The first Sunday in March marked Mothers’ Day. We hope that all mothers had a lovely weekend with their families, and they received flowers, chocolates, breakfast in bed, and above all, love and appreciation. 

Sadly, the latest data do not show that mothers’ problems will be solved with flowers and chocolates. Let’s consider how mothers are doing: 

According to a US survey published by Motherly:

  • 46% of mothers are seeking therapy
  • 62% of mothers report getting less than an hour to themselves a day
  • 78% of mothers admit to sacrificing sleep to take care of their families

According to a UK survey published by REC Parenting: 

  • 46% of working mothers have considered leaving their job because they can’t handle their work and parenting responsibilities:

According to a survey recently published by Calm:

  • 90% of women said family planning challenges can be all-consuming and affect their mental health and their ability to focus at work and be productive
  • 17% of working mothers did not talk to anyone when experiencing challenges with their children’s mental health, and 14% did not discuss their miscarriage or pregnancy loss

According to a UK survey by Bright Horizons:

  • 74% of women say they carry the mental load for parenting compared to 48% of men
  • 51% of women say they work flexibly to fulfil childcare requirements compared to 27% of men
  • 63% of women report feeling confident discussing family-related issues with their employer

All in all, the latest research tells us that mothers are facing significant issues. They need support. Employers are in a perfect position to ease some of the worries that their working mothers are facing. What actions can they take?

Thiago Cerqueira via Unsplash
  • Create truly family-friendly workplaces: Start the conversation around what needs to change to better support mothers, model caring out loud, create an ERG for parents and caregivers…
  • When designing employees’ benefit package: Make mothers’ mental health a priority
  • Train line managers so they are better able to support working mothers in their teams
  • Offer 24/7 expert parenting support
  • Offer flexible working
  • Help with childcare 

Flowers and chocolates are a great gift but I bet that all working mothers would say that receiving support for their employers would be the best gift ever. And let’s not forget that when we support mothers, we are supporting their children. 

If you think your organization can do more to support your working mothers and anyone who mothers, do get in touch. There are so many things that we can do together!

Much love,


Dr Ana Aznar

They say that divorce, alongside bereavement and moving, are the three most stressful events a person can go through. Given that we don’t leave our personal life at the office door, divorce is most likely to impact the work of any employee. Indeed, findings of a 2023 survey of more than 200 employees who had gone through divorce or separation, commissioned by the Positive Parenting Alliance, showed:

  • 90% said their separation or divorce had negatively affected their ability to work
  • 75% admitted they were less efficient at work
  • 50% feared they may lose their jobs because of the effect of their divorce
  • 95% felt their mental health was negatively impacted
  • 39% had to take either sick leave or unpaid leave
  • 12% stopped working altogether
  • Only 9% reported their employers had policies or support in place to help them through their divorce

These findings clearly show that employers should seriously consider including divorce and separation in their HR policies. Given that most of those who divorce are of working age, it makes sense for employers to understand the needs of employees going through divorce and the potential risk areas. What are the measures you can take as an employer?

  • Include separation and divorce as a ‘life event’ in your HR policy. By doing this, your employees will understand the support you are offering and you ensure that all employees are treated equally when facing the same situation instead of leaving the decision about how to support them to the discretion of individual line managers. 
  • Offer flexible working. Even though employees don’t have the legal right to take time off work to deal with a family break up, it is in the best interest of both parties to be flexible where possible. Allowing employees to work from home, change their working hours to fit around childcare or solicitors’ appointments, or even take a sabbatical, can be mutually beneficial. It is important not to make assumptions and let the employee take the lead. Whereas some people may choose to take a leave of absence while they deal with their divorce, others may find a haven in the office and see work as a welcomed distraction. 
  • Provide access to mental health and legal support. By doing this, you will show your employees you care, and it will help retention rates, reduce absenteeism, and sustain productivity levels. Mental health support is particularly relevant as there is strong evidence to show that divorce has negative effects on mental health, although they fortunately tend to be temporary. 
  • Offer financial support. The average cost of a divorce in the UK in 2021 was £14,651. In addition, divorce is associated with a substantial decline in economic resources for mothers and children. Consider what you can do to help ease this financial pressure. Could you provide an interest-free loan or suspend repayments on any existing loan? Could you bring forward a pay raise or bonus? Could you improve your pension contributions to help rebuild a pension that will be divided in the divorce proceedings? 
  • Offer practical support. You could set up an internal network for people in the same situation and bring in relevant experts, such a child psychologist, a counsellor, or a family lawyer. 
  • Provide information promptly. Your employee may need you to provide financial information about themselves. If this is the case, be as prompt and as helpful as you can, to avoid unnecessary delays in the divorce proceedings. 
  • Consider reasonable adjustments. If the employee is experiencing mental health difficulties, consider whether they may have a disability. It may be a good idea that the employee seeks advice from their health practitioner. 
  • Above all, be compassionate, show patience and be proactive in offering your support. This situation will not last forever, your employee will get to a ‘new normal’ and is likely to never forget that the company supported them through this difficult period. 
Micheile Henderson via Unsplash

These are just some measures you can consider to support your employees. We understand that there is a limit to how far employers’ responsibilities go, and that the support employers can give depends on the size of the workforce and the available resources. However, consider that even talking small steps will show your employees you care and may help you to retain those valued individuals within your organization. Be proactive and don’t sit around hoping for the best. Offering support is a wise business decision even if you are not legally obliged to help. Firms such as Asda, Tesco, Unilever, PwC and Metro Bank are reviewing their workplace policies. What are you waiting for? Get in touch to see how we can support your company! Contact us at:



Dr Ana Aznar

You had your baby, you got into the breastfeeding swing, you have the routine mastered (or almost!) and before you know it, it’s time to go back to work. If you decide to keep on breastfeeding (no judgement here, whatever you decide is great), there are quite a few things for you to consider and to discuss with your employer. Don’t forget that to make breastfeeding at work a success, there needs to be communication and commitment between your employer, your line manager, and yourself (if your baby cooperates it will be a big bonus!). Let’s explore actions that all three parties involved should consider taking.

The employer should:

  • Create an environment that supports working parents. Send a clear message that senior leadership supports breast-feeding employees. 
  • Issue a written lactation policy.
  • Offer a break allowance for mothers to express milk or feed their baby. 
  • Offer flexible working hours for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Offer a warm, clean, and private room for expressing (not a toilet, please!) and a fridge (a separate one, if possible) to store the milk.
  • Offer training to line managers so they know how to deal with this issue.
  • Hire a lactation consultant to give extra support to employees, whenever feasible. 

The line manager should: 

  • Have a conversation early on with the working parent so they know what to expect when she comes back and necessary arrangements can be made (e.g., flexible working, arranging breaks…). Do not assume that the employee will breastfeed (or not). 
  • Check-in every once in a while, to see how things are going.
  • Be supportive and empathetic. Staff may feel self-conscious discussing this issue.

The working parent should:

  • Think early about what they want to do regarding breastfeeding (or not) and discuss it with the line manager or HR. 
  • Ask colleagues who have been in the same situation for advice.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Balancing work and breastfeeding can feel like a real struggle, don’t feel bad if things don’t go as planned, and remember that you are doing the best you can. Try to eat well and get some rest (easier said than done, we know) because working and breastfeeding can be really tiring, especially during the first weeks. 
  • Consider the logistics: Practice giving your baby expressed milk before you start working again so they get used to it, try to build an ‘expressed milk bank’, and decide how you will store and transport the milk safely. 
  • Ask for help when you need it, don’t struggle in silence!

Some employers must be thinking, why should I support breastfeeding mothers in my workforce? Why is it my concern? 

Dave Clubb via Unsplash

Employers should support working breastfeeding mothers because:

  • It is an excellent way of retaining and attracting talent. Remember that 1 in 4 working new mothers do not return to work. According to The Telegraph losing staff costs British business approximately £4 billion each year. 
  • Being family friendly also extends to your customers. 83% of millennials only want to deal with companies that share their values.
  • It reduces absenteeism. Breastfeeding has positive health effects (e.g., lower chances of developing some types of cancer) and for babies (e.g., protects them against infections). 
  • It improves your employees’ work-life balance. Make their life easier! 

To support mums who are considering breastfeeding or who are currently breastfeeding, we have a new masterclass by Dee Bell RM, IBCLC, Specialist Tongue-tie Practitioner and founder of the Infant Feeding Academy. You can watch it here. It provides all the information needed about breastfeeding positions, foods to have or not to have, sore nipples, or expressing milk manually. 

If you are an employer who would like to improve the support you offer to your working parents or an employee who would like their employer to get better at it, email me to have a chat! As always, we are here to support you, whatever the issues are. 



Dr Ana Aznar

Being a parent carries a lot of mental load: “I must remember to make an appointment at the dentist for Joe”“Mel needs to wear red socks to school tomorrow”, “It is Sophie’s birthday next week, I need to organize the balloons”, “ I need to leave work early on Thursday because it is Peter’s parents’ evening” and on and on it goes. The to-do list is never ending! This is the mental load of being a parent. It is described as the thinking, planning, scheduling, and organizing of family members, and the emotional labour associated with this work. 

I am talking about the mental load of parents but to be fair, in most households this mental load is carried by mothers. It is not me saying this (don’t shoot the messenger), research shows that even when women work similar hours and earn the same or even more than their male partners, they still have a second shift taking care of the house and the children. Because usually when fathers help, they are doing just that: Helping. The woman is still the one that needs to keep all the balls in the air and ask for help. 

I don’t want to sound like the grinch, but the reality is that during Christmas our mental load increases. And depending on how ‘seriously’ you take Christmas it can increase by a lot! Decorations, visiting family (and negotiating family politics and dynamics), organizing (and cooking) meals (considering dietary requirements of half the family), present-buying (don’t forget the wrapping), attending school nativities (for which you have hand-made the perfect shepherd’s costume all on your own and from scratch), organizing Christmassy plans, card-writing, and volunteering at the school’s Christmas fair … And you must do all these while juggling work, taking care of the kids (while they are on holidays), and don’t forget to enjoy yourself and be utterly happy and charming! For many families, financial issues can be an extra concern. It can be a lot, right?

If this is how you feel every single Christmas, my proposal to you for this year is to stop and think about your priorities. It is great that you want to create a special holiday for everyone around you, but you also need to enjoy yourself and if possible, get some rest. How do we do this?

  • Learn to say NO. And say no without feeling guilty or bad. If you are asked to take things on that you simply don’t have the time for or don’t want to do, say so. Learning to say no is a skill that we all need to develop. The more you say it, the better you become at it!
  • Think what is important for you and what is not. Ditch things that are not important. In my case, I totally refuse to write Christmas cards. Have never done it. I don’t want to spend hours on end writing, sticking, asking for addresses … 
  • Share the load with the rest of the family. And I mean sharing the load, not just simply asking them to help. Delegate tasks to other members of the family. However, this means that if you don’t like how they do it, you need to keep quiet!
  • Stay away from social media. If you are feeling stressed those impeccably curated images of Christmas perfection will only make you feel worse. They are part of what makes us feel overwhelmed in the first place. 
  • Finally, the most important one: your children don’t need the perfect Christmas organized by the perfect but tired and stressed mum. Your children want to spend time with you, they want to laugh and play and chat. They don’t care if the decorations are absolutely perfect or how many Christmas cards you wrote. They won’t remember that. They will remember the good times they had with you during Christmas and that you made them feel loved and special. That is the meaning of Christmas. 

Whatever you are doing over Christmas, we wish you and your family a wonderful time. At REC Parenting we will be here to support you, should you need it. You can always get in touch with us at

Much love, 


Dr Ana Aznar

Neurodiversity describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world in different ways. Being neurodivergent means having a brain that works differently from the ‘typical’ person. The key is that these differences are not viewed as deficits, rather they are seen as well…. differences, nor better or worse, just different. 

Neurodiversity encompasses a wide range of issues, including: ADHD, dyspraxia, dyslexia, dyscalculia, Down syndrome, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy, tics disorders, ODD, giftedness… 

Approximately 1 in 6 children can be considered neurodivergent. We know that being a working parent may be challenging but the challenges for working parents of neurodivergent children may seem unsurmountable. These parents have to address frequent and intense crisis-driven care needs for their children, experience stigmatisation in many areas of life, and are concerned about their job security because of their demanding child care responsibilities.  

It is no surprising that parents of neurodivergent children drop out of the workforce at very high rates. Burnout, unpredictable schedules, and the varying levels of care required are some of the reasons. Yet we know that 60% of parents don’t disclose the fact that they have a neurodivergent child to their employer.  

Knowing how to support parents caring for neurodivergent children is imperative. These parents do face extra challenges but they are also likely to develop very valuable skills from their experiences in an atypical parenting situation, such as resilience, negotiation, time management and flexibility.  

Photo: Austin Diestel on Unsplash

Here are five strategies to support your employees who are caring for a neurodivergent child: 

Support them with specialized resources: When a parent suspects or is told that their child may be neurodivergent, they face the very daunting and time-consuming task of understanding what to do, how to find the right specialists, and where to find support. And they must do all this while dealing with their own mental state. Offering dedicated resources at this time may be life-changing for a working parent. Parents of neurodivergent children need the right set of skills and tools so their whole family can thrive.  

Support their mental health and wellbeing: Parents of neurodivergent children are 2.4 times more likely to have mental health issues than other parents. They suffer from high stress levels that contribute to depression, anxiety and other poor health outcomes. Easy access to mental health support services will help parents to take care of themselves in turn allowing them to take better care of their child.  

Flexibility must be a policy not a perk: Be prepared to offer them some control over when and where they work. A meeting at 9 pm rather than at 4 pm may work better for them because the child is already in bed. 

Train line managers: Line managers cannot be expected to know about everything. Training them so they have the tools to know how to accommodate and support parents of neurodivergent children is a must.

Create a truly inclusive workplace: Parents may not tell their employers about their situation because of fear of not being seen as completely invested in their jobs or fearing that their co-workers and managers will think that their children are ‘odd’ or ‘weird’. Actions such as creating a dedicated employee resource group, celebrating a ‘neurodiversity day or week’, or a ‘bring your family to work day’ will help to create an inclusive family-friendly working culture. No matter how families look like. Initiatives should be ongoing to increase engagement and awareness.  

At REC Parenting we are committed to support the needs of parents of neurodivergent children. For any comments or queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch at  


Dr Ana Aznar

The summer holiday is a good time to reflect on what worked and did not work during the previous academic year, allowing you to start the new one feeling refreshed (hopefully!) and with new goals. Doing so will help you to achieve work-life balance. This means giving equal importance to your career demands and your personal life. Work-life balance is more than a catchphrase: it’s a necessity. 

Here are eight tips to achieve work-life balance:

  1. It’s OK not to be perfect 

There is no such thing as the perfect parent. It is important that we let go of that idea. You are not a superhero. There will be times when things won’t be perfect. Accept that this is fine, you are not failing, you are doing the best you can. And remember that for the most part, the idea of parenting we see in social media is not real. Don’t fall into the trap! Perfection is an unrealistic goal, trying to achieve it will only lead you to feeling stressed and unsatisfied. 

2. Ask for help

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. Remember the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”? It is true! And even more in the case of working parents and single parents. We all need help sometimes. Coordinate with other parents and family members. Take turns accompanying children to and from school, share birthday parties, and coordinate playdates so you can all have some free time. 

3. Be flexible

Understanding that there may be moments when your family needs you more and other moments when your work demands your full attention is essential. Be flexible and be ready to re-prioritise when things change. 

4. Do not neglect yourself

If you want to be able to take care of others, you must take care of yourself. If you are not feeling strong, you won’t be able to do well at home or at work. Remember to sleep and eat well, and exercise regularly. Many of us feel guilty when we have some ‘me time’, but we must learn to ignore that feeling! Think that taking care of yourself is the first step to take care of everything and everyone in your life. 

5. Do not feel guilty because you work

Use the time that you have with the kids to enjoy them, do things together, and support them. Do not waste your time wishing that you didn’t have to work. Those thoughts are not helpful, especially if you have no other option but to work. You can be a working parent and a fantastic parent, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 

6. Learn to say “no”

For many of us saying no is difficult. Maybe for you saying no is packed with guilt, you are a people pleaser, or you are afraid of disappointing others.  However, think that your time and resources are limited, and you should put your energy and effort on the things that are important to you and your family. Whenever a request that you don’t want to do or can’t do comes your way, say no. The sooner you do it, the better so that you avoid unnecessary stress. Some ways of saying no are: ‘Sadly, I have something else going on’, ‘I wish I were able to’, ‘I don’t have the bandwidth to do it right now’, ‘Thanks for thinking of me. However, I am not able to’, or ‘I’m sorry, I’m not able to fit this in’. The more you do it, the easier it will become!

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

7. Set expectations at home and at work

The start of the academic year is the perfect moment to spend some time alone and decide what you want to achieve in the coming months. Similarly, it is a good time to hold ‘expectations meetings’ at home and at work. At home, establish with your family what will be expected of each one of you, the rules and the organisation of the household for the Autumn months. 

At work, depending on your role you can have a similar discussion with your colleagues and team members. Doing this will reduce the likelihood of having to say ‘no’ as well as reduce disappointments, frictions, and arguments. 

8. Change one unhealthy habit 

Many of us have habits that are not the best for our physical and mental health. Perhaps you drink a bit too much, don’t exercise enough, eat too much processed food, or spend too much time on Instagram. Whereas it is not realistic trying to change all our bad (or not that good) habits at the same time, it is realistic to try to change one. Decide one habit that you would like to change, and go for it! 

We wish you and your family all the very best for the new academic year. If you feel you need some extra support, remember to contact your REC Parenting therapist. You can also get in touch with us at We are here to support you and your family! 

Much love,


Dr Ana Aznar

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