Maxine McBride

TAAS HR Manager

As a woman with a great job, passion, and determination to climb the career ladder I have always taken pride in the hard work and energy it takes to get into this position. Ever since leaving university I have always been in awe of those career focused women around me, and especially those with a family, but perhaps looked lightly on how hard that juggle truly is.

For most women, from that point of going on maternity leave, the questions start to race through your head – how will I juggle going back to work, how will I afford childcare, and how on earth can I work when I’m this tired… which is probably the most underrated question.

The important thing to note here is, as a mother and parent you will have to face difficult choices along the way, however your career and the effort you put in, can be balanced.

Fast forward nine years, and here I am with two children and a house of my own to juggle. More recently we have added twin boys (two years old) to the mix by way of fostering. The last six months have been some of the hardest but most rewarding times in my life. Juggling four kids, a husband, a busy house, and not to forget the crazy cocker spaniel… some days I don’t know how we do it.

The one thing I absolutely do know though, is that I could not have got through it without the support of my manager and team at The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS). Juggling appointments and time out has been chaos on occasion, and as a woman you not only feel guilty towards the kids by having to work as a mum, but I have felt guilt towards my team and colleagues when I have had to take time out.

Many employers talk about flexibility, but that doesn’t just mean time – having set start and finish times – it doesn’t mean working part-time hours, and it most definitely does not mean having set days in or out of the office and trying to fit full-time hours into reduced days. Kids are unpredictable and so is life, and not just women but parents need to have that support to be flexible around their children and home life.

Before joining TAAS, I worked for an organisation without a great level of flexibility for those in senior roles, and the realisation started to set in that I would never be able to have a successful job and continue to climb the career ladder whilst I had young kids, it just was not going to work.

So, if you are reading this as a parent and have somehow juggled breakfast and getting the kids to school on time this morning, well done, first goal of the day has been achieved, and it’s probably only just 9am.

Who says as a woman and a mother you can’t have it all, right now I absolutely feel like I do, and I am so grateful to work in a place that offers me that flexibility but also the support I need, and not just for the crazy home life, but for me as a manager in my own right and my own mental health and wellbeing.

This year’s campaign theme for International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion. If I can inspire all women and working mothers as well, as employers, to support the work-life balance and careers of working mums, then that is my aim.