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  • Writer's pictureNat Harrison

How to Confidently Return to Work After Maternity Leave

Here are three things to focus on that can help you with the stress of returning to work from maternity leave and rebuilding your career confidence:

1. Adapt the mindset that this is a new job (even if it's not)

Returning to work after maternity leave can feel like starting a new job, even if it's not a new position. Even if the job hasn't changed, you have...

Approaching it with a fresh mindset can help you succeed. Give yourself 100 days to get up to speed, re-learn your job, and evaluate what's changed in the organisatìon. Embrace the opportunity to ask questions and learn as if you're starting from scratch. Using phrases such as "As I've not worked in this area for a while, things might have changed, so let's just pretend I don't know anything and take me through everything" or "I'm coming in with a fresh pair of eyes so it would be a good time to reevaluate how we do things."

Be kind to yourself during this transition. Don't put pressure on yourself to be aceing it from day 1 and practice self-compassion as you get back up to speed. Think strategically and take a step back. Use a helicopter view to understand what's changed and how you can make an impact. Don't assume the same priorities and culture will exist.

Think about how you want to be perceived in the workplace now - this is a chance to rebrand yourself and stop yourself from falling into previous bad habits. Used to stay late to catch up on work? Well, that won't be something you can sustain anymore so set boundaries that align with your new needs and priorities.

Don't rush to do more work - you've already proven yourself before you had kids. Take the time to reintegrate and re-establish networks, reconnect with colleagues, and build new relationships.

Present yourself at the office with confidence, wear clothes that make you feel good and do your hair/makeup (even if it's in the loos at 9 am) and give the image of a mum who's rocking both motherhood and her career, regardless of how you may feel inside neuroscience has proven, it will make you feel more confident! Embrace the opportunity to make a strategic comeback to your career.

2. Create new boundaries not only at your workplace but also in your family life

As you transition back to work from maternity leave, it's important to set clear boundaries and maintain open communication with your partner regarding work, career, and family responsibilities.

Finding a balance where both parents are involved in childcare responsibilities and agreeing some payment for days when you care for your child alone (even if you get paid £25 for the day) can help you feel valued for your childcare efforts and compensate for loss of earnings on those days.

Having a shared mindset with your partner and prioritising work-life balance can make it easier to transition back to a longer working week. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is essential for your overall well-being and that of your family.

3. Tempted to fully embrace the flexible work-from-home policy - well, don't be!

Get yourself in the office at least 2 days a week! It is important to be seen when you haven't been around for a while and being physically present in the workplace can help you understand what's important to management and the business quicker. Don't miss career opportunities by being out of mind, out of sight...

While working from home offers flexibility, being present in the office allows you to build relationships with colleagues, stay connected, and maintain a healthy work-life boundary.

Stepping out of the house and away from household chores can also work wonders for your productivity and wellbeing so don't hesitate to find opportunities to work in a different environment and give yourself a change of scenery.

Finding the right balance between work and family life can be challenging, but being fully present in the workplace and when you are at home can help you navigate this transition.

Just like there is no manual for "how to do maternity leave," there is also no manual for "how to end maternity leave."

It's normal to feel overwhelmed as you navigate the newness of being a parent while also adjusting to work. Understanding your thoughts and feelings can help you put strategies in place to support your transition back to work with more confidence and ease.

If you feel like you need some support either in helping you to transition back to your old role or find a new path, get in touch with me and let’s find a way that works for you and your new family!

Wishing you a fantastic return to work, Nat x


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