Returning to work after maternity leave can bring lots of mixed emotions – worry, excitement, and everything else in between. There’s no one-size-fits-all to the best way to handle it all. But we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to get you started:
Plan, plan, plan
Even down to factors like the day you return. For example, try and make your return day mid-week, so you can have a shorter week to ease yourself into the new lifestyle. Make sure you plan how your new routine is going to work, from arrangements like childcare and pick up/drop offs.
Or, if you’ve accrued holidays while on maternity leave, you could possibly use these for the first few weeks so that you’re only working three-day weeks, before going back to full time. Giving yourself more time to adjust will make the process easier!
Tone down the baby talk
We don’t mean to sound a little bit nasty with this one. Of course, all your co-workers really want to here about your baby and how your maternity leave was. There’s absolutely no harm in a little bit of bragging about how amazing your new-born is.
But, constantly telling everyone how much you miss them will let the negative thoughts take over and you’ll struggle more. Happy thoughts – try focusing on the excitement of seeing them later in the day rather than moping about the now.
You’re likely going to feel a little bit out of the loop when you first return. Even down to the office gossip and what your colleagues have been up to, it’s good to take time to talk to people and feel connected again. Then, you can tell them all about that riveting episode of Peppa Pig that you’ve seen about 16 times already!
It’s well within your rights to have a chat with your employer about flexible working. Especially if this is something that hasn’t already been discussed. If you feel like this could be more beneficial to you, then there’s no harm in asking. Even if this involves reducing your hours down to part time, it’s about finding the routine that works for you.
Be good to yourself
When you’re worrying about your baby and worrying about all the work you need to do, it can be easy to forget to do the things that make you happy. Even if this is making sure you’re not staying up late scrolling through Facebook so you can get a little bit more sleep, or committing to social events that you really can’t be bothered to go to.
Also, nothing helps returning to work like ordering some new clothes. We can’t deny it helps us feel good!
A word of advice:
We asked our client success manager, Laura, what it was like returning to work after having her son:
“I returned to work in January 2018 after being on maternity leave for 12 months. It was a strange couple of weeks leading up to this point as I tried to cram in as many days out and activities with my little boy as possible before the day came to hand him over to parents and childcare.
However, what I will say is that whilst you miss your child (especially in those first few days) it is nice to be able to take a lunch break and have an hour to yourself! You can also look forward to picking them up at the end of the day when you are greeted with huge smiles and cuddles as they are as pleased to see you as you are to see them.
Also, I do think that it is good to get into a new routine, both for you and baby. When I returned I reduced my hours to four days a week and the extra day really helps – it’s not as bad as you think it’s going to be :)”
It doesn’t have to be as daunting as you think. You’ll settle into your new routine faster than you think and there’s always help at hand if you need it. Just make sure you’re well prepared!