Returning to work after maternity leave is a big moment in your life.
Even if you were rocking your career before you had a baby, getting back to work requires a lot of time and stress management, and a lot of women may feel pretty overwhelmed.
These simple tips will help you effectively balance work with parenting and prevent burnout in the early stages of transition.
#1 Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
Your life has drastically changed after you brought a baby to this world, so don’t expect the same level of dedication after you get back to work. It’s normal to feel a lot of frustration and self-doubt while you clean the rust off your skills and refine your working routine.
You’re not alone: many people consider quitting a job within the first five years of becoming a parent because — let’s be honest — your little one needs a lot of attention.
However, if you’re determined to find the balance between your work and personal life, you can approach this in two ways.
You can adjust to your new working schedule incrementally. Taking a few days a week will help you prioritize your tasks and reschedule your week. Plus, it will help you re-learn the essential skills needed for work, so when the moment comes, you can switch to a full-time schedule more prepared.
If you need a change in the environment after a few years of parenting, you can jump into your full-time responsibilities right away. This might be a great way to accelerate your career if you know what to do. Plus, a higher position on the career ladder might mean more flexible hours, which leaves you more time to spend with the baby. So, prepare in advance and look at what skills you need to hone to get a promotion.
It would also be a good idea to ask your boss to fill you in on all the work details you’ve missed due to the maternity leave. Ideally, you should contact them before you decide to get back to work or shortly after, so you can direct your energy and resources accordingly.
Finally, manage your expectations. Even if you come up with the razor-sharp plan for your return, your life as a parent will still make adjustments to this plan. Make sure that you stay flexible and adapt to change in the environment.
#2 Pay Attention to Your Time
Parental leave is a great time to reflect on what you want from your career and see how your ambitions change. It’s also a good time to set the goals on your return, and these goals should be loud and clear.
First, you might want to reconsider your working hours and align them with the daycare or nanny’s schedule, if you plan to hire one. If you use a commute, calculate how much time you need to get to the daycare and then to work and back. Do the same for personal transport.
Generally, learn to analyze how you spend your time, both at home and at work. By doing so, you’ll get the idea of your blind spots and learn to use them more efficiently.
It’s also good to ask your supervisor for feedback from time to time to see how things are going and how you adjust to a new schedule.
Finally, don’t hesitate to ask your partner for help. Parenting takes two, and continual conversations, as well as planning the family time together, can go the long way and relieve some stress you might experience during your first weeks at work.
#3 Reframe Your Mindset
Most advice on maternity leave is written for a job that was fulfilling before you had a baby.
But what if you decided to quit because of an unhealthy climate in the team or projects that made you think you don’t live up to your goals? Or you just don’t want to spend 2-3 hours driving from home to work and vice versa?
You can easily work from home with basically any set of skills!
Today, there are numerous sites for students where they can order essay to ease the academic workload. And you can use your skills for writing papers or research works right from the comfort of your home and get a pretty solid paycheck. Plus, you will have flexible hours and more time with the baby.
#4 Build a Support Network
Another thing that might concern you if you decide to return after maternity leave is re-establishing the relationship within your team.
A lot has changed while you were absent, and sometimes you might need to reintegrate as if you were the newcomer and not the leading professional. Here are some tips that help you make this reintegration smooth for both sides.
Introduce Your Baby to Colleagues
If you’ve maintained your connection with the team during the parental leave, you can introduce them to a new part of your life. It can be as casual as your new group chat photo with your little one, or a video call from home to let your team know that you’ll be returning to your responsibilities soon.
Maternity leave and dedicating your whole time can be a pretty isolating experience. That’s why it’s important to have a relationship outside your family bubble, and communication with colleagues is a great way to do this. You probably won’t be able to take part in every social event, but going for lunch together or having a quick chat during the coffee break will help you reintegrate into your team more quickly and catch up on important news.
Getting back to work after maternity leave shouldn’t be painful for everyone. Taking small steps, being consistent, and leaving some time for yourself are the keys to a big success. And these tips will help you build an effective strategy and minimize harm!