10 Tips To Help New Moms Ease Back Into Work After Maternity Leave
Returning to work after maternity leave can be both an exciting and daunting prospect.
On one hand, you might be desperate to reconnect with your old life and have some much-needed adult conversation. On the other, you could be plagued with feelings of guilt at the thought of leaving your baby for the day.
For most women, it’s a combination of the two, and managing the balance effectively is not always easy.
Here are a few tips to help along the way.
1. Contact your work colleagues in advance
It’s possible that during your maternity leave you have had very little contact with your colleagues. After all, you’ve been busy with your new addition.
To make the return as smooth as possible it’s a good idea to contact your department a week or two before you are scheduled to return. Not only will you be preparing yourself for the new routine, but your coworkers will also remember to keep you in the loop from now on.
It’s a subtle reminder that you are back, and still very much part of the team.
2. Suggest a phased return
It’s perfectly normal to have a few concerns about going back to work following maternity leave.
Some women find that staggering their return is a great way for them to ease themselves into a new routine. It helps them to gradually get back into work mode and can help to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
You will be able to make sure that you are fully prepared when you return on a permanent basis, but you will also have had time to adjust to being away from your baby. It also gives you the opportunity to make sure you and your baby are happy with the childcare you have organized.
3. Be clear about your availability
Being out of the workplace for a while can result in a drop in self-confidence and you may have forgotten your worth within the business. Remember that you have earned this job, and you don’t need to compromise your life outside of work.
Be clear from the start about the hours you are prepared to work.
By setting out your requirements before you return you are taking control of your working life. More importantly, you are avoiding any future confusion, and everyone knows where they stand from the outset. Discuss flexible working if this is something that would help.
These days, the working week can look very different from person to person. You are likely to be one of many employees who can do their job better when there’s a bit of room for movement in terms of your days and hours worked.
4. Ask for help
You might feel a little out of touch with your old workplace after maternity leave. Aside from not having to think too much about work for some time, you may find that things have also moved on technologically. Or there may have been a shake-up from an HR perspective.
Whatever the situation, you are entitled to help and support upon your return to work. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it shows your dedication and desire to do a good job.
If you feel you need training in certain areas then ask for it. If there have been big changes while you have been away, ask for time to adjust and get used to the new way of things.
Your employer will want to get the best out of you, and they should be prepared to contribute to making that happen.
5. Keep up to date with changes
Things move quickly in this world. And it’s likely that some aspects of the role and even how to search for a job will have changed since you were last at work.
Whether that be from a company point of view, or from a countrywide or worldwide perspective. Staying abreast of the latest news, legislation, and developments in the human resources departments will help you to adjust to the return with minimum stress.
The more you know about what you are returning to, the better prepared you will be, and the transition from stay-at-home mom to working mom should be straightforward.
6. Manage your expectations
You will, no doubt, have played your return to work over and over in your head.
If you have been in touch with your employer prior to your return, then you will probably have a good idea of what has changed and what hasn’t. However, there is still no substitute for experience.
Until you are actually back in the workplace you won’t know exactly how you will feel or how your job or company may have changed. You are also likely to feel different than before, so don’t put pressure on yourself. Instead, try to embrace the changes and work with them.
Try to manage your expectations by expecting the unexpected and remaining flexible. If your idea of how it should be is too rigid you run the risk of being disappointed and a little thrown off balance.
7. The guilt trip
Mom guilt is no joke. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the considerable amount of advice out there. To return to work, or not?
Whatever you have decided, be prepared to question whether or not you are doing the best thing for you and your baby. The truth is, there is more than one right way to do it.
In fact, the best way is your way. Whatever works for you and your family is the only right decision.
So, expect to feel overwhelmed, guilty and unprepared. But be confident that these will be fleeting feelings and you will soon feel more relaxed about the choices you have made.
8. Get organized
Not only will you want to feel good about your ability to do the job, but you will also likely want to look the part too.
Following the birth, and possibly breastfeeding, you may have noticed that your body is not as it once was. Get familiar with some good shapewear to keep everything in place. Team that with your usual work attire, and you will feel like your old self again.
Some new moms may have concerns about sagging breasts after breastfeeding, so getting yourself a comfortable, supportive bra is imperative. It will help you to feel both at ease and professional, which will allow you to focus on the job at hand.
The minefield that is childcare!
For you to be effective at work it is vital that you are completely comfortable with your choice of childcare. Whether you have opted for a nursery, a nanny, or a family member is taking on the childcare role while you are at work, you need to know that your child’s needs are being met in your absence.
It’s also wise to have a good backup plan.
If your childcare provider lets you down, you need to have options. Knowing that this is all in place will ease your return to work and allow you to concentrate on your job.
10. Flexible mindset
Despite all your best efforts, all the preparation and arrangements you have made, it’s not unusual for your return from maternity leave to be different from what you were expecting. Don’t be surprised if things aren’t quite as you imagined they would be.
Instead, take a flexible approach and try to go with the flow. Nothing is set in stone, and there will always be something you can change to suit your lifestyle better.
Remember, it’s about what works for you, and you won’t fully understand what that is until you are in the thick of it.
So, be prepared, be flexible, but above all, be confident in your decisions. They are the right ones for you, and that’s really all that matters.
Additional articles you might be interested in:
- 3 Tools To Help You Organize Your Work-Life
- Working From Home: The Drawbacks And The Benefits
- 7 Self-Care Habits Of Highly Successful Entrepreneurs
- 10 Ways To Prioritize Self-Care As A Busy Entrepreneur
- How To Bust Your Own Glass Ceiling With Self-Care
- 8 Mommy Bloggers Slaying YouTube
- 6 Time-Saving Techniques To Help Working Moms Build Their Brand
- How Busy Working Moms Can Have It All
Grace Lopykinski is a blogging intern at LadyBossBlogger. She has graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Business Administration and a minor in English.