A room full of working mothers, hundreds of enthusiastic conversations, two inspirational coaches, sun streaming through the windows, and all the croissants we could eat – the Mumager workshop was starting out well.
There’s something very uplifting about spending a day with like-minded people – with women who have similar aspirations and similar concerns. The realisation that everyone worries about asking for reduced hours – the shared anxiety about being seen as less career focused than before. The discovery that in the end, it’s not always about what other people think – but about how we see ourselves. We’ve worked hard to get this far, and asking to work part-time can feel, for some, like giving in.
There was the practical discussion about how to ask for what we want at work, and how to deal with the “on a half day again?” comments that everyone in the room had heard at one time or another.
There was the discussion about the G-spot as Mumager coach Tracy Gunn calls it – no, not that – she’s talking about Guilt. That word that is never far from a roomful of working mothers.
There were practical tips for time management, for balancing work and home, for preparing to go back to work.
There was the search for our core values, so that we can make good decisions that take us towards our goals. The identification of what’s important to each of us, and what’s not important. The unanimous agreement that the always-on nature of email is our downfall, and that none of us is being as “present” during our short evening-time stints with our children as we should be.
Mumager, the brainchild of Tracy Gunn, Alex Kotsos and Carma O’Connor Dunne, is:
“a practical workshop for mums who are returning to their jobs after a period of maternity leave. The workshop benefits both the employer and the employee by ensuring that the returning mum is as engaged as possible when returning to work”
The very first workshop was held on May 28th and I was lucky enough to take part. I went along not sure what to expect – I’m back at work almost two years since my third maternity leave ended, so I wasn’t certain that I was the in the target market. But eight hours later, I came away feeling I could take on the world. I had tangible takeaways to put in place and a renewed sense of knowing where I’m going with my career. Tracy and Alex, who facilitated the workshop, are both incredibly good at what they do. They are engaging, inspiring, passionate – and crucially, very charismatic and likable. The kind of coaches you’d like to go for a glass of wine with, so you could keep listening.
Mumager is, by its own definition, targeted at helping mothers manage their return to work after maternity leave, but I think that that’s selling it short. It is absolutely applicable to any mother at any stage in her career – whether she’s back at work three days or three years. It’s about all the issues and concerns we face on an ongoing basis – because they don’t disappear once we’ve been back a few weeks.
I’ve gone to many training courses over fifteen years working in Financial Services, some great, some terrible. And the Mumager workshop was by far the most useful and most enjoyable one I’ve ever attended.
If you are interested in Mumager or think your HR department might be, you can check out their website or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Quite apart from the learnings and the practical tips and the coaching; a day connecting with other mothers who face the same issues is hugely affirming. And the croissants were great.
I was delighted to be invited by Alex and Tracy to join their first Mumager workshop, but they didn’t ask me to write about it and these opinions are 100% my own.