I’m very proud to be working with Mums@Work, an organisation that gives mums the opportunity to revitalise their careers and connect with employers across the region.
The group, which is backed by one of the largest independent recruitment firms in
the GCC, Mackenzie Jones, is tapping into the wealth of often largely wasted talent and experience amongst a professional, skilled mum community in Dubai and guiding them carefully back in to professional, rewarding work.
In this partnership, I am going to tell you the stories of three working mums in Dubai. they’ll talk honestly about their anxieties and the challenges of returning to work and ultimately how it affects them and their families and all that being back in the working world brings them.
Let me introduce you to Miral Youssef. Miral is the General Manager of the new kids’ designer superstore, Level Kids. She’s the mother of three; two energetic boys, Taofiq (6), Youssef (3) and daughter, Mia (5).
Her’s is a common story. The family moved here for Miral’s husband’s job, back in 2011. She left London with a pedigree of 15 years in luxury fashion and two kids and arrived in Dubai and had another.
Having worked throughout her pregnancies back home “I still remember negotiating terms with a key vendor as my water broke, and taking my daughter to a showroom weeks after birth during fashion week”; Miral took every opportunity to switch off entirely on her maternity leaves where she found herself “ fixated about not missing a second of the time I had with my children. I whiled away hours spent watching them sleep, recording the milestones and taking it all in.”
This blessed time off and the new home country left her more than a little anxious about her return to the workfroce, let alone to such a competitive industy; “You worry about your relevance, you worry if you have been replaced, and if your tasks have been done in your absence. But most importantly, you worry about how you will do it: how will you coordinate it all, how will you will carry on nursing, or cope with the lack of sleep. You keep asking yourself: will it impact the kids emotionally and how will you be perceived.” Issues that most mums considering their return to work struggle with.
More from Miral on what her job means to her and her advice for mums considering returning to work below. Thanks for the lovely photos Picture People.
Aside from income, why work?
“Work for me is not just a 9 – 5, it’s a way of life, it’s part of who I am. It’s a passion. Every day is stimulating and interesting, giving me a sense of positive accomplishment and independence. Aside from a sense of fulfilment, you are a part of a diverse community that subsequently enriches your own understanding of people, the world around you and even yourself."
Setting an example
“I want to teach my children a sense of responsibility to society, the world and self; To push themselves to be the best that they can be, and have faith that anything they want is possible. I hope to leave them with a richer legacy and comprehension of the importance of independence.”
“Balance doesn’t exist.”
“Accepting that there is no balance, but that of your compromises. Sometimes I miss a school activity and other times I miss a work event. It’s balancing your priority at that given time and not overall. It’s commitment to mentally be at work and surrendering yourself to the wonders of motherhood at home.”
“As a working mum, I know my time is measurable, so I strive my best to make the time that I do have with them memorable. The journey to school and the last words before bedtime, the moments post the chore storm of getting dressed, eating the greens and bathing. It’s the time when you hear stories from their imagination, when their dreams run free, and the contagious giggles begin. It’s the random formation of sentences, the misuse of words and wild thoughts. A time where you get acknowledgment, and are told “I love you so much” a thousand times over, in addition to passionate life
A changing tide
“Until recently, due to the limited choice and flexibility of paid work in Dubai, the logistics of returning to work just didn’t add up for many mums. Often mums had to accept taking a big step backwards to reenter the work force. We all just want to find something that we are passionate about, and that works with our motherhood commitments.”
Advise for mums considering a return to work
“I'd advise mums who are considering returning to work to simplify their schedules; ensure there is a support network from partners (where applicable), family, help and friends. Pursue a career you enjoy, one that capitalizes on your skills and experiences, some of whichyou probably nurtured through parenting like time keeping, patience and multi-tasking and, most importantly, one that provides fulfilment. Be selective of your employer, choose one with a reputable understanding of family values.”