It’s not uncommon to have a bit of anxiety when it’s time to go back to work after maternity leave. There are a lot of changes that have taken place. New mothers are allowed to feel overwhelmed by the change in pace and/or routine that going back to work entails.
Maybe your professional life adds a lot more stress to your life. Or perhaps you’re just dying to return to your old self when you were diving into your professional life, and motherhood feels great. However, you need other ways to stimulate that brainpower; therefore, you can’t wait to have that part of your life back!
Whatever the case, here are some tips on making the whole return less stressful for you!
It can be your first, second or third pregnancy. Every time is different, but the emotional rollercoaster is a sure thing to be there! You are no longer a working person; you are a working mom!
Make your way into professional realization, including your new identity, state of mind, health status, and the redefinition of your professional identity and passions. You can experience great joy in connecting with your work as a way to go back to your identity. It can be so but beware of returning to a place that, in your mind, is the same as before!
Review your career goals, and take joy in remembering good moments of your career to motivate yourself back, but take more time to be at ease.
You will need it to accommodate; it will be helpful to use all the work flexibility options available: work from home, gradually increase your tasks, and prioritize your goals. Take an opportunity to start part-time and use that opportunity for gradual return.
Work and talk with the leadership team at your company: about breastfeeding, about how you might not be able to take important meetings for several hours a day (when you need to do milk pumping, for example).
“When it comes to working parents, we need to understand the magnitude of the ask.”
Samantha Unrau, Global Director of Social Media Engagement Ops at Nike.
That means asking to be at important meetings while awake all night. That means asking for a lot, sometimes, especially when companies are asking employers to go back to the office.
Wherever you work, don’t forget to include restful moments to breathe, hydrate, and socialize by talking about your professional needs again.
Find other moms at different stages of return. It’s so nice to have spaces where you can be a mom and talk about mom things, even at the workplace! Also, allow for needed spaces to check on your baby!
Pack the routines you’ve been developing and try to do them more efficiently after maternity leave.
You already know how to check your baby’s behavior and act accordingly. So even if it changes, you already know how to adjust.
But you always want to be more efficient, right? What to plan for the following months?
First, prepare for the things you already know you will need: clothes and everything you will need in advance for some months so that the things you can sort in advance get sorted on time, like having a reliable plan for sick days or eventual things that might arise.
You’ve changed a lot in the last months, so stick to your routines for some time until you get settled. You have mastered the Flexi-routine superpower by now, so stick to it!
My current mantra is that there’s no way to be a perfect mama and a million ways to be a good one.
You’d be surprised at how quickly you can embrace the beautiful chaos that is life when you let go of the idea of perfection!
Ask for support to get more spaces to take care of your mental health at work.
Who can you trust to give you flexibility? How can you ask for more?
Keep in mind that now you have superpowers you can use to ask for flexibility or more understanding from your boss: you are more attuned to the needs of those around you, and your patience and love have been boosted.
Some helpful things to remember to take care of your mental health at work are:
- Have enough restful moments. Use them to drink some water, laugh with your colleagues, or just have a moment of silence.
- Connect with gratitude, fun, and the feeling of being enough from time to time.
- Fit in a decluttering day.
- Don’t forget you also have the right to develop professionally and get mentorship and support. One of the things you can do is participate in a mentorship program in your company. If there isn’t one, ask for it!
Trust yourself and get surrounded by support. You can do this if you really want to!
Don’t dwell on doubt and keep going. First, when you need to rest, rest. Then, when you can batch things, go and do it thoroughly!
It’s so easy to feel like you have to do it all as a mom. But taking these steps to say no when you have too much on your plate, ask for help when you need it, move your body, and find people you can count on will help you recharge your batteries and show up as the best mom you can be without feeling stressed. You don’t have to sacrifice your mental health to be a good mom. Instead, prioritizing your mental and emotional well-being will help you be a better mom.
Nobody wins you in love, empathy, and patience. You mastered those extraordinarily quickly!
Having confidence in yourself and your new skills is the base to use the superpowers you upgraded as a new mum to get a promotion when the right time comes, and you will know when.
That doesn’t mean you have to do everything by yourself, again. Self-confidence doesn’t exclude great support, it amplifies it! So let yourself be surrounded by all the help you can gather and make it an easy return!
You can visit my blog to read my thoughts on more aspects of parenting life as a working mother or schedule a free curiosity call to implement or reinforce an existing plan to transition back to work after maternity leave.
Bio: Gladys Simen – a life coach dedicated to helping working moms uncover their native genius and master career and motherhood with ease. For Gladys, becoming a mother was a turning point that helped her embrace her true self and connect with her authentic voice.
Becoming a mother was the wake-up call Gladys needed. She realized that the responsibility for being treated poorly, struggling to be seen and heard, lay not on her colleagues, but entirely on her. Becoming a mother made this crystal clear.
Today Gladys lives an authentic life, free to be herself and to use her own voice. She launched her coaching business “My Life Couch” where she holds the space for working mothers. Gladys welcomes these women onto her “couch” to discover how they can live boldly and authentically. Her natural talent for seeing potential in every individual helps women transform their lives: from career to relationships by uncovering these dormant superpowers/inner genius. When she is not guiding women to a more authentic life, she enjoys time with her husband and her fabulous duo in Toronto, Canada.