'Working mothers are in need of flexibility'

Joanne Mooney lives in Swords with her husband and two children – Rachel (9) and Isabel (8). The 40-year-old now runs her own online business (www.tinythings.ie) at home selling handmade gifts. Previously she worked as a nurse and moved into a new field because she found it difficult to manage her home and family life. She believes that flexibility as well as women supporting one another is what the workplace would benefit most from.

"For the past 15 years I worked part-time at a clinic and also made handmade gifts in my spare time. I really did enjoy going out to work but the stress of doing two jobs and trying to balance family life got too much, particularly as making the gifts took up a lot of time.

"Overall my experience of going out to work is that it was challenging – I found it very difficult to juggle the two roles as well as looking after my family so I applied for a career break. Unfortunately this just wasn't possible – that was when I decided I really needed to choose one or the other as I couldn't go on the way I was and I resigned from the clinic.

"Throughout my career I've always strongly believed it is really important for women to support each other at work.

"Ultimately the problems are larger than just that, as I don't think there is enough understanding of the flexibility that working mothers, like me, genuinely need.

"It's all ended well for me. Now I work every morning while the kids are at school and collect them after. It's only been a few weeks since I resigned to embark on a new career that is more compatible with my family life but so far it's going great and I learnt so much from my previous roles too that will help me going forward." >Arlene Harris