Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Full time work struggle

Community Member


Last year I returned to the workforce after a long break being a stay at home mum. I loved it. However I had to return to work to support my child and myself after separating from my husband.

I don't have much of a village and cannot afford to pay for home help

I have been advised by my employer that they cannot offer me flexible work arrangements due to the business needs and eventually want me to work in the office full-time.

I'm already exhausted now and cannot imagine trying to manage on reduced work/life balance. My exhaustion is both physical and mental.

I want to work but I'm feeling overwhelmed with having to make a decision on my next step. I don't know where to go but I just want somewhere that's secure, part-time or flexible.

I'm thinking that I should not have tried returning to the corporate world. I went back to the industry I was in prior to going on maternity leave. I want to have the flexibility to still feel like I can be part of the school community and not have to rely on before and after school care each day and be able to do some drop offs and pick ups.

I'll be grateful for any advice from anyone or knows someone who has gone through a similar situation.


2 Replies 2

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Mumma petal,

I can understand how hard it must be to have to give up being a stay at home mum, which you loved, to return to work to make ends meet. Unfortunately some employers are solely focused on what they need/want and are unwilling to budge in any way to accommodate mothers. But there are plenty of others who are more understanding and flexible. Until recently employers held all of the cards, but there has been a shift recently with the pandemic and many more are willing to be flexible. I would suggest to keep going with the job for the time being but to start formulating a plan. You don’t mention what field you are in, but perhaps first look at other jobs in your chosen field and suss out whether any of them offer flexibility as this would obviously be the easiest transition and the one you are most qualified for. But if not, you will need to start researching jobs that have the conditions you need and see which of those you would like to do, pay enough, plenty of opportunities etc. Not every job is going to be right for you and you have other priorities now too but you just have to keep going until you find the one that fits with your lifestyle.

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi MummaPetal

I’m really sorry to hear that your employer is withdrawing the current flexible workplace arrangements that you have in place. Very short sighted on their behalf.

I’m also a bit surprised given our current low levels of unemployment. In my industry recruitment is really tough, minimum 3 months to fill a role and salary expectations of candidates are high.

I would gently push back on your employer and see how they respond (there may be room for negotiation). Make one small concession in the direction they want you to go and sell it. See how they respond.

If they think they might actually lose you they may find some flexibility they didn’t know they had. If it doesn’t work you might just find yourself better off given the state of the job market.

I know you want to work school hours but an option to make full time easier for you may be to engage a nanny.

When I was working in the corporate world and the kids were young I decided to share the cost of a nanny with a neighbour. The kids were one week at my house and next week at the neighbour’s house. The bonus was meals and laundry help when they were at my place and no mess the week they weren’t. Any mums from the school you could connect with?

Eventually I decided I only wanted to work school hours so I started my own business and worked from home. I took a short course at TAFE on how to start a business and the cost was surprisingly small to get started. My largest client became the corporate I had left! Is this an option for you?

I know it’s hard. I know you’re tired. Hang in there.

Kind thoughts to you