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How employers can help mothers maintain a healthy work-life balance

Read: Women in the HR, benefits, pension and investment industries discuss work-life balance, mentorship and DEI priorities

“I was confused and frustrated at first. I’ve seen so many times people believe [mothers] can’t do both, but I’m a pretty determined person. I knew sometimes it would take a lot of effort to [focus on work and home], but it was never really a question of whether I could make both work. It kind of lit a fire in me because I thought, ‘I can do both, watch me.’ It’s not always easy, but mothers get it done.”

Later on, when Tatham applied for a position at Redbrick, she found out she was expecting her fourth child and considered bowing out of the hiring process. Much to her surprise, she was offered the position and found the team at Redbrick to be incredibly supportive and accommodating.

“I was blown away. There are things in place like anti-discrimination laws, where technically you can’t discriminate against a hiring candidate for being pregnant. But the reality is [it’s not ideal for companies] and behind the scenes things are different. So when they not only offered me the position, but offered the full maternity benefits package. . . it felt amazing.”

Read: Organon launches initiative to support women’s careers, health journey in the workplace

Working mothers face unique challenges, often feeling like they’re not doing a good enough job at home or at work, which leads to added stress, notes Tatham. To help these workers, employers can provide benefits that support a healthy work-life balance and alleviate some of the stress.

“Another challenge is [around coming back to work]. I don’t think you can ever really anticipate how hard it is to come back after a maternity leave until you’re doing it. A lot happens in six to 18 months, things change. It’s especially daunting to go back for first-time parents with the considerations of daycare drop-off . . . and breastfeeding. We just have all these worries and it’s really a hard transition until you can get back into the routine. I think a lot of workplaces don’t understand that or try to help the parent adjust while coming back.”

When Tatham returned to work, Redbrick’s chief executive officer let him know that he understood if he needed some flexibility while adjusting. “It means so much that Redbrick strives to have such a flexible culture. When parents are coming back it’s important to support them and make sure they know it’s okay [if their child gets sick] or they miss a meeting. I think for organizations and employers to lead by example, they need to show their employees it’s totally okay to have a family and a career at the same time.”

Read: Canadian employers failing mothers returning from parental leave: report

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