Has My Maternity Leave Halted A Rise In My Career?



Ever since I’ve returned back to my day job, I’ve been struggling with work life balance. When I’m at work, I miss the chaos. I miss being in charge and the thrill of going up the corporate ladder. When I’m at home, I want to be a full time mum. I miss Madeleine and all I want to do, is spend every waking hour with her. The problem is, I want both a stunning career where I do well and get promotions but also be a mother and not miss any of my daughter’s major milestones! I have a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to my career.

My boss announced that she is leaving today and her job is up for grabs. Before I went on maternity leave, I was automatically the next person in line as I covered her routinely when she wasn’t there. Last year, she and I fell pregnant a few months apart. This meant, we were both on maternity leave and I couldn’t cover her position. I was devastated but at the same time excited that I have something else on my plate: Motherhood.

A good work colleague of mine covered the management role and I was very happy for him. He did a fantastic job. But when I came back from maternity leave, I felt a sense of jealousy. He has taken my role of being second-in-charge. He is the “it” person for the job now. What made it worse is that he talks to me with condescension, which doesn’t help the way I already feel.

Although we all have to sit an interview before anything is official, I am petrified that my maternity leave has halted a rise in my career. If I were to get the position, then this would be an insult to him. However, if he got the position, then I will be forever annoyed that the timing didn’t work out for me.

I feel somewhat guilty towards Madeleine for feeling this way. Although, I am absolutely happy that we have a gorgeous daughter, I don’t know when my career will be restarting again. Probably when we’re done having all our kids.


So after a night’s rest, I took some time out to write down all the pros and cons of being in this new position. I also spoke to a very good friend of mine, who happens to also be another colleague who works with us. She made me realize something, which in the heat of jealously, I chose to ignore: There is more to life than work. Of course I already knew this, but I just needed to hear it from someone else.

I will sit the interview anyway for the experience and whatever happens will happen. If my colleague gets the position, I will be second-in-charge to him and support him no matter what. I have to realize that outside of work, there is so much more to life. A job will always be there, but I cannot rewind time to spend with my kids.

Growing up I was raised by very strict parents and doing well at school was a must. They did not accept failures. So naturally, this has progressed into my working life. It has been instilled in my head that I need to do well and I cannot fail. It is really silly to be honest.

I can apply for the position but I won’t put so much pressure on myself. If the timing isn’t right, then it wasn’t meant to happen. I have an amazing family and we’ve achieved so much becoming parents. It is important to realize this and I’m hitting myself for taking so long! Do other working mums have this severe case of FOMO?

Other posts in the series:

A Working Mum Series Part 1

A Working Mum Series Part 2

A Working Mum Series Part 3

22 thoughts on “Has My Maternity Leave Halted A Rise In My Career?

  1. I can understand how you feel, although promotions work much differently in the Air Force( I’m retired now) so I did not face the same challenges you did.I can relate to that desire of continuous advancement and doing your best. So now that I am adjunct faculty, work part-time for a community college I sometimes feel like I should push for a full-time slot. BUT, then I visualize how a bit of a rigid schedule could impact my life and kiddos. For my senior in high school not so much, but for my four year old that takes an hour to eat breakfast–it would shock him! Lol. So the best advice I can give you is picture what it might be like to be in that seat–is that how you see yourself and will that make you happy career wise? And I do consider families an important part of career choices so vision that as well. And like you stated, the slot may need to come later–and that’s okay.

    1. Thank you for the great advice! An hour to eat breakkie haha, I think when they are young they still want you and going to work is hard, as you miss the time spent with them and seeing them grow up! I’m worried that if I focuse too much on work, she’ll grow up so quickly without me knowing and one day she’ll be a teenager and won’t want anything to do with me! Haha. Family time is definitely something that you can’t rewind. But I’ll sit the interview anyway and we shall see what happens! Xx 😊😊

      1. Best of luck to you! On another note, my high school senior is ramping up for the world! I tell people I fear she takes on too much–then they say she’s much like me. Lol. So your daughter will learn so much from you that you don’t expect. 😊

      2. Haha. Well the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is what they say! Lol, thank you so much xx 😊

  2. A great post. I didn’t mind letting my career go a bit when I had my children but it has had a lasting effect on my career and I will never achieve what I could have if I put my career first. I don’t really care though because my career is second to my two gorgeous boys.

    1. Thank you! It’s great to hear from people who have been through this and can confirm that they’ve felt like this before. It’s hard because my boss has kids but shes rising above and beyond those who don’t have kids! But I guess, you can’t have it all, somethings gotta give and I’m not willing to let my time with my daughter go! I miss her so much! But I shall sit the interview anyway and see what happens (just so I don’t regret it) 😊😊😊

      1. It is a choice we have to make as working mothers, Carol. I always remember when my son [now 14 1/2 years old] started at Prep School. He was 9 years old and the head master said that we had enjoyed our boys for half of our allotted time as most boys leave home for university at 18 years old. If you think of how short the time that you have them is, you realise how important it is to enjoy them as much as possible while you do have them.

      2. This is definitely correct! My daughter is already a year old. Time is flying by. Before I know it, she’ll be moving out 😒

  3. I say apply for the position if you want it and whatever happens happens.. go with the flow.. and life does have a way of working itself out, I feel.. Wishing you luck in the interview xx

    1. Thanks Christy! You are definitely correct. I need to learn to chill and not think too far into the future! Just going with the flow would definitely decrease my blood pressure haha. Thank you so much xx 😊

  4. I can’t totally relate to this post.

    When my mini was born I decided not up return to my job in a management roll and to take a job closer to home that was not of the same career level.. I sobbed all of the day before my maternity ending and the morning of my new job because I knew I would miss munchkin so much!

    I still do miss her every day four years on, but like you I also crave the career status I once had. It is such a difficult predicament, but I decided to take the attitude of if you don’t try you will never know and so far it’s working out ok 😊
    I hope everything goes well with your interview. I have my fingers crossed! 😊x

    1. Hello! I always look forward to your comments on my blog 😊 I really appreciate it. Its great to hear from people who have been through this as I’ve spent alot of sleepless nights trying to make a decision. I’ve come to the conclusion of just going with the flow because if I think too much into it, I stress myself out haha. I try to remind myself that a job is always there though, your time with the kids cannot be relived. You have to enjoy them whilst they are young and still want you lol thank you so much for the support. I’m nervous but we shall see what happens! Xx 😊

  5. Hi Carol, I don’t know how I will feel when I go back to work tomorrow 😱 but I am nervous about my choice to take on a new and challenging role and the impact that will have on Baby G’s life. But I am like you and thrive off the pace and demand of my working life and I have missed it so much. Wrt your interview, I think there are lots of skills that you gain from being on maternity leave: time management, efficiency, patience, calm in the face of disaster and supreme organisation to name a few. Put everything you have into the interview and remember all the value you brought to the team before and what you can still bring to the team. At least you will know you tried your best if you don’t get it. But don’t start limiting your own potential with your worries. There are enough people out there who will do that for you. Lean in to opportunities until the work life balance feels wrong.

    1. Hi Mummy Gubbins! Oh you are so lovely and you’ve said all the things that I needed to hear. The first day back at work is always nerve racking. You will spend most of it thinking about your baby. But it definitely does get better and you’ll find that you’ll enjoy work and appreciate the time that you have with your little one when you get home. You’ll miss them so much! Two months in, it is a breeze. I love having both my career and being a mother! It just keeps getting better and better!

      You mentioned the skill set a new mother obtains on mat leave! Thanks for pointing that out! I never looked at it that way. I always thought it was more of a nuisance for my employer that I took so long off work so I don’t realize how much I’ve grown as a person! I will definitely sit the interview anyway and just run with it 😊
      Good luck for your first day! You’ll be fine! Let me know how it goes 😊😊

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