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Creating the new Staff Parents and Carers Network.

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Creating the new Staff Parents and Carers Network.

mother and daughter

To all CCCU staff who have parental and caring responsibilities, I am excited to introduce the new CCCU Staff Parents and Carers Network.  

To explain how the idea came about, I thought it might be useful to write this blog and provide my personal experience and story which led me here.  

I started working at CCCU three years ago, as part of the People, Culture and Inclusion Team. I worked Monday to Friday, 37 hours a week and I travelled every day into the office 50 minutes each way (40 minutes if the traffic was good) and I spent the day focused on work (and a little bit daydreaming about what I would buy for lunch at Waitrose). Then a year into the role, I fell pregnant and 9 months later went on maternity leave for a year to welcome my first child into the world.  

Throughout my pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work I felt 100% supported by my team. After a wonderful year away settling into parenthood, I came back to work 22.5 hours a week, working from home (pandemic related) and with a one-year-old son pottering about in the other room (with adult supervision of course!). However, even with the team support, childcare and no commuting, the reality of transitioning from a full-time employee with no parental responsibilities, to a part-time employee and mum was not as easy as I imagined.   

Mothers working on phone with her two children

My expectations of how I would be at work were far from the reality - I assumed I would begin working each day and be able to switch off from parenting, and I also expected to pick up at the pace I was used to before. Yes, the pandemic has not helped the situation, but what I didn’t consider was that my mind was no longer occasionally distracted by thoughts about Waitrose lunches or fully engaged in my work. I was often drawn to thoughts of my son. I also didn’t mentally adjust to being part-time straight away and couldn’t understand why some tasks were taking me longer than used to or why, at times, the days were whizzing by, and I wasn’t even halfway through my ‘to do’ list.   

It made me think about others who are in similar situations - those expecting a child, coming back from parental leave, full-time working parents, grandparents, carers etc. I began thinking how lovely it would be to build a community with staff members here at CCCU so we can connect and support each other. That’s how the CCCU Staff Parents and Carers Network idea came about.   

So, what does the network look like? Well, that is up to us! It is important that we build the network together, by sharing ideas, stories and knowledge. It will be open to all staff who identify as a parent/guardian/carer for another individual/s. Whether you are a grandparent, foster parent, carer for an elderly relative or partner, step-parent or child minder, this network will welcome all ?. So we want to know what this looks like for you, so we can tailor meeting topics, resources etc to what we need.  

Inter-racial family
Mother and disabled daughters
Father and daughter
Grandparents and their two grandchildren
Dads carrying their children
Two expectant mothers

If you are interested in joining the Network and have ideas about what would be useful, please complete the CCCU Staff Parents and Carers Network Suggestions Questionnaire by Friday 24th September, 5pm. Once we have an idea of how the Network will look, we will host an introductory meeting in October.   

I am really looking forward to meeting you all soon ? and starting the CCCU Staff Parents and Carers Network journey together!  

Michelle Meadows  

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