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Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Going back to work baby!:

Sally-Anne Blanshard shares her tips for returning to work after having a child.
By Sally-Anne Blanshard
Date: January 31 2012
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Returning to work after having a baby can bring about a mix of emotions.  Worry. Excitement. Guilt. Confusion.  And where did I put my confidence when I went on maternity leave?

I enjoyed 2 stints of maternity leave from my previous corporate day job – managing in Sydney.  This was my first baby – a career coaching site launched in 2008 on behalf of Ambition Recruitment Group. Every time I stepped back into the office for a ‘keep in touch day’ there were more new faces, less familiarity and it just felt too damn weird for words walking around your office with a baby in a stroller!

That said it is important you have a plan for when you return to work and here are some of my top tips to getting back into work:

  1. Get organised.  Work out how many days you would like to go back and maybe can afford to do. Think about what days would work for you and the business you are in.  Then you need to start looking at your care options.  Daycare, preschool, friends or family all become part of the grand plan in order to help you go back to work worry-free. Getting organised is the bit that worries us so get it out the way early on.  This article from CareforKids was really useful for me.
  2. Back up plan – what will happen on the days that your child is not well?  What entitlements will you have from work – can you have make up days at Kindy?  This will happen so get a plan in place so not to be taken off balance.
  3. Keep in touch – keep talking to your managers, colleagues and find out who and what is new.  I find LinkedIn a useful tool to have a look at who has joined your business in the time you have been away.  Keep up to date with news and trends from your connections.
  4. Feel confident – go and get your wardrobe updated.  It only has to be with a few key pieces so long as they fit well and make you feel good.
  5. Be aware of your rights. You can learn more from the Fair Work website – you may not have to go in for battle but you do need to be aware of your entitlements when going back to work.
  6. Be flexible.  You may find when you return to work that it has not worked out as planned.  It is ok to speak up and be flexible on your days, hours or even the role you have.  If it does not feel right it may just be that your time is done and you need to consider other options.

Some women love going to work and skip out the door without a thought and there are others that find it heartbreaking to leave their little ones.  Remember that time helps.

It will get easier for both you and your baby.

Be kind to yourself.

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3 Total Comments
Kathryn Hocking says: 2012 01 31

Hi, great article Sally.
I remember how heart-breaking my daughter’s first full day of child care was but I equally absolutely loved a fancy work lunch with adults in my first week back at work.
Returning to work is such a mix of emotions!
I think a mixture between knowing your rights but also being flexible and realising that you may not know what is best for you until you give it a go is really important.

Elizabeth says: 2012 01 31

Go Kathryn and Sally!  I know that there are a lot of articles on this topic, but these principles and suggestions can bear - in fact demand - constant repetition.

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