Whether you’re returning to work after your maternity leave or you’re coming back now your youngest has started secondary school, getting back into the swing of work can be daunting. With time away from your job, it can be extremely difficult to slide back into your role. With the challenge of dealing with sleepless nights, deadlines and juggling childcare it’s no surprise to learn that six in ten mothers say they find returning to work extremely challenging.
On average it takes Mums 4 months to readjust to work post maternity leave, however, with months of intense parenthood, some mothers welcome the thought of adult talk and sipping a coffee without it going cold!
When you’re planning on returning to work you must prepare yourself, it’s another lifestyle change that can have an impact on you emotionally. Raising a family can change your character and goals, often Mums find they’ve lost their sense of identity and this can cause unconfidence in the workplace.
If you’re ready to jump back into work as a Mum, here are some things you can do to help you get your confidence back.
Ask Your Manager For A Review
Women can feel unconfident in their role, especially if they think they’re not as dedicated or they feel that they’ve lost skills as those around them have developed. Asking for a 8 week, or 3 month review is a great way for you to hear some feedback. Positive feedback will increase your confidence and boost your self esteem.
Learn To Say No
Learning to say no will benefit you both in and out of the work place. Now your priorities have changed, you should learn to say no to things that will simply eat up your precious time. It’s okay to say no to work drinks or staying late to finish something if you have commitments around your child. You can compromise to the request asked of you, you can soften the blow by using a technique called the ‘no sandwich.’ Acknowledge the request, say no, and give the real reason and then offer a win:win situation with what you’re prepared to do now, and in future to help solve this problem.
Take Pride In Your Appearance
When you’ve been on maternity leave, it’s likely you would have gone days without a scrap of make-up or realised your haircut is long overdue. When you look good, you feel good. When returning work, update your wardrobe with ‘work clothes’, treat yourself to an easily manageable haircut or a manicure. It will do wonders for your confidence!
You can’t expect to return back to work and not have to ask questions. Your employers won’t expect this either and it shows confidence to ask things you’re unsure on rather than building up your frustrations. Remember that nobody expects you to pick up exactly where you left off and by asking, you’ll increase your productivity.
Believe In Yourself
When you’ve been away for some time, you can start to doubt yourself. Remember that just because you’re a Mum now, you still have the skills and talents you used to, they might just need dusting off! Believe in yourself and think positively, being a Mum hones in on new skills like organisation, multi-tasking, time management and patience. These can all be taken into the workplace too!
With social media platforms in all of our lives, it’s easy to stay in contact with people. Make the effort to keep up relationships you’ve formed with your colleagues pre-maternity leave. They’ll be able to keep you updated with any changes that are happening within the company and meeting up and socialising with these friends will be another incentive for you to get back.
When you’re returning to work, it’s a good idea to start off slowly. Working a few hours a week and gradually building up to the hours you wish is a good way to gain your confidence back. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and you’ll feel a lot more prepared when you’re working your full hours. Find out your company’s policy on KIT (Keeping In Touch) days, you can take up to 10 paid days which can include you attending training, conferences and meetings.
Ahead of you returning to work, discuss with your employer about creating a back to work plan, this can contain the handover period, any new passwords, schedules and important upcoming meetings. This will help you feel confident going back in and you can prepare yourself, helping you feel calm and in control!