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I am incredibly thankful for part time work!
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I am incredibly thankful for part time work!

| Text: Marie Preisler, photo: Lars Bertelsen

35 year old Cecilie Enevold has gone part time in order to spend more time with her two small children. That was a difficult but correct decision, she says.

Cecilie Enevold loves her work as a TV producer, and worked far more than full time when she became pregnant. Her plan was to return to full time work as soon as possible after the birth. But her priorities very much changed when she became a mother .

“When I became pregnant I was sure that I would quickly return to my full time position soon after the birth. I did not consider myself to be someone who puts her career on hold for her children, but when my son Harald was five months old, and I had a job offer, I didn’t feel like leaving him in a nursery after all,” says Cecilie Enevold.

She worked as a freelancer for a major TV company and had many tasks, but she made a drastic decision: She said no thank you to all job offers while Harald was little. In Copenhagen, where she lives with her partner, the municipality at that time gave a small incentive to new parents who chose to stay at home to look after their child, because there was a lack of municipal nursery spaces. Cecilie Enevold accepted the offer and enjoyed it, even as people around her questioned her decision:

“There was pressure from outside. I felt that some people found it strange. But it was also very much a case of me myself having to learn how to come to terms with a decision which went against the grain.”

Cecilie Enevold discovered that being a mother meant she had to spend more time at home than a full time job would allow. She decided to look for a part time job, and after a time receiving benefits she found her current job in a TV production company. She works 22.5 hours a week, over three working days. Part time work suits her and her family perfectly:

“It is the ideal solution for me. I look forward to going to work and feel vigorous while I’m there because I also have enough time for my children.”

Eight months ago she gave birth to her second son, Vilhelm. Like his big brother, he will be looked after at home until he is around 18 months old. That is the earliest point at which Cecilie Enevold will return to her part time job. 

“I want to be home with my children for as long as possible, so when my maternal leave ends I take six months leave without pay, while we live off my partner’s wages.”

She underlines several times that she is very aware that she is privileged, and that not everyone can afford to work part time. But it has meant some tough choices for her and her family too. There is less money for travel and clothes, and the family has not bought an expensive property. 

Long parental leave and part time should be an opportunity offered to all, she thinks, and also believes this would be a benefit to employers too.

“I am an even better labourer when I work part time, because I am even more efficient and rested. And being a mother has given me many skills which also benefit my workplace. I can for instance juggle even more things than before.”

She is not worried that her choice of putting children before career will impact on her job and career opportunities in the long run:

“I’ll be fine.” 

Also read: Danish parents want Swedish part time conditions

 

Danes want a right to part time work

71 percent agree or largely agree that parents of small children should have the right to work part time

10 percent disagree

13 percent largely disagree

70 percent want cheaper nurseries

68 percent want longer nursery opening hours

Yet Danes are divided on whether to introduce the Swedish model for extended parental leave. Swedes get 480 days parental leave, and eight weeks are earmarked both the father and mother. 45 percent of Danes would like to copy the Swedish model, 44 percent are opposed to it.

Source: Magisterbladet

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