I am not going to lie, I had very mixed emotions when my maternity leave was up and it was time to don my heels and head back into the office! I enjoyed my maternity leave immensely even though it was overshadowed with health problems and 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 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 and we now have a great new routine that works well for all.
Now back for 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.