Returning to work after a two week holiday can be hard enough for some, so imagine returning after a considerably longer time off. We’re talking nine months away from your working environment, maybe even more than that! I count myself as extremely lucky having been able to spend around 13 months watching Harris grow and develop every day, from a teeny newborn squish to a mischievous little man, without having to rush back to work.
Tip #1: Do some KIT days
I think I made a mistake by not doing any KIT days which meant I felt so overwhelmed when I did go back to work. By the time I was due back I’d had barely any time away from Harris and it all seemed like a case of ‘too much, too soon’ for all of us. I definitely think that doing some KIT days, even maybe one or two, would have eased me in to going back to work and made me feel a lot more at ease leaving Harris for longer than a couple of hours.
the start when he would cry as soon as we dropped him off. Starting him earlier may have helped me feel a lot more at ease on my first day back to work!
Tip #3: Weigh up your options
Going back to work is really scary. It certainly was for me, and I’m quite happy to admit that. I think it’s important to weigh up your options. Do you need to go back full-time or will you survive on a part-time wage? Could you afford to not go back at all? If you had a stressful job that you can’t face going back to is it possible to step down and change role? For me, I was always going to go back part-time purely because it wouldn’t have been worth it to work full-time and pay for a 5-day nursery placement. I originally handed in my notice before really thinking about our finances properly and although I would have loved to be a stay-at-home mum it just wasn’t feasible for us. Now that I’m back at work and we’re in more of a routine I do actually enjoy working, speaking to other adults; and not having to chase after someone ALL DAY!
the park, because swings are awesome even when you’re a mum! However, it just seems more special and time together seems more precious because there is less of it!
Tip #5: Speak up if you’re not okay
Don’t paint a smiley face on every day you’re at work, when inside you’re crying about being there and leaving your baby. After one day back I spoke to my lovely new manager and told her how I was feeling, and what I wanted to do about it. I’m not one to lie about how I’m feeling and I’m also not the type of person to pretend everything is rosy when it’s not working out. I stepped down after just one day back, and it’s the best thing I could have done. Yes, I earn less money, but I also have the chance to pick up extra hours if I’m able to do them (I couldn’t really have done this in my previous role) and I’m no longer bringing my work home with me. Less responsibilities at work is exactly what I needed when I have more responsibilities at home. Remember – it’s all about balance. Some women are absolutely fine about returning from maternity leave, but feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt and worry are so much more common than we are led to believe. Life changes vastly once you have a baby and priorities change monumentally. If you are having trouble coming to terms with the idea of going back to work, you are not alone with these thoughts. So hats off to the mamas who are working full-time jobs, hats off to the mamas who are working part-time jobs; and hats off to the mamas who stay at home tending to their littles’ every needs day in, day out. Nobody said that being a mama would be easy, but it really is the best job in the world.
Stacey and Harris