Returning to work after maternity leave
For some it’s a daunting time, the prospect of going back to your ‘old’ job – the one before your Little Pickle turned your brain to mush, whereas others relish the thought of getting their feet under the desk for adult conversation and hot cups of coffee.
You probably had days when you thought work was tough before you went on maternity leave, but now you’re about to become a working mum and believe me – that’s a whole new ball game!
We’ve put together some handy tips to ensure your transition and return to work has you ace’ing your new work and parenting routine.
- KIT Days – take advantage of your KIT day allowance (you’re allowed ten during your maternity leave), not only do they earn you a day’s wages to top up your SMP but it also keeps you in touch with your colleagues and the business – so you’re not completely in the dark when you return
• Choose and agree days/hours to suit–speak with your manager or HR to ascertain the days that you would like to go back – maybe you are in a situation where you can go back part-time or reduced hours, it’s well worth getting it all agreed in advance so you can work out your childcare options
•Research and feel happy with your nursery/childcare choice. Finding it all a bit of a minefield? Check out our handy childcare choices checklist here
• Enjoy being you again – at work, your role doesn’t define your personality like it can when you’re on maternity leave, you can enjoy just being a person again as opposed to just being known as ‘Henry’s mummy’at a baby group
• An excuse to update your wardrobe – even if it is your work one! You want to feel good when you return to work, the last visions of you were probably a waddling pregnant lady not able to see her feet so it’s nice to feel good on your return
• Be prepared! Get everything out the night before; your clothes, pickles clothes, your packed lunch, the pickles bag (complete with plenty of changes of clothes!). Being prepared the night before ensures you don’t forget anything and helps you not run around in the morning in a complete tizz
• Leave yourself more time than necessary; strapping flailing babies into car seats always add on extra precious minutes to your previously relaxing drive to work
• Enjoy your lunch break! Ooh, hot drinks and hot food, or even just cold drinks and simple sandwiches. Either way – enjoy them without a small person pulling at your legs wanting to ‘try some’ or needing a poo just as you sit your bum down on the chair
• Don’t worry about the housework –don’t worry about trying to schedule the household chores in for the first few weeks back. Getting into the swing of things at work is tiring initially and throw into that the new evening routine for your little one too – the housework can wait
• After your first week back, celebrate! You made it, crack open the wine and give yourself a humongous pat on the back
• Above all, make your biggest goal to achieve a happy work/life balance.
Remember – it does get easier.
I speak from experience with doing this twice over. Having the heavy pit of doom in your tummy, the sobbing as you leave your little pickle at their nursery settling sessions and the dreaded night before ‘D-Day’ where you wake numerous times thinking you have overslept your alarm and you’re going to be late on your first day back. [I had this and I was the one who was looking forward to going back to work!]
What at the time seems like the biggest separation you’ll ever face. Soon becomes just another milestone ticked off on the parenting journey. The getting ready/drop off and getting yourself to work on time (with matching shoes on and no sick on your shoulder) soon becomes a normal part of your everyday routine and just another offshoot of the branch we call family life. It may take you a week, it may take you a month but try to think of the positives – your little pickle is being cared for and enjoying spending time with other people, widening their social circle and skills, whilst allowing you a bit of ‘adult’ time and with the money that you’re earning you can splash out on treats for them!
Written by Jess from Prosecco Mum, you can follow her on all the socials below