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Has Natasha Kaplinsky really made it harder for working mothers?

I read this week that Natasha Kaplinsky has just returned from her second maternity leave in two years and has now resigned her job.  Reading articles in the press you’d imagine her actions are destined to set back working mothers’ rights in the UK by a few hundred years.

But is this really the case?

Surely when her employer hired her they realised that there was a strong risk that she might have babies?  She was only recently married, not in the first flush of youth and it doesn’t take a rocket science to imagine that a baby might make an appearance at some time in the near future.

Doesn’t every employer hiring a woman of child bearing age do a mental think through the risks and costs associated with maternity leaves?  I know that they aren’t supposed to, I know legislation says that they must not but in quiet, in private surely it is a consideration?

I was interviewing for jobs whilst newly pregnant and as the bump got bigger, so did the list of the excuses to not carry on with the interview process.  But you know what, I totally understood, even whilst I wished they could see that I was motivated and competent.

In fact I’m fairly certain that my current employer feels nothing but relief that I called to say I was being put on bed rest before he made me the job offer rather than a couple of weeks down the line!  And having compared the two maternity policies I’m fairly glad I didn’t make the move over until I returned from maternity leave.

But you know what, the base line is that women do have babies and in general need to take a bit of time off to look after them whilst they’re very young.

Going off and having babies can make us better workers – better able to multi-task, more motivation, more efficient, able to cram an awful lot more into the day and importantly less likely to leave (I mean who has time to interview on top of everything else?).  In fact I reckon (and I’ve looked but haven’t been able to find the study I thought I’d read… must bookmark things better) that you get your value for money in general from treating employees well over maternity leave.

Yes there will always be people around who find that working and mothering aren’t for them but they are the exception not the rule and the occasional person who uses and abuses the rules needs to be seen as an exception and not as an excuse to bash those still trying to do it all.

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9 comments to Has Natasha Kaplinsky really made it harder for working mothers?

  • Helloitsgemma

    >Great post. I do find some national
    Media give impression women at should be at home. Like to emphasise stories of women giving up work to care for child as if a lesson to the rest of us. Working motherhood isn't for everyone but it is for some of (not always out of choice). Women should be judged as on their abilities as employees and supported in their work life balance as any employee should be.

  • Jean

    >Well said. It's a shame we can't all just support each other in the choices we make XXX

  • zooarchaeologist

    >I think this really depends, I am a far worse employee since having children. I work far less weekends, never give evening lectures (unless its desperate) and always have to put my kids first. If one is sick, then I take the day off. As you know, I don't have brilliant childcare options as I don't earn enough to afford a full time nanny, so this is where I stand. If i earnt enough to pay a nanny, I'm sure I would be the same employee as I was before, as it stands I'm far worse and can totally understand arguments about women of our age.

  • TheMadHouse

    >I used to be so judgemental of working mums before I had the boys. I too had two and rolled my mat leave one in to the other and it went gown like a lead ballon. I fear that the papers and media felt mothers up one against the other and are often looking for a scape gaot.

    As a woman I now understand that you can not have it all, it is a quation of balance and what is right for you adn your family

  • I'm So Fancy

    >Well I can say, with authority, that I am far less of a good employee since I had children and I have more than one nanny! When your first priority is your children (and no matter how many people are helping you, you are still the mother and you are the ONLY one who will care for your children when you are sick/vomiting/migrained/whatever), then all the other things in your life come second. Period. That said, I'm hell bent on teaching my children that women don't study and train for years and then give that all up just because of a little thing called biology! (Within reason, of course)

  • Metropolitan Mum

    >Ahhhhh, you so strike a chord hear, it makes me want to scream. I am pondering on going back or not or yes or no or yes… I think I am going crazy here. It's so difficult, and all the world plus the Daily Mail giving their 2 pennies to my confusion doesn't help. Re Natasha – what else was she supposed to do??!!

  • Working Mum

    >It infuriates me that this argument still rages in the 21st century. Women AND MEN are employees and parents. It's just biology that the woman has the babies. Parents should be treasured and supported as valuable employees and be free to make whatever choices they feel necessary for the good of their family without being judged for doing so.

  • A Modern Mother

    >I am thankful that my current job fits in around the kids. I know others are not so lucky. It sucks really.

  • naomi

    >Modern Mother I am with you on that one. I feel lucky to be able to work when my children are not around me and spend great time with them when they are home. Not everyone has that choice but we do have choice and if we want to go back to work or not then that's our perogative.

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