It can be very nerve wracking returning to work after maternity leave. The combination of worry about leaving your new born and fears about adjusting to your role again after so much time away can make the experience quite daunting for any mother.
Rthirteen’s Business Director Ruth Harding was on hand to talk about her biggest fears and advice when coming back from maternity leave:
“My biggest bit of advice is NOT to worry about your return to work!
I remember feeling nervous about my return after having my little girl, my daily thought process in the lead up erratically jumped around from “would I still remember what to do”, “will I be able to handle being a mother and running a business” … “will everyone remember who I am”! I think these feelings are completely natural and what many women may think about towards end of their maternity leave. But I can safely say that all my initial fears completely disappeared on my official first day back in the office, as actually working in recruitment is what I did KNOW. Motherhood on the other hand not so much! So actually, the transition back was really easy, recruitment has been my career for the past 20 years and I literally fell straight back into the normal day to day and loved it! I am not denying working and being a mum brings lots of challenges, as you have even less time than before and of course the guilt of leaving your little person! But continuing to work personally is a big part of who I am as a person, so for me and my family it was definitely the best decision.”
Here are some other tips we came up with to help you settle back in:
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to jump back in straight where you left off. Starting back with a full work week will be very tiring, so it may be easier to see if you can start back on a Wednesday or Thursday, so that your first week is a bit easier as you begin to adjust to balancing work and motherhood.
Look to see if you work offers Keeping In Touch days during your maternity leave. These days are designed to help you keep in touch with your workplace and take on a few hours of work without affecting your Statutory Pay. This could be coming in for a normal day of work, training course or a couple hours just to get things organised.
Be mindful that you’re only entitled to Keeping in Touch days if you are eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay, regardless of the hours you work.
Your new work routine is going to completely different now that you must take your little ones into account. It may involve packaging baby bags, dropping your child off at daycare or nursery.
To make sure your morning isn’t too hectic, plan ahead. Plan out your work outfit, and maybe a spare in case things get messy in the morning. Do a trial run of your routine including setting an alarm, dropping your child off with carers and commuting to work, as this will make it less stressful when you have to do it for real.
It also helps to have a back up plan as there will inevitably come a day where your child is sick or needs to go for a doctor’s appointment, but you have an important meeting you can’t miss, so it’s good to plan back up child care for when these situations arise, so you know who will dealing with them. Whether it your parents, in-laws or a babysitter, make sure you have a back up for those unexpected moments.
It always nice when you know other people in the same situation as you, so it may it be good for you to seek out support groups for working mums. A great website to help you find other working mothers is https://mumsmeetup.com/, this website allows you to chat, network and arrange meet ups with other mums in your area.
If is possible with your job, it may be easier to work from home a couple days a week when you first return. This will allow you to balance your parental responsibilities with your workload with less difficulties.
Settling back in may be difficult and some things may have changed, so don’t be afraid to ask questions that will help you get back up to speed.
Your first days with your new baby may have been tough and so will the first days back at work, but give yourself time to settle in and maybe plan some fun family time for the future, so you have something to look forward to.
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