Maternity leave – blink and you might miss it. You have enjoyed the time off with your precious child and have negotiated your return to work.
It starts to play on your mind. It’s like a niggle at first gently reminding you that your days at home are numbered.
So many things to consider for the changing times ahead and the plan will have military precision in order to make returning to work not only work for you but also for your child and your employer.
Here are a few hints to make the transition easier.
The Care Plan
You may have been the only one looking after your little one most of the day and here you are about to start leaving them for full days with other people. As well as planning their bedding, lunch boxes etc it is also a good idea to factor in a bit of flexibility. Other people will not always do things ‘your way’ and the sooner you are happy to accept this the less agitated you will be when things do not always go to plan. What are you happy to be flexible about? And what are your non-negotiables? Thinking about these things in advance will enable you to feel more relaxed about your Care Plan.
Jacket of Confidence
Stepping back into the office on that first day. What will I wear? The trusty black trousers don’t do up! Get a jacket that is an old favourite put that and put on a stack of confidence. So when preparing your go to work wardrobe feel comfortable to feel confident.
Do you know who I am?
Hopefully you have kept in touch with a few people at work and been involved in communications during your absence. When returning to work it is worth while reconnecting with your colleagues and finding out who may have joined the company. One thing I have suggested to previous clients is to search on Linked In for colleagues old and new and start connecting or reconnecting with them. Find out who has moved on or up. This will get you in the mindset of work. When you meet people in the office you can Wow them with the fact you know about their promotion or new job.
Hamster on a wheel
Being part of the flexible working workforce (previously referred to as Part-Timers!) brings its own set of challenges. When you are at work you do actually ‘work’ cutting out the office gossip lunch in order to meet a deadline so you can get home to pick up your little one. You need to work out what to do when you are not in the office – do you want to take calls at home or can you check your emails remotely? Setting up your own rules will help manage others expectations too. You will no doubt be multi-tasking at great speed. Working in both roles may be hard at times. You will feel like you are working a double-shift as you wake with the birds and prepare lunch boxes when you should be in bed.
Yes that’s right you are still entitled to a career path. Just on different terms. So much has been written about how you career can end when you have children. So let’s buck this trend. You still need to factor in a performance review, salary review and generally have a feeling of progression within your career. If you instigate this first review, your boss will be impressed that you are thinking ahead, being conscientious and have interest in your career.
Be kind to yourself
Returning to work is hard. There is a mix of emotions as you walk away from your child on that first day. Some may feel guilty others excited to be getting some time out. Every parent that has done it before you will tell you it does get easier. You can start to look forward to your days off where you can focus on having fun and adventures.
And on the days where it doesn’t go to plan? Be kind to yourself.