Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Returning to work:

If you're getting ready to return to work, prepare for it!
By Motherpedia
Date: February 19 2013
Tags: work, parenthood,
Editor Rating:

It can be one of the toughest things to do as a mother: returning to work after maternity leave. You could be longing for the sniff of the baby’s scent and the playful times or you’re feeling a little bit guilty about enjoying the thought of being back at work.

“Either way, it’s a difficult situation to be in and it can take a while to get used to it,” says Maria Forrest.

In her role as head of research for an executive recruitment firm, Ms Forrest says she has had to contact women who are on extended maternity leave to try to convince them to return to work.

“I have had to do it myself and I know what it’s like. The thought of having this gorgeous little baby to look after for some time can be very much more tempting than having to get back into ‘work clothes’, put make-up on every day, look well-groomed, do the commute, find the right child care and then sit at work and worry or think about your baby every day.

“But, for most women, either economic necessity or wanting to get back into the workforce and ‘mix it’ with adults again tends to lure them back.”

She says if you are considering returning to work, to prepare for it as you would most things. Here are five top tips to help.

  • Check-in on your colleagues. Depending on how long you’ve had off, they may have changed, there may be a new boss, there may be a new culture. It’s better that you know about this and are prepared for it before you return. Have a coffee with them and catch-up on the latest.
  • Schedule a chat with your boss. Talk about the workload and your objectives before you get back. If you want to leave every day at 4.30pm, tell her now. If you’d prefer to work five hours a day, say so. If you’d like to work from home for a few days a week, raise it. “The worst your boss can say is ‘no’, but it might actually suit the company also so there’s no harm in asking.”
  • Be work ready. Review your wardrobe and make sure it’s ready for work. If you’ve had a while off on maternity leave, your clothing could be very different. If you can afford it, buy at least one new outfit just so you feel fantastic in it.
  • Do a dry run. About a week or so before you’re due to return, pretend it’s the day and do a ‘dry run’. Get dressed, prepare the bottles, prepare the lunches, get your baby to child care on time and then start your commute. If you do all this on time, then have the rest of the day off! If not, practice it again the next day.
  • Start midweek. “I always advise people to do this even when starting a new job,” says Maria. To help ease yourself in, start midweek – Wednesday or Thursday – so it’s a short week. If you’re working full time, and if possible, ease yourself back into five days a week over a couple of weeks.
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