Here we look at six tips for managing the transition as smoothly as possible.
1] Don’t rush yourself
The most difficult part of returning to work after the birth of a child is often deciding when to do it. Many mothers fear leaving their babies too soon after birth, but feel obligated to return to the workplace as quickly as possible.
Try not to rush into a decision until you have given yourself enough time to think about what you truly want. Knowing the legal implications of pregnancy and maternity leave for your employer and their responsibilities to you can help to put your mind at rest. Remember that there is no ‘right time’, only the right time for you.
2] Consider your options
Perhaps you worked full-time in a demanding environment before your baby came along, but now feel full-time working is not an option. Do not limit yourself; plenty of parents are able to juggle full-time work with the demands of raising a family.
By applying for both full-time and part-time roles, you are increasing the chances of landing a position you really want and that will fit with your skill set. Many full-time roles involve some scope for flexibility, as discussed in our next point.
3] Be flexible
Many mothers returning to the workplace following maternity leave worry about combining the demands of working with the needs of a baby. Have a conversation with your boss: could you work for longer over a couple of days to accrue enough time to give you an extra day off each week? Are there opportunities to work from home?
Many bosses are open to such requests, providing you play your part in making such an arrangement worth their while.
4] Believe in yourself
Becoming a parent and taking time away from a working environment can knock your confidence. Before returning to work, remind yourself of your strengths – you are just as capable as you were before your baby came along. Any skills and experience garnered over your pre-baby career are as valid now as they have always been.
5] What have you learned?
Having children comes with its own set of challenges and is an excellent learning experience. Try to apply the new skills you have acquired to your work, such as multi-tasking, solving problems, or simply the ability to empathise with people more than you could pre-baby. While perhaps not suitable to include in your CV, these new skills can be invaluable in the workplace.
6] Do not give up
Although looking for work can be discouraging, thinking outside the box when hunting for jobs can be very useful. Online job sites are helpful, but try not to use them exclusively. Old colleagues might know of positions opening up in your field, or a friendly email to a relevant business or person might pay dividends.
Returning to work after having a baby can be daunting; however, with careful thought and good planning, it can lead to a fresh start for many mothers.
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