Back to work after maternity leave
When you return to work after having a baby, you will have the right to go back to your job – probably with the same tasks and conditions as before you went on maternity leave. However, internal processes and work practices might have changed in the office, and you have changed too, so for this reason here are some tips for those of you who have been raising children and are now going back to work.
To help you navigate some of these challenges, we’ve rounded up three pieces of advice from working moms on how to make your transition as smooth as possible:
Be patient and be kind to yourself
Expecting to walk into work as the same person you were when you left is the professional equivalent of expecting to wear your pre-pregnancy clothes out of the hospital after having the baby.
Don’t allow yourself to flood your head or your heart with negative thoughts and don’t worry too much about what’s not getting done fast, what you wish you could do, or what other people have done in your absence.
Going back to work will be a challenge at first so you should get support by choosing childcare at least a month before going back to work because while coping with commuting and long hours in the office, you are going to miss not having your baby with you and obviously it is not easy. So talk to other mothers you know, close friends and family. Sharing their experiences will make you realize that you’re not alone.
If you get a child carer it is important that you trust in her skills because a great nanny or daycare assistant will ease your mind tremendously and help you to stay connected at work. Those first few weeks, call her on breaks or go home for lunch if you can. As you adjust to your new schedule, you will find solutions that help you feel better.
Focus on the positives of working
Many women find it impossible to know before the birth how they will feel afterwards, so it is always a good idea to say you are coming back in order to keep your options open. If you decide later not to return you can resign from your job in the normal way so your notice period can run at the same time as your maternity leave.
Do plan regular reviews with your line manager. A weekly update with your boss during the first month is a useful way to talk about what is working well and to raise any issues that may arise. This also has the benefit of enabling you to appear professional and proactive. It will help your boss to realize that you’re adding value from day one.
by Daniela Bernardes Loyola O’Connor