Returning to work after having a baby can be a challenging and emotional transition. It’s a phase filled with new beginnings, sometimes excitement, sometimes apprehension, and numerous questions about how to navigate this new chapter.
In this podcast episode, I sit down with Carina O’Brien from Working Mumma, as we delve into some valuable tips for mums returning to work, focusing on key areas such as the challenges faced, readiness assessment, and balancing the mental load of motherhood and having a job.
Tips for returning to work after having a baby
Here are some valuable tips from Carina to help mums make this returning to work transition smoother:
Plan Your Return to Work
Start planning well in advance. Discuss your return date with your employer, considering flexibility and other workplace adjustments you might need.
Assess Your Readiness to Return to work
Evaluate your emotional and physical readiness by journaling your thoughts and discussing your feelings with a partner or trusted friend.
Explore Childcare Options
Choose the right childcare option that suits both you and your baby. Ensure you visit and check for availability, as some centres have specific enrollment times.
Communicate with Your Partner
Open communication with your partner is vital. Discuss responsibilities at home and share the mental load.
Stay Connected with Your Workplace
While on maternity leave, stay engaged with your workplace by checking in with colleagues, attending meetings, or remote events.
Understand Your “Why”
Reflect on your reasons for returning to work. Your “why” will guide your decisions and actions.
Be Patient with Yourself
Remember that returning to work is a process. Be patient and take small steps to regain your professional momentum.
Build a Support System
Surround yourself with a support system of friends, family, and fellow moms who can provide advice, encouragement, and help when needed.
What are the challenges women faced with returning to work?
Returning to work postpartum brings about various challenges that can make the transition more complex. Carina highlights three key struggles women often encounter:
- The Mental Load: The mental load refers to the mental burden of managing family and household responsibilities. This can be especially taxing for new mothers, as they may feel overwhelmed by the additional responsibilities associated with childcare and maintaining a household. Balancing this load with work duties is a significant challenge.
- Workplace Support: Not all workplaces offer the support needed for mothers to transition smoothly back into work. From flexible working arrangements to child care assistance, many women face hurdles when trying to align their work schedules with their childcare needs.
- Personal Confidence: A dip in self-confidence is a common issue that can affect a mother’s decision to return to work. The fear of not being able to perform at the same level as before, coupled with concerns about missing important moments in their child’s life, can impact a mother’s confidence.
How does someone know if they are ready to return to work postpartum
Deciding if you’re ready to return to work after having a baby is a personal choice. However, there are some indicators that can help you gauge your readiness:
- Emotional Readiness: Consider journaling or discussing your feelings with your partner. Are you excited about the prospect of returning to work, or do you feel anxious and apprehensive? Being emotionally ready is crucial.
- Childcare Arrangements: Ensure you have reliable childcare arrangements in place. It’s essential that both you and your baby are comfortable with the chosen setup. Being confident in your childcare choice can alleviate some of the worries about returning to work.
- Transition Plan: Instead of simply returning to work, think about transitioning back. Gradually increasing your workload and responsibilities can help ease the process.
- Check with Childcare Centers: Some childcare centres may have specific enrollment periods, often at the beginning of the year. Checking in advance will help you secure a spot that aligns with your return-to-work date.
Balancing the Mental Load, Motherhood, and Returning to Work
Balancing the mental load of motherhood with your professional life is a continuous journey. Carina recommends the following strategies:
- Open Communication: Have open conversations with your partner and employer about your needs, expectations, and available support.
- Set Clear Boundaries: Understand that your journey will be unique, and you don’t need to compare yourself to others. Define your boundaries and stick to them.
- Create a Transition Plan: Plan your return to work carefully, setting realistic milestones and goals. Gradually increase your workload to regain your confidence.
- Self-Assessment: Evaluate your readiness and why you want to return to work. Your “why” can be a powerful motivator and guide.
- Support System: Surround yourself with a supportive network. Having cheerleaders can boost your confidence and provide emotional support.Discover valuable tips and insights for mums returning to work after having a baby. Learn how to balance motherhood, navigate challenges, and assess your readiness with expert advice from Carina O’Brien of Working Mumma.
Returning to work after having a baby is a significant milestone, and it’s crucial to make the transition as smooth as possible. By addressing the challenges, assessing your readiness, and balancing the mental load, you can navigate this phase successfully. Remember, it’s your unique journey, and with the right support and planning, you can achieve your work and family goals.
** This podcast has general information only. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health or medical condition.
Preparing for birth Pelvic health checklist
Carina’s Instagram @workingmummacommunity