How to prepare to return to work after maternity leave?

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Returning to work after maternity leave is not easy. A woman’s life changes dramatically – now she has to combine caring for her child with her professional responsibilities. Will she be able to manage? How will work affect her relationship with her baby and with her husband? 

Will she be able to return to the company? These questions cause anxiety and severe stress, so we suggest how to effectively prepare for her return from maternity leave.

Tip 1: Don’t be hard on yourself

In the first weeks after starting work, your emotional state can be complex and full of contradictions. You may feel fear, frustration, uncertainty. This is a perfectly normal reaction of the body to stress. Give yourself time to get used to the change of environment and work organization, and don’t draw conclusions about yourself as a specialist based on the first weeks of work after your leave. Don’t ignore your feelings and experiences, and most importantly, remember that this period will soon be over, you will join the team and adjust to the changes. Treat yourself with understanding.

Tip 2: Prepare in advance

Before going to work, you need to prepare as much as possible for the new schedule. If your child is going to kindergarten, it is important that his first day at kindergarten does not coincide with your first day at work. Give your child the opportunity to get used to the changes in his life, the teacher, other children, and only then go to work.

If you plan to leave your child in the care of a nanny, it is essential to practice living in such a schedule for some time before returning to the company. Try to occupy yourself with work, gradually increasing the time of your absence. Such preparation for separation from your child can help reduce anxiety for both you and the toddler. 

Tip 3: Think about your daily routine

Organize your daily schedule well – how many hours you’ll be working, how long it will take you to get on the road, when you’ll spend time with your baby, and what exactly you’ll do when you have free time. Make sure you have enough time for both your baby and yourself.

It is important to join the workflow as smoothly as possible. If you plan to grow as a professional, gradually add more working hours to your schedule. Remember, however, that there is no need to rush. Take care of yourself, change your daily routine gradually, and remember that time with your family or yourself is extremely important in dealing with stress.

Tip 4: Reconnect with co-workers

It is important to reconnect with your team. Do you remember which co-workers you were close with before your vacation? What topics did you discuss and how intimate was the relationship? Perhaps now your area of interest is dominated by parenting and the baby, but you shouldn’t lead every conversation in that direction. Also try to support topics suggested by colleagues, don’t avoid having lunches together, and listen to what your co-workers say.

Tip 5: Find support

Don’t remain alone with your feelings and issues. Above all, enlist the help of your husband, as well as other members of your immediate family and friends, if you know you can count on them. There are bound to be others in the team who have also returned to work after a leave of absence and experienced the same thing as you. Discuss your feelings with them and ask them to share their experiences and advice. Remember to ask for help when you feel you need it. Resuming work after a long break is a difficult stage and it is better not to go through it alone.

main photo: unsplash.com/Helena Lopes

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