We all know that feeling. That blissful feeling at 8.5months pregnant when you wave your colleagues off and skip (waddle) off in to the horizon to start your new life as a mummy. You have an absolute lifetime off! In fact, a full year (or 9 months, however long your blessed to have off) feels like your never actually returning.
Except it sounds like a long time, but in actual fact, that year passes by quicker than you can blink and you find yourself on a Monday morning kissing your little ones goodbye and trudging up the path to work!
Whether you come off maternity leave back in to full time work or part time work the transition is really difficult. A lot has happened in the time you’ve been away and it’s important to make sure you are properly prepared in order to make life easier for yourself, your family and your work colleagues.
So here are my top tips to help you make that return to work easier after maternity leave.
- Attend “KIT” days. A lot of work places today offer “Keep in touch” days where you can attend work for a morning/afternoon or full day, fully paid in order to catch up with what’s happening at work, attend important meetings and generally remind yourself about how to do the job! You can have up to 10 KIT days in most work environments but check with your HR team to find out what your employer offers.
- Sort your childcare out in plenty of time and make sure you are comfortable with it and that they are flexible. Arrange a meeting with your employer around 8 weeks before you are due back to work and see if they can offer you anything that makes your childcare situation easier such as set working days, shorter working hours, flexi time etc.
- If you are still breastfeeding when you return to work, make sure that your employer knows about it. They should ensure that you have regular short refreshment breaks and that you have a suitable private place to express breastmilk and store it if necessary. Again, speak to your HR team if you are unsure of your employee rights.
- Prepare. The first day will be chaos as you try to figure out your new routine. Make your lunch and layout your clothes the night before and make sure your bag is all packed and ready to go. It’s also helpful to have your children’s belongings/clothes all ready the night before too so your not rushing around in the morning and you don’t turn up at work shattered before you’ve even started!
- Get rid of the guilt. Easier said than done and I definitely need to practice what I preach but getting rid of the mummy guilt about going to work will make life a lot easier. Whether you have to go back to work for financial reasons or whether you want to go back to work because you want to do something for you make sure you don’t feel guilty about it. Your children will be fine, they wont have abandonment issues nor will they feel less loved. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you will enjoy your time with them a lot more on your days off.
I hope this was helpful. Enjoy your return to work!