A woman. In her early 30s. Knocked up. I mean, that’s the three big advertising no-no’s right there. I was done for. Or was I? Writes Claire Becker, Copywriter at BBH London.
It’s a thing. And I’ve got it.
I’d read so many horror stories about babies destroying women’s careers – that I was fully expecting my baby to do the same;
Motherhood is a significant driver of the gender pay gap, as women tend to have babies in their late 20s and early 30s, just as they’re approaching their career peak, and find that employer inflexibility limits their options
But it’s 2019 and no-one should have to choose between their career and their kids. So I marched into my boss’ office armed full of sass and stats fully prepared for a fight when he said no to my flexible working request of 4 days; 2 in the office, 2 out. He didn’t. He said yes. He thought it was a great idea. I thought – where’s the catch? Aha! They’ll definitely leave me out of things. I bet I get all the crap briefs because I’m not in the office all the time.
My colleagues will 100% resent me. I bet they’re all talking about me and saying I’m slacking off.
‘You’re not getting special treatment.’ said a colleague when I raised my concerns with him. ‘You’re just a mum; doing a job, and getting paid for it. No one is doing you a favour here.’ So, it turns out the world doesn’t revolve around me and my baby. As long as the work gets done and it gets done well, no one cares. I’m four months into my new flexible working arrangement and it’s working really well.
When I work from home I can concentrate without distraction. I am less stressed and anxious. I’m not wasting 3 hours a day (sometimes more) commuting and I’m not panicking about the nursery pick up and drop off deadlines.
Don’t get me wrong there’s been a few teething problems. Like the time my daughter was too ill to go to nursery and emergency grandparent backup couldn’t arrive for a few hours. I absent-mindedly answered a VIDEO CALL. Hair everywhere. Sick stained PJs on. Screaming baby in arms. It was an internal conference call I’d forgotten about. My colleagues could see me in full MUM MODE when I was meant to be working. I’m still dying from shame to this day.
Overall, however, I’ve come back to BBH with a fresh outlook and new resolve to smash it and make my daughter proud. I’m now balancing two jobs that I love (can I call mothering a job?) and with both, I get to be creative every day. I can’t help but feel like they complement each other. In fact, I’ve already been able to use some of my newly acquired mum skills to good use in my day job and vice versa.
It’s not so bad out there in Baby Land. I mean, sure – there’s a load of poo, snot, tears and vomit – and I’m so goddam tired and antisocial these days. But you just learn to adapt and adjust.
I’m not just a mum. I’m much more than that. And that’s what’s special.