With the rise of entrepreneurial mothers entering the labor force, we have come to also recognize the increase in women choosing to return to work after their maternity leave ends. Taking maternity leave is important for healing emotionally and physically and for bonding with your newborn. You also need to recharge and recalibrate so you can return to running your business with the added responsibilities. Transitioning back into running your business after time off is a is a challenge for many business owners, and even more so with an entirely new addition to your lifestyle can be a challenge.
By preparing yourself, your family, and your employer ahead of time, you can make this adjustment easier. Here are five tips for easing back into the workplace after your maternity leave.
An organized process can help significantly with your transition. Start by creating a master to-do list of everything you need to accomplish before your return. Talk to your significant other on what this return will look like for your family and write everything down on a calendar. After you have chosen your childcare arrangements, have your baby spend time getting used to them. Do a practice run. This will help to ease your nerves a little. Practicing dropping your child off and getting to work on time is helpful in making the first day as smooth as possible. It’s also helpful to plan out outfits, meals, and supplies for the week for the two of you.
Plan to have a sit down meeting with both your supervisor and/or employees. Your team will need to be made aware of the official date you will be returning so they can prepare themselves to be ready to transfer your workload back over to you.
It’s just as important to sit down with your supervisor. Grab a cup of coffee or stop into the office one day. Try to stay ontop of what is happening around the office while you are away so that your supervisor knows that you are committed to your return. Understanding what expectations they have for you and laying out any limitations you may have are important to discuss at this meeting. If there are any days you are unable to work, need to cut your hours back, or may need to work remotely, talk these things out. You’ll never know the answer unless you ask.
If you take pride in your independence and rarely ask for help from others, it’s time to change your outlook to be successful. As a working mother, there will be times you need an extra set of hands, whether it’s relying on your teammate to closeout a meeting when you need to pick up your child, or having a family member watch your baby for a few hours to run errands. Finding other moms at work who are able to fully understand what you are going through can also be valuable. Grabbing a cup of coffee with them or arranging a playdate might lead to an unexpected friendship that you need during this time of your life.
The best way to confidently enter back into your role is to not only look your best but feel your best. Determine what steps you can take that will help you be the best version of yourself. If you have a professional wardrobe that needs a refresh or doesn’t seem to fit so well after having a baby, treat yourself to a few new pieces. Comfortable footwear, an everyday bra, and layered pieces are all essential for any new working mother.
Allowing yourself to take a day off to spend focusing on yourself is nothing to feel guilty about. Self-care is one of the best ways to retain your sanity during this hectic phase of your life. Making time for the hobbies you enjoy, meditating, or even taking a long bath are good practices of self-care.
The best piece of advice that we can stress is to not rush into your transition. If you have the time and financial ability available to take a long leave, do it. You will always cherish the time you get to spend bonding with your newborn. When you do go back, learn to say the word “no” more often. While it’s important to give 110% at work, it’s also important to know that you aren’t able to do everything. Your priorities in life have shifted at this point, and family will always come first. Your employer understands this. Ask a teammate for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
As big of a hurdle as this process may seem to be, know that you are capable of succeeding like many women before you have.