MetLife's Mom Circles give new mothers the support, advice and resources to help make their return to work easier

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MetLife support group helps new mothers thrive at work

MetLife support group helps new mothers thrive at work

MetLife understands the difficulties of balancing working life and raising a family. That's why two MetLife women set up their own Mom Circles, networking groups that provide new mothers peer support to help them thrive after parental leave.

"We decided to pilot a Mom Circle to help working moms navigate their new normal – both at home and at the office," says AVP Pam Yousey of Global Diversity & Inclusion.

Providing powerful peer support

It was clear to MetLife that the power of peer support was vital to those returning from maternity leave. Pam, a mother of older children and fellow MetLife employee, Liz Curran – a new mum who was part of the pilot Mom Circle - have since led five more circles and are considering the idea of a global rollout to MetLife mothers with children under the age one.

“The participants included women from different teams and backgrounds at our company, but we all shared this common experience," says VP Kim Gordon of Retirement & Income Solutions Product and Pricing, and mother to now 14-month-old Parker. For Kim, the circle created a different network to turn to with regard to issues not necessarily relevant within one's own social network.

"Usually, a Ted Talk video or a relevant article starts our discussions, but more often than not, the conversation ends up going in a natural direction, based on what we are dealing with at the time,” says Kim. “It’s a non-judgmental forum where we talk and we listen; listening is such a powerful tool that not only helps others but you as well.”

Offering vital advice on parenthood 

MetLife mothers support group

Dallas-based financial consultant at MetLife India McLucas is also a new mother. Her two sons, Jathan and Archer, are 13 and two, respectively. Mom Circles represent an impactful new benefit since the last time she returned from maternity leave.

Coming back to work at MetLife after Archer was born was completely different from her time with Jathan. "The parental leave we have is phenomenal. When I looked at Archer at eight weeks old, I knew he wasn't ready – and neither was I. When I was ready to go back to work, he'd started eating solids. It was such a blessing to have that time to spend with him." 

India returned to work and the new Mom Circles. "Having kids does not come with a handbook," she says. "There are books, there are a million articles, and everyone offers advice, but you have to do what you feel is right."

"As women, a lot of times we'll alienate ourselves because of what we're going through," adds India for whom the comfortable and confidential nature of the circle allowed her to discuss anything; this helped reassure the new mothers that what they were experiencing – physical and emotionally – was totally normal.

Helping women return to work

As the circles progress, so do the members. "What was really fascinating to me was when we first started, you could feel that everyone was just trying to re-balance – or get used to their new normal," explains Kim. "But by the end, the conversation had shifted more to focusing on things like asking for a promotion or how to think about the next step in your career. It was encouraging to see this whole group going through the journey of being back at work together."

Giving access to resources

Another result of the circle discussions is that they often help give new moms access resources – like MilkStork breast milk shipping resource for business travel – which they may not have been aware of without the support network. 

Members look forward to the sessions and the relaxed, honest atmosphere they provide. "People would show up (on video) perhaps less formally than they would in the office; some even joined from vacation," says Kim, who points out that everyone made the circle a priority. 

Putting yourself first

"It was always a nice vibrant break in the day to join the circle and speak with women who you know are going through the same things you are," comments India. "It's very easy to put the needs of others – your baby, your spouse – before your own. This is another opportunity to take time for yourself, to address your needs. I'm thankful that this is something MetLife does for us."

Join a company that will support your career decisions

MetLife has plenty of initiatives in place for women who don't want to choose between work and starting a family. If you want a job that provides flexibility, research MetLife's current job vacancies and see where your strengths and interests might take you.

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