I am not going to lie. There were very mixed emotions when my maternity leave was up and it was time to don my heels and head back into the office! I’d enjoyed my maternity leave immensely. Even though it was overshadowed with health problems. A large part of me didn’t miss having to be the decision maker and the stress that comes with that role. Yet there was a part of me, that looked forward to returning to work after maternity leave. That longed for adult conversation that didn’t resolve around feeding times, nappy changes and general baby talk.
As much as I loved the concept of being a full-time stay at home mum. As a career driven person I felt like I had lost part of myself by not fulfilling that role. Now don’t get me wrong I have absolutely nothing against stay at home mum’s. The fact is, since the little man has begun to grow I take my hats off to them as I find just spending 24 hours a day with him at the weekends exhausting! So whilst I was excited to get back in the saddle so to speak, I was also pretty nervous.
Baby brain is a real thing. As much as I attempt to kid myself that it’s not. This was a major concern on returning to work. Where I need to be on the ball recall things instantly and always have to many plates to juggle! So as a born organiser, I set about handling this the one way I knew how. I invested in a heavy-duty day planner that enabled me to cover all the areas of my life not just work and literally did a brain dump into it before I started my first day back.
Working locally, I have the fortune of remaining in contact with my colleagues and employees whilst out on maternity. Due to the level of my position I still remained active within the business even whilst on leave. Which allowed me to feel comfortable about my first day back knowing there would be no ugly surprises waiting. Had I not have been so lucky, then I would definitely made the time to pop in once or twice in the run up to my return. To speak to certain people and prepare myself.
I knew with my planning and organising skills that the first day back wouldn’t be to thwart. Never the less I allowed myself a dry run the week before. I didn’t actually go in to work, nor did I get child care. But I got up that day as though I would be and I acted out all the steps needed. Including dressing myself as if I was and getting baby ready. This was a great exercise and I jotted down all the things I had forgotten so that I made sure to remember then when the real day came.
Whilst some of my work wardrobe fitted by the time I returned to work. I understandably lacked some body confidence. Making even those outfits feel frumpy and uncomfortable. I didn’t have a huge budget. But I made sure to buy one or two key pieces, which worked with my existing work wear. That fitted and made a huge difference to how I felt about myself. The addition of these meant I felt well presented and professional when I head back in to the office.
I gave it time. It was never going to be flawless and the first few weeks back proved testing. Having someone else provide for little man’s needs whilst I was at work. Meant I needed to accept the fact that things may not be done in the same way as when I did them. I soon realised that if it was going to work I had to let it go. Once I managed that, things fell into place pretty quickly. Now we have a great new routine that works well for all.
I’m now back nearly 6 months. I feel my return to work after maternity leave went well and I have gotten my stride back. Whilst I am still new at being a mum I am definitely back to my old self where work is concerned.