Motherhood, whether planned or unexpected, can certainly change you as a person. You no longer feel the need to be selfish, not that you were ever before, but your priorities change and shift and no longer are you your number one. Your family is. There is nothing wrong with this, and for weeks, months, and even years a mother’s focus can be solely on their little ones. Feeding, caring for, being there for scraped knees and failings over in the park. You might be there for the first day of nursery or school, or even be around for a few years to do that all-important drop-off and pick up, not to mention being around for the cuddles when a sickness bug reaches the family home. But there comes a time in many mothers lives that they start to reconsider going back to the workplace. Some mothers have to go back quickly to help support the family, others have a little more time to process the decision. However, no matter what time you start thinking about working once again it will always have the same emotions and anxiousness attached to it.
You may be thinking whether it is the right decision at all. As motherhood can change you perhaps your priority for late night work is no longer your focus, more to get out of the door at the earliest opportunity so you can be around for bedtime. Priorities change, yes. But you as a person do not. If you enjoyed your job, the working environment, or simply just providing for the family, then there is no reason why you can’t consider getting back into work when the time is right for you. The mother guilt may be strong, but often in these cases, the overwhelming feeling to feel normal, an individual outside of the home or just to ease the family finances will motivate you to do what you have to do. As you can imagine, these thoughts are common amongst many mothers, which is why I thought I would share some of the things you can expect when heading back into work, what you may want to think about, and certainly how you can own your decision. I hope some of the ideas and tips help you along the way.
Have you got a plan?
Some women are organised and know exactly what the plan is. They leave their job for maternity and have every intention of going back to work when it finishes. Some women decide that maternity is the right opportunity to draw a line in the sand with that particular job or career, and move forward with finding a new one during their maternity leave. Some women don’t even know what they want to do, and that’s fine because at some stage the motivation, enthusiasm or passion for something will manifest itself in some way. But, try and have some sort of plan of what you intend to do. Even if it is a little soul searching to perhaps change your career entirely. Can the family manage on one income? Do you need to make any changes to the family finances to survive? Having a plan eases the transition from earning money to not, and can certainly help you to feel less worried when your focus may be on your newborn baby and a change in routine.
Do you really want to step back into old shoes?
Many women ask themselves whether the job they had before leaving for maternity really was the right thing for them. Do you want to step back into old shoes? Do you want to do the same thing day in day out? Some people love their jobs and chosen careers and are blessed to find it early on in their working life. Some women are not as fortunate. Could maternity leave be the perfect opportunity to change careers? Perhaps even change jobs and working for someone else? Sometimes this is easier when you have a specific job role where you are trained within a certain career. Perhaps a nurse can log online to websites to find different jobs within different healthcare departments or areas. Uk nurses prefer sites like Staffnurse.com. Other professions like law, catering, working in healthcare or even in the fitness sector, may all have specific websites where you can begin your search to find a new job within your chosen career elsewhere. When else could you get the opportunity to do this?
Have you considered a career change?
Maternity leave presents a golden opportunity. You may have been thinking for some time that perhaps you no longer enjoy the job that you do or the career you have fallen into. Now might be the ideal time to retrain and work on some new skills to help you obtain a job that you could love and feel passionate about. Perhaps an industry with less hours needed to work or a more flexible environment to do it in. Maybe even giving you the chance to increase your income potential or job prospects in the future. A quick search online can help you find out some of the best ways that you can study from home to help you gain the qualifications needed.
What about working for yourself from home?
Women can be very resourceful when needed to be, and more mothers are looking at the options of working from home. This may be in your current skillset, perhaps deciding to branch out and launch your own business. Or maybe starting something new. Many women have used things like blogs to bring in an income, or perhaps taking advantage of platforms like etsy.com to sell things that you can make. Many women have been hugely successful branching out on their own, and one of the biggest benefits is that you can choose the hours of business you work. Making it massively flexible around the family.
If working from home is something you want to consider, then you may want to think about the current skills you have and what your options may be. Maternity leave provides you with some thinking time and a chance to make the change and build something up, before having to make that important decision of whether you leave a stable employment. Look online for articles to inspire you or provide you with the tips you need to make this a success.
Take some time to focus on your mindset
Your mindset throughout all of this is very important to your wellbeing. It isn’t easy to be making such a big decision about your future when your emotions are running high for other reasons. Take some time out of your busy life to really connect with your mind and positive thought process. Negative thoughts can seep in even at your most happiest of times. In fact, that is when you are most vulnerable for your mind to be attacked by negative thoughts. Going back to work or venturing out on your own is just the subject to start you doubting yourself and your ability. You may start thinking that you won’t be as good as your work colleagues, or perhaps be doubting your skills to make something of your own. Try and focus on the good things and remain positive throughout the whole process, you may find that this is just the thing to help you stay on the right path for a better working future.
Are you prepared for the change of routine?
The change of routine when working is so different to what you may have been accustomed to staying at home with your little ones. You may have had the morning madness of nursery or school, but getting yourself ready for work, as well as the family can be quite the difficult task. Prepare yourself and the family for a change in routine. Work on the bedtime situation to make sure that everyone has a decent night’s sleep. Think about preparing ahead the night before, to give you less to worry about in the morning. Lunches, making breakfast ahead of time, even laying out clothes the night before to save on the rush. The change of routine doesn’t need to be painful, but preparation and organisation will help you get through.
Don’t be intimidated by your work colleagues
Once you get over the big decision of heading back to work, and even getting back to it on a regular basis, you may find that you start to feel intimidated by your work colleagues. Maybe someone in your team is working later than you do, or perhaps getting better results on things or hitting targets. No matter what the situation may be, you need to remember that you have that job for a reason. You wouldn’t be doing it if you weren’t employed to do it. Your priorities have changed, but you as a person have not. The change in yourself becoming a mother may actually help you in the job. Perhaps you can understand circumstances of others, be less selfish in your ways or even empathise in different situations. Remember to focus on your positive attributes.
Let’s rock that workplace fashion
Finally, you may find that your body might have changed as you have entered motherhood, and this is nothing to feel shy or upset about. Your body has just done something incredible, so rock the look and embrace your new figure. Getting some workplace attire to suit your body shape can invigorate confidence within you.
I hope that this helps you to be more prepared with going back to work, whatever you decide to do.