Annapurna introduces: Being a full-time working parent

This week we are running a Parental Awareness Week to celebrate and show appreciation towards our working parents at Annapurna. We spend some time with Chadni Sultana and discussed what it’s like to be a full-time working Mum.

“The previous company I worked for, I was with for 5 years. I went on maternity leave in my last year and I tried to negotiate to work 2x a week from home. You’d think that this massive, well-known company would be willing to accommodate my needs and accept that I was working full-time as a new mother… but they wouldn’t let me. I left 3 months after I came back from maternity because they wouldn’t allow me to do it. I had to make sacrifices that I wasn’t willing to make whilst my daughter was so young.”

“There have been times when I’ve been feeding my daughter her dinner and I’ve got my laptop out replying to people”

“Along came a company who was going to offer me more pay and flexible working, so for me, it was a no-brainer.”

Chadni joined The BTN team in July 2020 and in her first week was working from home. Chadni was hired to lead the team but felt overwhelmed with her home life and work life as a manager. However, she said that Annapurna allowed her to step down as a manager and was extremely supportive and understanding when she wanted more of a work-life balance.

“Annapurna has a better maternity policy than I’ve been visible to before – once you’ve been here one year, you get 3 months at full pay and then you get statutory pay.”

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“I work 2 or 3 days in the office a week. However, as a Mum I appreciate working from home much more. I spend nearly 2 hours commuting and it takes 1 hour to get ready in the morning before coming in, so that’s 3 hours of my day wasted already that I could either be cooking my lunch / dinner or doing my laundry or dropping off my daughter at school”

It’s about being able to do all the necessities as soon as the end of the day hits. Getting dinner ready, feeding her dinner, getting her ready for bed and then putting her to bed. Sometimes there’s no playtime or quality time”

“On the days that I work from home, the hours I save in the morning help me to get her ready and feed her a proper breakfast and then drop her to school and then in the evening I’ll be able to spend that hour with her.”

“Saturday is a day I have a chance to do something fun with her, and then on Sunday it’s back to running errands and getting ahead in doing household chores.”

“Being a full-time mum and having a full-time job is hard work.

It can be hard to be really good at your job and really good at being a mum.”

However, Chadni said there’s no such thing as being a bad mum. Every mum wants to do their best. She believes that whatever parents do and whatever time they have, they will try and make use of it as best as they can.

“At this point in my life, I want to prioritise spending more time with her. When they are still young, they want to spend time most of their time with you and also need to learn and develop. When they are older they start to have their own lives and become busy with their friends.”

“Although I somewhat feel guilty that I went back full-time after maternity leave. I needed to go back full-time because I wanted to give her a better life and I wouldn’t be able to do that on a part-time salary.

“It’s a struggle – working hard to live a good life or being present and doing the things you want to do with them. You have to find that balance”

“I like that Annapurna wants to work towards accommodating and including people in whatever walk of life they are from or whatever situation they are in. They take an active interest in making those changes”

We asked Chadni ‘What do you think companies could do that would help more for parents?’

Chadni made a couple of suggestions for employers:

  • I think people should be educated – for example, we have a diverse range of ages in the workforce now and someone who’s a graduate might not understand what the responsibilities of a parent are eg. childcare
  • Avoid making comments that will make parents feel as if they are not included, especially in social settings
  • Employers should have better policies in place for mothers returning to work as sometimes they are too rigid and don’t provide much leeway
  • Understand that it is more emotional than you can comprehend – a mother giving birth to their baby is coming back to give you a service
  • Companies should provide more resources for women to come back and feel comfortable
  • As an employer, you can show more appreciation towards parents through whatever means that they can

“I cannot think of my life without her, she grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose. I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world”

We also asked Nigel Fox, CEO at Annapurna, to hear his point of view on starting up a company whilst having young children. “I suppose that, while I’m lucky enough that my kids are older now, I can remember how difficult it was when we first started the business and I was the only one who had kids. It can lead to necessary trade-offs between work and home, which can sometimes mean you miss things on both sides. The hardest bit about that is that you feel some guilt around it, which is something that others without children aren’t always aware of so, for me, the biggest thing is to make people feel like its OK to attend sports days, or pick up your child from school now and again. It is much easier now, post covid, with more flexible working, but that element of normalising it in the workplace is still probably a work in progress.”

If you have any questions, please do feel free to get in touch and connect with Chadni Sultana and Nigel Fox on Linkedin.

If you believe in our initiatives and want to get involved, then come see what could work for you. Have a look at the jobs on our career page.

Written by Jasmine Mitchell, Growth Marketing Executive – Annapurna Recruitment

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