The Telegraph

5 April 2000

'Giving up work was best thing I did'

By Sally Pook
The Daily Telegraph/Electronic Telegraph (London, UK)

PERNILLE FINEGAN was earning £51,000 a year as head of a legal team at investment bank Barclays Capital when she became pregnant for the first time.

She expected to cut short her maternity leave, thinking she would be desperate to return to work. But as soon as her son Oscar was born, she found the opposite was true. Like thousands of other new mothers, she went back to work with a heavy heart, and stayed for less than seven months before making the decision to leave.

Mrs Finegan, who lives in Clapham, south London, said: "I thought I would be able to successfully combine work and motherhood. But because of the long hours, I found I was only seeing my son for a few minutes in the evening and morning. If I had wanted to carry on doing my job the way I had before, it would have meant giving up my family life."

The survey found that women in London were the most likely to think that motherhood jeopardised their career prospects and three times more likely to have a nanny. But faced with choosing between her career and her son, Mrs Finegan said: "I had to make a decision on what was more important to me, to be a mother and spend time with my child or to be a career woman.

"I didn't have to think very hard." Mrs Finegan, whose husband Conor, 38, runs a house building company, asked her employers if she could work part time. When this proved impossible she chose to leave Barclays Capital in September last year to be with Oscar, who is now 21 months old.

She said: "I have never looked back. It has been fantastic to spend this time with my son. I thought I may miss the money and the prestige of working in the City but I don't at all. I don't consider myself an archetypal housewife. I am always very busy. I would recommend it to any woman. My relationship with my son has changed so much. It is so much more harmonious."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2000.