 15 hrs/day to ensure I complete all my tasks. I was about to go on maternity leave nearing the appraisal cycle. So, didn’t want impact on that as I had worked hard entire year.

Learning 1

One learning here, it doesn’t matter how much ever you work during your maternity period. Their expectation will never be fulfilled. So better take rest and enjoy the moment. Don’t stress about work. I always give this advice now to any new to-be mother.

Post Maternity leaves, another phase of challenges started. I was looking for project and didn’t want to return to that old project for sure. But somehow landed at same place but scenarios were completely changed. A new person had taken my position, my work. I didn’t get my role, I was asked to lead new team. I took it although I had no support initially. But I had my team and a laptop was given so was able to manage things at work and at home. Here comes a twist in story, manager called me up and gave me individual development role saying this would help me taking care of my family. I was surely not ready for this but no choice.

No team, no support system and moreover no laptop. Laptop can only be given if Client approves. Now the challenge was if I was well but daughter was not, I must take full day off. During that period my husband went to onsite for 1 month, I requested for leaving an hour early every day. I was not allowed work from home option or this option stating it is your maid problem, not a genuine one. I had maid for taking care of my small daughter as no other support system during that period. As my husband was not there I had to ensure to reach home on time. But these problems are not genuine.

Learning 2

So, another learning, even if you have spent 3-4 years in project. You shouldn’t have any expectation for support in such scenarios. Don’t go to your manager stating such kind of issues. The new individual role was forced to me, which I didn’t ask. But that was conveniently used for next year rating and promotions, stating you have not handled the team.

Ideally things should happen based on your work. This doesn’t mean everybody will face similar challenge, they might be lucky as well. Some women employee in same project were so lucky even after having maternity leave, they returned to same position and role. Even got promoted on time. So, if you are the one who plans out everything in life. Try to plan this as well.

Learning 3

One key thing which I realize now, and emphasis has been given now days is to build your network. It helps you to get the right things at the right time.

I know every mother can relate to this topic and most of us might have faced as well when we returned to work. There are many apprehensions in our mind as well as in our Manager’s mind whether they can get 100% dedication back from us. Many organizations have wonderful programs to ensure that returning mothers settle soon and start working as per their wish but what happens on the floor is little bit different sometimes, but stay positive. You have the power to cross all boundaries and achieve your dreams.

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