Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
August 30, 2018 / Sharnie Carter
You’ve sorted your childcare and agreed your return to work date with your employer: it’s time to go back to work.
Maternity leave has been a period of mixed emotions for many mothers.
- Joy of becoming a parent…
- Stress due to lack of sleep and the possibly new responsibility…
- Worry about financial issues…
And amongst them all, you forget about the upcoming event of returning to work.
“I don’t want to leave my child with a stranger… what if I am no longer good at my job?… how am I going to have time to work and be a mother?…”
Sound familiar? But don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
These are very common thoughts for many mothers at this time of their lives. And there’s no solution that will suit everyone; what you decide to do depends on how you feel.
We can, however, offer some helpful tips that can help you make the right decision for you:
Plan in advance
This sounds like a simple tip, but it happens to be something that people tend to forget the most when returning to work. Time goes by quicker than we anticipate and before you know it, you will be on your first commute back.
Take the time to discuss your return to work date. Perhaps go back on a Tuesday or a Wednesday – not only does it give you a few extra days off, your first week will also be shorter and therefore less daunting.
Know what is best for you
Some people go back to work part time, as they are not comfortable being thrown in at the deep end. Or others find that part-time childcare is more beneficial in more ways than one.
Sit down and think about what works best for you. It’s okay to delay going back, it’s okay to go back part time, and it’s okay to work full time. It’s okay to do what you want to do.
Ask for help if you need it
Motherhood is a full-time career in itself. To then add on another full-time career is a big task, so it’s not surprising if you need to ask for help.
There may be family members who can help with childcare; your employer may allow you to work flexible hours; friends can give advice on how they handled this situation. There are always people available to help when you need it.
Take some time for yourself
A lot of mothers focus entirely on their children, which is great. But what use are you to a new-born child if you are sleep-deprived and stressed?
Find some time every day to relax and do something for you. It can be something as small as having a cup of tea alone in the garden or going for a 15 minute walk; it will all help.
Returning to work can be daunting. The average maternity leave lasts between 3 and 6 months, and that is a long time to not have been working. But have some confidence. You were able to do your job before so what’s to stop you being able to do it now?
If you do feel a dip in confidence, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your employer will want you to be the best you can, and they will be willing to help in any way possible.
So give yourself a break. It is a big step and you are welcome to manage it in any way that suits you.
Don’t worry, you got this!