Maternity leave at Stowe – Charlies story

I have just returned from 9 months of maternity leave (and approximately 3000 nappy changes), and I wanted to share my experience if you too, are on a similar journey. So here are some of my highlights pre and post maternity leave..

The lead up

It’s never an easy conversation telling your employer you’re leaving them for an extended period of time, but my team couldn’t have been more supportive and attentive in the lead up to my maternity leave. My manager ensured my wellbeing took priority from the off; regular check ins (work conditions ok? How are you feeling today?) No questions asked when I needed flexibility for hospital visits etc. And it was a great time to take advantage of our wellbeing leave when I needed a much-deserved rest.

My career has always been important to me, I know where I want to get to and the hard work that needs to be done to get there. I had a really honest conversation with my manager about this; I didn’t want my 9 months out of the business to have an impact on my aspirations (I know I’m not alone in this feeling, it’s the age old tale for professional parents, especially women) I was not only reassured after this chat, but left excited for the future.

We ensured a thorough handover was completed in plenty of time which in turn, meant my final few days went seamlessly. It felt very odd putting an out of office on and logging off – I hadn’t had a “career break” for an incredibly long time so it felt rather daunting stepping away from a role I had poured myself into – but I knew it was in safe hands and that was so reassuring.

During maternity leave

The enhanced maternity pay allowed me to have 9 months off in total (3 months full pay, 3 months half pay and 3 months statutory) because of this, I was at home for my daughter’s first smile and first word to name a few! Time I will always be incredibly grateful for and only made possible by Stowe’s progressive approach.

Keeping in Touch days were instrumental to me feeling connected. Being able to review the company communications and hear business updates meant I didn’t feel I was missing out on too much. I was invited to the annual ‘Stowefest’ where I caught up with colleague’s face to face and got to hear the exciting plans ahead. Not forgetting our Team Christmas celebration (I wasn’t going to miss out on that when Covid had ruined our last few years of festivities!)

It was then time to start thinking about what my return to work would look like. I always knew I wanted to come back part time and having seen many other parents at Stowe achieve a great work/life balance, I was filled with confidence. I feel so fortunate to work for a business who already embrace flexible working and it was agreed that I could spread my hours over a reduced number of days.

Welcome back!

They all say it goes by fast and they aren’t wrong! In my experience, the build-up in preparing for the return has been harder than returning itself. It’s quite a complex emotional spectrum, but I feel fortunate that I love my work and am coming back to a team and family friendly company that are incredibly supportive.

Day one was made so much easier by my manager setting out a rough schedule for my week ahead, so I felt like I had some direction and not totally overwhelmed! I’m now a few days in and can honestly say it’s like I just picked up from where I left off – this is a credit to the business for making me feel so welcomed.

So, what’s next?

I intend to appreciate the ‘quiet’ time whilst at work, value the adult conversations and enjoy my hot drink in peace. I’m already embracing and learning all about the “working Mum” life as I’ve proudly joined the club!


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I have almost 10 years’ experience in Recruitment and I’m passionate about all things hiring. I work within the Talent Acquisition team here at Stowe with a particular focus on the South. I post a variety of blogs from family law to diversity and inclusion and wellbeing. Subscribe below to be the first to receive our latest newsletters.

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