8 Tips for Parents Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

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Returning to Work

Many parents are faced with the decision of whether to return to work after maternity leave. If you’re one of these parents, then you might be feeling a little stressed about what comes next. After all, it’s not easy to go from being a full-time parent back to being an employee in just a few weeks! But the good news is that there are plenty of great tips out there for making this transition easier. Relax first, the hot tub will help you tune in. Hot tub pregnancy helps not only during it but also after the birth of the baby. Below we will present eight essential tips for returning to work after maternity leave.

Tips for Parents Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Parents returning after maternity leave can feel a lot of pressure to get back into the swing of things. Statistics show that most women return to work within six months of giving birth, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. More than half of these women either quit their jobs or look for a new one.

Here are eight tips to help make the transition back to work a little less daunting.

Feel All the Feels, but Let Go of Guilt

You might feel like you’re failing because of the guilt that comes up when trying to juggle all your responsibilities. You might be thinking, “I should have been able to do it all”. It’s okay if this is how you are feeling — it means that deep down inside you really do care about your job, your family, and yourself. However, don’t let the guilt consume you. You need to find a way to manage it so that it doesn’t control you or your decisions.

There are a few things you can do to help manage the guilt:

  • Talk to someone about how you’re feeling: this can be a friend, family member, therapist, or boss. Just talking about it will help to lessen the burden.
  • Set some boundaries: if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, speak up and let people know what your limits are. 
  • Make time for yourself: even if it’s just a night to yourself with a glass of wine and your favorite show, you need time for yourself.
  • Realize that it’s not the end: even if things don’t go as planned or you fall on your face trying something new, realize that it isn’t the end of the world and just start over again.

Get in Touch with Work Early

Before your leave, touch base with your boss and let them know what to expect in terms of hours, communication, and updates. This way, there won’t be any surprises when you return. You can also ask about how long they anticipate needing you back before deciding between returning.

If you’re able, take a couple of days off before officially returning to ease back into things. This will help get your bearings and catch up on any work that may have piled up while you were out.

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Be Patient with Yourself

The first few weeks back at work after maternity leave can be tough. You’re probably feeling a range of emotions, from excitement to anxiety to sadness. Be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new routine. Give yourself time to get used to the idea of being back in the office and don’t expect everything to go perfectly from the start. Remember, you’ve been out of the workforce for a few months and will need time to find your footing again.

Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)

Not only is it important for your child to have a full-time parent taking care of them during the day, but you are also entitled to time off. If you feel that you need more time to adjust after having a baby, or that you are struggling in your new role as an at-home parent, then it is important for you to advocate for yourself. Your employer should understand the importance of allowing parents some extra time off when they return from maternity leave, especially if this was not originally outlined during hiring negotiations.

You are also allowed to work from home a certain number of days each week, so be sure to ask about that as well if it’s something you would like to do. One survey found that women with child-care responsibilities are 32% less likely to plan on leaving their job if given remote work options, compared to those without access. Additionally, the report found that 30% of all employees say they are less likely to look for another job in the next year if given a choice between working remotely or in the office.

Set Clear Boundaries with Your Team (and Yourself)

Establishing clear boundaries will help you and your team feel more comfortable with the status of work. This is especially important if there has been a long period away from work. Allowing yourself to take some time for adjustment before jumping back into information overload can help manage expectations and avoid burnout.

Seek Support

This is a very important topic to discuss with your employer, especially if you are the first one of your friends or colleagues to return after maternity leave. It’s not easy for anyone to make this transition and some companies have more resources than others around it. You can ask them what they offer in terms of support groups or courses that can help with the transition.

If you are returning to a job where you previously worked before maternity leave, it might be helpful to reach out to someone who has recently made this transition. They can give you tips on how they managed and what resources they found helpful.

Some many online forums and groups focus exclusively on supporting parents returning to work. Seek these out and join the conversation – you will be surprised by how willing others are to share their experiences and advice.

Reset Your Expectations

Before you go back to work, it’s important to reset your expectations. Don’t expect things to be the same as they were before you left. You may have a little more help at home now that your partner or another family member is pitching in, but there will undoubtedly still be some challenges. Be prepared for interrupted sleep, less time for yourself and your partner, and a lot of juggling.

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Remember Your Worth

You have just given birth to a beautiful, healthy baby. You are now a parent. And you are also a professional. You have worked hard to achieve your current level of success and you should not let anyone tell you that now, as a parent, you are worth any less. You may need to make some accommodations for work and parenting to merge seamlessly, but do not let anyone devalue your skills or experience.

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • If you can afford it, hire a nanny instead of using an expensive daycare

You’ll be surprised how much easier work gets when your baby has someone around to play with during the day. And if they get sick or need to run errands, there’s always someone there to take care of them.

  • If you do use a daycare, visit it often and get to know the staff

Make sure your child is comfortable with the people who will be taking care of her during the day and that they are providing a good environment for learning and socializing.

  • Ease back into work gradually

Take a day or two off after you return to work. Then try working half days for the rest of that week and then full time in the next one. This will give your baby some more time to get used to changes in routine, and it’ll be easier on both of you if they have fewer hours of being away from mommy or daddy.

Don’t:

  • Stress about returning to work

Stress can be a huge factor when it comes to returning to work after maternity leave. Don’t add to the stress by worrying about everything that you need to do. Instead, take things one step at a time and relax as much as possible.

  • Compare yourself to other working mothers

Returning to work can be tough for any mom, so don’t compare yourself to other working mothers. Every woman is different and you will find your own way of balancing work and motherhood.

  • Overcommit yourself

It can be easy to overcommit yourself when you first return to work. However, it is important to take things slow to adjust back into the routine. Instead, plan your work and prioritize the tasks that you have to do each day.

Conclusion

Maternity leave is a wonderful time to bond with an infant. However, once the baby is three months old it may be necessary for parents to return to work. Parents returning after maternity leave need support but also tips on how best to transition back into the workforce. 

We have put together a list of eight tips for parents returning to work after maternity leave. Hopefully, this list will be helpful as you navigate the transition.

 

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