Working mum: finding fulfilment and happiness across both worlds

8 July 2022

Toni Delli-Compagni, COO at Locale Group, shares her journey of becoming a first-time mother and the return to work

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Looking back, the pandemic will be a time of both anxiety and uncertainty, but also suspense, curiosity and blissful joy. I found out that I was pregnant in December 2020 and nine swift months later Amaya was born when vaccines were being rolled at speed and we could see light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. Most importantly, my husband was allowed in the hospital for her birth – something many fathers missed out on – and that’s a moment we will both cherish.

Motherhood

So far motherhood has been a lot more than I was expecting, in a fantastic way, but of course it’s not easy. We learn something new every day both about Amaya and us as parents. While it was surreal to see her crawl for the first time, I also very quickly realised that my house was not baby proof. The cats have also cottoned that they are also being pursued by her. No day is really the same.

However, the biggest issue for us was meeting family. The various restrictions made it challenging for us to visit my family in South Africa. Amaya was six months by the time she met my family in person.

Back to work

You’d probably expect me to say this but those that know me are well aware that I don’t mince my words. Coming back to Locale has been a lot easier than expected since Guy, and my team have been so supportive. I’ve been in regular contact with Guy and my team, and so I had a fairly clear idea of what I was coming back to and there were no shocks to the system!

I chose to phase in my return and so I am currently working three days a week and will add a day in due course. Even though my role isn’t really part time, the flexibility Locale offers means I can do what I love both at work and at home. I’m sure most working parents will agree, juggling home and work and squeezing work into three days has been a sensory overload – but one I am enjoying.

Managing my work and home

Flexibility and trust is what drives Locale and that’s why I am grateful that, on some occasions, if Amaya gets too ill to go to nursery, I can work from home and still attend meetings and get things done. In a previous life, this would be unthinkable. I know many companies would’ve ask me to take unpaid or annual leave, but as long as I get my work done, the Locale team is happy for me to work like this. And this is something we also encourage with our teams across the business – we trust them to deliver and that can be at home, a café, hotel or a co-working lounge. As long as we are comfortable and able to balance both work and our home lives, we have no complaints!

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that I can’t work the way I used to though, and so I am getting better at giving myself breaks and not beating myself up over unfinished work or missing loose deadlines. While it’s hard to readjust my timings and expectations, I am getting better at accepting that things need to be pushed or that realistic deadlines need to be set from the very beginning.

Ultimately, wanting to do well at work and being fully present for your new-born daughter is challenging, but being in a working and home environment that are based on flexibility, trust, collaboration and wellbeing has not only made my return to work seamless, but has enabled me to find fulfilment and happiness across both worlds.

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