Surviving the return to work after maternity leave

There are a ton of issues faced by mothers when they return to work after maternity leave. Some of them, are familiar to many women, others will be very personal to your own situation.

There are of course the exceptions. There are companies out there who support their female staff during maternity leave, make them feel valued on their return, and work with women to ensure a smooth and supportive transition back into the workplace. These companies are often the ones which pride themselves on offering a good work/life balance and flexibile options.

This is not the majority though, far from it if you talk to women returning to work.

A ton of issues

Firstly, you have to get over the hurdle of finding secure, affordable and flexible childcare. Then, if you manage that, many women struggle with feeling unsupported and isolated on their return to work. So much so, that many women consider handing in their notice during the first year of their return to work.

What was your experience?

I returned to work full time after having my first two children. I wasn’t able to carry on breastfeeding as there were no facilities at my place of work. We did have a flexi-time system, but it was almost impossible to build up any flexi-time because I only had the time when my children’s nursery was open, and they were already the first to arrive and the last to leave.

I had to make a change three months after returning to work after my second child was born as it just didn’t work. That’s when my working from home journey began.

A few helpful tips

If you are planning on returning to work, here are a few tips that might help ease you back in:

  • Use your Keeping In Touch Days (KIT) wisely – it does help you stay in the loop and ensures everyone else doesn’t forget you exist
  • Write down everything you achieve each day, however small – it will be more than you think
  • Take one day at a time – except that you and your family need a period of transition. Life will be different and work will be different AND the way you feel about both will be different
  • Share the load with your partner if you have one
  • Batch cook
  • Accept that things don’t need to be perfect
  • Try and be fully present both at work and home – it takes practice
  • Drink a sh*t load of coffee, tea, hot chocolate – whatever keeps you going!
  • Make sure you plan things to look forward to
  • Equally don’t over plan the first few weekends you are back
  • Try to appear reliable, punctual and unflappable – even if you really aren’t for a while
  • Support other women in the same position as you

How have you managed the return to work? Do let us know in a comment below.

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