Maternity leave is a complex subject, so let’s rewind a bit.

In 2020, the world was thrown into a total frenzy by COVID-19. I’d been working in the hospitality industry for years, but no amount of angry hotel guests or hectic wedding parties could prepare me for the coming lockdowns.

I was working part-time, juggling childcare with my toddler and pregnant with my second, and I wasn’t sure how I would return to work after my maternity leave with two children. I was furloughed during the first lockdown as being pregnant put me at higher risk and that rolled into maternity leave so I never returned. For all the paint-drying hours we were locked up for during lockdown, I got to spend time with my family that I might not have been able to have before.

Going back to the same job on the same terms didn’t seem like a good idea with the added complication of being a military wife and being moved 150 miles. I hit pause on work to focus on being a mum and wasn’t sure how or when I’d be back.

Returning to work as a mum

Fast forward to 2021, and I’m looking at a job offer in a completely alien industry in a role I’ve never tried. Outside of nappy shortages, the big snowball effect of the pandemic was the rise of remote work. Now more than ever, businesses were granting people mass amounts of flexibility so that they could work where they wanted.

That flexible working lifestyle prompted me to consider returning to work, but I wasn’t 100% confident it was for me. I loved working in hospitality – I’m a people person through and through. The idea of sitting at a desk with limited face-to-face contact did not fill me with overwhelming joy.

Still, I’m pretty open-minded and needed to find something to do while the kids were starting nursery. The stars aligned, and Marco, now Bamboo’s MD, was looking for someone to help him run the business operations as he got momentum going rebuilding this agency post-pandemic. We already had a friendship outside of the workplace, which massively helped us define my role and determine how I could contribute to the team.

I’m not tech-savvy or a born marketer, yet there was a space for someone to help drive the wheels of the business forward while everyone else stayed focused on delivering stellar client work.

I joined Bamboo part-time, and over the last two years, I’ve navigated work and family life better than I initially imagined. Working from home meant I was available, and Bamboo’s flexible and caring nature meant I never felt pressured to put work ahead of my family.

Where do I go next?

If I’ve made it sound like a breeze to get to this point, it wasn’t. Motherhood never is. I didn’t take an ordinary maternity leave because I didn’t know when I would want to go back to work.

Now, as 2024 begins to roll around the corner, I’m getting ready to take the next step in my career. I’ve loved working in my role to support Team Bamboo, from client events to our team building days. But what else can I do? Through all the school runs and cameos from my kids on Teams, I’ve reached a point where I felt more confident to take on new challenges.

I’m currently training for a new path at Bamboo, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me. Coming back to work felt daunting, but motherhood isn’t a sprint. If you’re getting ready to return to work, don’t just be kind to yourself, be patient. Trust me, you’ll figure it out.

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