When I was on maternity leave, I met a whole group of women. Women who I would have never had the opportunity to meet at any other stage of my life.

These women supported me, cried with me, laughed with me and listened to my problems. Women I met at library circle time, who had only known me for five minutes, were now listening to me talk about my breastfeeding challenges.

This is what motherhood does. It creates bonds. It creates a place where you connect with other mothers. You feel their pain. You nod knowingly as they explain the trauma of their child’s first injury and the excitement of first steps.

Then I went back to work.

And while these women were still around on weekends and for the odd evening out, I felt alone.

I had returned to a place where talking about my life as a parent was discouraged. Motherhood and ambition didn’t seem to be two words that fit together well – and I felt alone.

There were groups for moms on maternity leave. Groups for moms who homeschooled. Groups for moms of picky eaters – but no group for working moms.

I nervously started a Facebook group called ‘Moms at Work’ thinking maybe I could start a space for working moms to connect – MAYBE I could get 100 people in that group. We could be our own network!

One year later, the Facebook Group has over 1200 very engaged members. These are women who not only understand the struggle but share in each other’s triumphs. Women who have opened their personal networks, met up for coffee chats and shared jobs.

A few months ago, I reached out to another mom – Colette Abbott, who felt the same way.

Together we decided to bring our online community into the real world. Together we created Motherworks.

Our goal? To help working moms thrive. To build community through events and networking opportunities. To create resources and programs to support moms at work, at home and beyond.

If you’re in Toronto, we hope you’ll join us for our first Motherworks conference on Tuesday, April 16th. #OwningIt: Making Self Employment Work For You will explore what it takes to work as a consultant, freelancer or launch your own business and have a life outside of work. Through open and honest conversations, these inspiring women will share their personal stories and advice with an audience of over 60 modern moms.

We hope to see you there! To find out about future events, be sure to join our mailing list.

What has your return-to-work experience been like? We’d love to hear from you and consider your feedback when developing our programs and events.