Saturday 3 March 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Returning to Work after Maternity

Mother and Baby Image, thanks to Pixabay

Not so long ago you were preparing for the arrival of your little bundle of joy. You were setting up the nursery, getting hold of all sorts of paraphernalia - bibs, baby grows, toys and soothers, and eagerly awaiting for the initial pangs of labour to kick in. Your other half had got the hospital bag, you were eating spicy food to try and kick-start your baby's entry into the world, and you couldn't wait to start your new life as a family of three. Fast forward twelve months and you’ve had a year off with your little one and you’re relishing the joys of mummy hood, but the time has come to go back to work. Perhaps this terrifies you? You don’t know if you can leave your little darling in the hands of a stranger, albeit a well-qualified professional, and you panic that going back to the world of employment will make you a bad mother.

Hang on - Take a step back and assess your situation. Maybe going back to work is a positive step. You will have the chance to reconnect with colleagues and friends, and you’ll have the chance to be professionally fulfilled once again. You won’t have to spend twenty-four hours a day speaking baby babble, and you can have an adult conversation. You’ll be able to challenge yourself and continue your professional development. While you may ache to return to work, you may also fear the pangs of missing your precious offspring. This is normal and shows just how much you unconditionally love your child. However, heading back to work will never make you a bad mum.

Part Time Or Full Time
If venturing back into the throes of full-time work leaves you reaching for a brown paper bag and developing heart palpitations, you need to reconsider how much time you can dedicate to your job. Returning to work full time will result in a greater financial contribution to the family home, but it could also mean a higher childcare bill and less time spent with your toddler during his or her formative years. If you can afford it, consider heading back to work part-time or enquire about working from home more often. Many employers are now welcoming the concept of flexible working with open arms. They appreciate that a happy employee is a productive employee, so by proving your worth when working from the comfort of your own sofa, you could find the perfect balance between your work life and mummy hood.

Working Mom Image, thanks to Shutterstock

It’s only natural that the idea of heading back to the office after a year or so away is going to be daunting. The ethos of the workplace may have changed, the hierarchy may be different, methodologies may have advanced and the technology used may have shifted. You might have to relearn, adapt and make changes to your own skill set in order to settle back into your role. Perhaps before you head back into the world of employment, you may want to complete a professional qualification, such as an MBA to enhance your knowledge and help you develop some much-needed self-confidence.

By using some of your twelve months away from work to up skill, retrain or enhance your talents, you can keep your toes in the water even when you’re changing a nappy, expressing some milk or taking your little one to a baby group.

Although you may be anxious about returning to work, you can try and mitigate these feelings by keeping in touch with work while you are away. Many may think you are crazy for wanting to keep in touch but this can help ease the shock of walking back into the office after a year away. When your little bundle of joy is born, it’s only natural that you’ll receive some flowers and a card from work. Take your little one into the office and introduce him or her to the staff team. If you’ve made solid friendships at work, it’s right that you will want to stay in touch during your year off and feel a little more clued up about the office politics on your return.

It’s important that you don’t feel guilty about returning to work after your maternity leave. Women all across the globe choose to be working mums and for good reason. You are showing your little ones that women can be independent, earn a living, be successful and still be excellent mums. It’s all about balance. Now that you’re a mum, your priorities may have shifted from being 100% career driven to having softened in this regard. Instead of worrying non-stop about an all-important presentation, this concern may be replaced by worry about your little one’s teething problems.

When you go back to work, you need to be strict with your time and not allow your professional world to encroach on your quality family time. If you are heading out for dinner but a late night business call is going ahead, don’t feel guilty about having to miss this out of hours meeting. Your family now comes first. Remember, you are not indispensable, and your work colleagues will survive without you; they did for the past twelve months. At the same time, if your little one is taking part in his or her first Christmas nativity play at nursery and it clashes with a work conference, you have a tough decision to make. Don’t forget though, you’ll never again get to see their first performance These are memories that you need to savour.

Return To Work
While you may have considered whether or not to go back full time or part time, you might not have considered taking a chance on a new career. While you have been away from the office, you may have fallen out of love with accounting, marketing, IT integration or whatever it is your previous role may have been. Instead, you may have a new passion. Often becoming a new mum can open up many more doors professionally. If the thought of leaving your little darling is too much to bear, you could follow in the footsteps of many other first time parents and set up your own business. This could be doing the same role as you did before but in a freelance capacity, or it could be a whole new business venture. You might enjoy writing, photography, papercraft or baking. Whatever it is that you adore, see if you can turn this passion into a money-making venture.

Welcoming your little miracle into the world is overwhelming. The first twelve months nurturing this little human being and making sure they are loved, healthy and well cared for will take every ounce of your being. Relinquishing responsibility for this can be trying, and you may find that you aren’t ready to return to work or that you simply don’t want to leave your little one. On the other hand, you may be chomping at the bit and eager to reconnect with the world of adults and get stuck into your career once again. Every woman is different, and every choice available to a woman after their initial maternity leave has ended is valid. Do what is right for you and your family - they are your priority.

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