5 Mums On The Harsh Realities Of Working Part-Time While Parenting

The reality for many parents is that once your maternity, paternity or shared parental leave is over, it’s back to work you go.

With the cost of childcare being what it is (extortionate), some parents – often mums – are returning to work part-time after having kids so they can juggle both childcare and work.

Statistics from the ONS from April to June 2021 found women whose youngest child was aged between one and eight years old were more likely to be in part-time employment than full-time employment.

While part-time work is a key part of life for many parents, with the ability to spend more time with their kids being a huge perk, that’s not to say it’s all sunshine and roses.

Here, mums reveal to HuffPost UK some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

‘I was working full-time in fewer days’

“I worked as a fashion buyer for 18 years and returned to work part-time after having my first child,” says Sally Smy, who is 50 and based in London.

But she struggled because she found that, ultimately, she was still doing a week’s worth of work but squeezing it into fewer days.

“I found I was having to work lots of extra hours to get stuff done,” she says.

“They hived off a fifth of the money but not the workload. I would arrive at my desk early, leave late and still feel guilty.”

After her second child was born she realised it wasn’t sustainable to work this way anymore so she set up her own business, Queen Bee Styling.

“It was really hard to leave a profession which I loved,” she admits, “but I’m now a personal stylist and love what I do. So it all worked out OK in the end.”

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