Bursting the baby bubble

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Returning to work after having a baby comes with its challenges. Our Content Lead, Claudia Calleja, looks at how BRND WGN’s guiding principles helped make her transition smoother.

If there’s one thing that challenges everything you’ve ever known, it’s having a baby. As any parent knows, even something as simple as washing your face in the morning becomes a challenge you need to plan ahead for. Getting ready to go out commands a full blown strategy. Your life starts revolving around one little human being. And it’s fine. It’s great, actually. It opens your eyes to a fresh way of seeing things.

It’s been over a month since I burst out of my baby bubble and back into the working world. As I sit down to write this blog piece, it soon becomes clear to me, now more than ever, that the BRND WGN beliefs have a relevance deeper than just our different attitude to work.

Challenge everything 

A wise woman told me, once I had my baby I’d shift into efficient mode. “It’s not that you work faster. You work smarter,” she said. Now I understand what she meant. My perception of time has been challenged, especially my body clock. I was never a morning person. But I have come to see the early morning hours as a bank of untapped, precious minutes. 

Time takes on a whole new dimension. A 15 minute nap feels like an luxurious hour. But if someone turns up five minutes late for a meeting, I feel like I’ve wasted an hour. I’ve had to become very stingy with my time. I’ve had to question whether my presence is needed in all the meetings I’m called into, and prioritise which ones to attend. 

Be brutally honest

This is where being brutally honest comes in. I’ve always believed in the power of honesty, a value held high at BRND WGN where we believe in saying things as they are. Becoming a mother helped me turn this brutal honesty onto myself: What can I truly handle in a 24-hour day without compromising on quality?

I could try to be Super Mum and attempt to juggle eight hours a day at the office, time with my baby, and everything in between. This might work for some, but not for me - at least not at this stage in my life. The truth is, I’d be miserable and burnt out to the detriment of my baby and my work. By having an open and honest conversation with my colleagues, all the cards were on the table and together we found a balance based on flexibility and understanding. 

Have fun

Many working mothers feel they can’t give enough time at work, or at home. It’s easy to let the pressure suck all the fun out of work and being a mother. To me, it’s important to enjoy the hours at work and then go home and savour time with  my baby. This would not be possible without support at home, and at work. I can’t begin to imagine how it must feel for those mothers who have to contend with rigid employers who don’t understand the basic realties of life. Or the benefits of flexi-working.

Thankfully, I work among people who love their work. Who are passionate about what they do. But who are also grounded in the reality that we are more than our work. We all have hobbies and loved ones outside the office. And being able to spend our free time with them makes us happier, more balanced employees, which is transmitted into our work.

This work-life balance is still very new to me. And I’m sure there will be days when I feel overwhelmed. But I’m also sure that if this happens I’ll have the support I need. And this is an experience that will further inspire me and open my mind. It already has. I can now appreciate, on a whole new level, what clients mean when they call their brand “my baby”.