Hi, I’m James Pither and the husband of Holly. I don’t think I’ve ever really contributed to a blog before, so what better way than to write a guest post on my own wife’s blog. Hopefully I can relay some of my thoughts about her maternity leave and the career challenges/ opportunities this might pose.
In some ways, maybe many more than I think, I am quite short sighted. I sometimes fail to look out beyond my own nose and see the problems others are going to face. When Holly became pregnant, my thought process was immediately focused on financial provision, followed by other key provisions such as equipment and even schooling. I hadn’t realised how much of an impact maternity leave would have on Holly or I.
Dare I say it; Holly has been far more driven in her career than I have been. She rightly has the respect of her office as a leader. She found early on in life what she’s good at and what she loves to do and has stuck with it. She loves the art of communication and has an entrepreneurial spirit that is always on maximum attack. Maybe I am biased, but she is phenomenal at her work!
So should I be worried then that she’s made the decision to drop it for a year to look after our child? Why should she stop her work and not I? Will she cope with the transition?
I am not too worried, as I know she is pretty robust. Although three days in to maternity leave Holly was already ‘bored’. This is despite her doing all the chores under the sun, going on countless walks, swimming most days and starting this blog. This I believe is probably the first time she can relax from work, and she is just getting used to it. Once our bundle of joy arrives, we will both have plenty to do, and I’m sure will bring Holly and me something that is worth working for even more than a career.
But should it be her taking the maternity leave? Given her career success, it would be logical for me to carry the candle on this one. We are not closed to a modern and equal approach to this and have talked about it. However, Holly is answering her own desire here. The want and need to be there for our baby is instinctive and deep rooted within her, and I trust she knows that if this were to change she would tell me at once.
She will cope, because that’s just who she is. Holly once said that even if she were a dustbin collector (not to discredit this profession, but not really her sort of thing in her high heels and business suit!) she would put everything into it to be the best. Motherhood is bound to be light years ahead as a cause, and once started she will put more than heart and soul into it.
The bigger question for us to grapple with is; when she goes back, how she will be able to do it all? How will she balance her career and a baby? And how can I support her in this? I don’t want to judge what may happen based on hearsay and other’s stories, but the theme is the same. Suddenly, separation will be necessary, and equally so in the first stages of attending nursery. The days away from our baby will be hard, especially the first one.
However, like all things, I believe this will be just another hurdle we will encounter and one we will do as partners and be stronger for. Once crossed, you’re already onto the next one, and the next and the next….. That’s life after all!