Tips When Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

Posted: Monday November 15 2021

By: Abbie Coleman

What's ahead can seem daunting and sometimes unachievable, but you can find the right balance when ensuring you're working towards what works for you and not what works for others.

Tips When Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

Before your focus was on your due date and big day, it has now come round to facing the working world again. When you’re returning to work, and the end of your maternity leave is approaching, facing leaving your new baby and maybe having to settle your baby into a nursery setting, and even that first day and first week can seem daunting and sometimes unachievable for new parents. You can find the right balance and get back into the swing of things to find your new routine when you’re working towards what works for you and not what works for others. You might not get it right the first time; it’s early days to find your feet but knowing the best thing that works for you will help you get there faster. Follow our tips when returning to work after maternity leave. So what are MMB Magazines tips when returning to work after maternity.

What Do You Want In Your Return After Maternity Leave?

It’s a simple question, but it’s the key to your happiness and family. Before heading back to work, know what you want and need before speaking about your return with your manager or HR department; you have had a significant change that’s made a big difference and shifted your life and emotions, so don’t underestimate this. Have a starting point and understand what you can compromise on and what is essential for you; this could include changes in your role to a different direction and different job. Once you know if you want more time at home, more time at work, flexibility on hours or location, picking up the pace with your career, change your career, you have something to work too to get you where you need to be. Looking at financials and personal needs are critical. So be flexible and compromise to find a solution, don’t compromise on the crucial things for you.

Re-evaluate And Speak With Your Partner

Take time to re-assess what’s important to you as an individual, career professional, mum, wife, and makes sure you have a clear idea of what is important to you. What are your new priorities if you feel different to before, these could be from taking more time off to ramping up your career. And make sure you’re working towards them, not away. Having an open conversation with your partner, if you have one, is critical, knowing what you both expect and where you can both help and support. See how your partner feels as their priorities may have changed after your child, and remember the responsibility for a child is equal, and there is no wrong or right on what works for you as a family. Once you are both on the same page, you can speak with all family member so everyone can offer you the support you need.

Get Your Childcare Provider Sorted For Your Return

This is key to doing well before your return date as you need to feel happy and comfortable that you have childcare that works for you and works well. Be it, family, looking for a nannysettling your children in to nursery or childminders, you have to have something that works for you and your work needs. The options you had when you had one child can soon change when you have two or more due to costs, so revisit the solutions. You may be lucky enough to have family who can help you with childcare, although that can come with issues and setting boundaries for everyone is critical. The sooner you have childcare in place, the happier you will feel, as this can take enormous stresses away. But don’t underestimate the financial impact, so make sure you know what you need from your childcare, and this will also help you understand what you need to ask from work in terms of flexibility etc. Oh, and if this is the first time you have a child going to nursery, be prepared for the onslaught of bugs they will bring home! Unfortunately, the number of times the nursery may not accept them back in the setting for 48 hours, make sure you have a backup child care plan in place if possible in those early months.

Build Your Support Network And Business Network After Your Maternity Return

The likelihood is you have been out of the sector for a good few months, and things can move quickly, your confidence may have taken a hit, or you may feel like you need to overcompensate. Finding and re-establishing your network is critical. Find your people and build those relationships. This is key not just for advancing your career but for the great feedback on what’s going on, links to new people and support. The key is when you find or build your network, you will find a strong group of allies who can offer you the advice and feedback you may be looking for.

Cut yourself some slack.

You may be facing several emotions as you meet all these significant changes; many may be linked to sleep deprivation (read our experts top tips for getting your child to sleep)! But these emotions are different for everyone, and some you may not expect whether it’s your first child or fourth, a single parent or a couple, its new ground. You will be navigating your career and home life and no doubt being your most demanding critic with the opportunity for doubt to take control. How you thought you would feel could be utterly different to how you feel. Just listen to yourself and your needs and take it on board but make sure you don’t give it too much airtime. What you have been through is enormous emotionally and physically, and you need to cut yourself some slack; you are more than capable and will find your groove. But take time out for yourself, make sure you are on the right path for yourself and don’t let self-doubt change that path. Motherhood is fantastic, but it can also be the most demanding job in the world.

Flexible Working Request

Once you are looking to return or even pre your return, you may find that a full-time work schedule won’t work for what you are looking for, or you need more flexibility around childcare hours and pick up. Sit down and chat with your manager and see if a flexible working request would work, and flexible hours could be your solution in the world post-Covid businesses are even better equipped to support this. If you are in a position where you are financially able to and looking to go part-time, why not look at a job share or present the idea to your employer. And if your current employer isn’t happy to enter into these chats or solutions, find one who does, don’t force yourself to fit in a company that doesn’t work for you.

A Few Quick Tips When Returning To Work At The End Of Maternity Leave

  • You have plenty of time to figure out what works for you. You don’t have to achieve this in your first week. You can get it wrong, but as long as you know it’s not working for you, and you see what needs to change, this is ok and looking for a suitable alternative job or employer is not a failure its getting life right for you.
  • If you are unsure of what has been proposed by human resources to you or feel uneasy, make sure you take legal advice. Legal advice is there to support you not just as pregnant employees and in your weeks of maternity leave and paternity leave but as returners as well and if needed at an employment tribunal.
  • Breast Feeding: For new mums going back to work looking to express milk, make sure you speak with your employer, and these should be provided. But make sure you chat with your employer a good employer will recognise this is important on your return to work, long gone are the days of expressing in the toilets…. well they should be and your employer may have a private room for you to be able to breast pump your milk! To ensure you feel comfortable, read our article on breastfeeding at work and your rights.
  • Maybe you are just not ready to go back to work and the end of your leave which can be a common emotion no matter what you thought about your return before. Why not ask for additional maternity leave if available or if you can afford it after your time off with maternity pay, or if you are in the financial position to ask for unpaid leave or maybe ask if you can use holiday entitlement to shorten your week’s for the first few months.
  • And those household chores can wait or be picked up by someone else; if you need a time out for you or time out with your new baby when you get in or partner, that’s better for your mental health and life than clean dishes, clothes and floors every night if these are falling to you.
  • If you are struggling, reach out and get help; your GP can also make sure what your feeling isn’t related to postpartum depression; if you feel hopeless or have darker thoughts, contact your GP immediately.
  • Find out what is a returner programme and if its right for your maternity return.

Read The Results From MMB Magazines Returner Survey

MMB Maternity returner results survey to find out more about what 1k working mum returners had to say about their experience in the returner market.

# Tips When returning To Work After Maternity Leave

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