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4 Tips for Returning to Work After Mat Leave – By Sarah Chegwidden

26/08/18
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re about to return to work after being on maternity leave whether it’s for the first time or fourth time, chances are you are running the gauntlet of emotions. You might be excited to be able to have lunch in peace or anxious about leaving your little one. Either way below are some tips provided from fellow working mums about easing the transition for returning to work.

1. Childcare and back up plans

Whether your little one is going to crèche, a childminder or grandparents, it’s good to have a few days of trialing the arrangement. You don’t want your first day back at work to be the first time you are leaving babóg with someone. So try to arrange at least a few days where both yourself and baby get used to spending some time apart. That way you might even have time to grab a coffee or get your hair done #winning. Also have a plan in those first few weeks about what will happen if bub gets sick. Is there someone who can jump in and give you a helping hand if you’re not comfortable taking a day off when you’ve only just returned to work?

2. Get seriously organised

If you don’t want to end up ordering take out on a Tuesday after a long day of work try to batch cook and build up a freezer supply of some good healthy easy to heat up meals. A slow cooker is a great starting point especially in those cold winter months. For recipe inspo check out this BBC Good Food article. Another thing to have organised the night before is to have all clothes (for you and baby) laid out and ready to go.

To get out the door on time everything needs to be laid out night before!! So all uniforms etc are left in order they need to be put on and same for toddler! I even set out the make up I’ll fire on my face- to save time rooting for an eyeliner!! So I guess my tip is do a lot of your organising the night before!!  (Áine)

3. Negotiate flexibility

If you don’t ask you won’t get so there are a few things you could consider requesting from your employer to make returning to work easier:

Whilst not all businesses are in a position to accommodate these requests, it’s definitely worth raising them with your employer in the weeks and months prior to your return. Another hot tip from the Working Mother Wellness community is to make your first week back a short one so potentially start back on a Wednesday rather than a Monday to ease your way back in.

Even something as simple as leaving your out of office on for another week or two. Make a list of things that you need to catch up on or find out about and try to find out in advance what new people might be there or who is now responsible for what. A meeting with the boss before returning can be very beneficial to set out some expectations and discuss flexibility.  (Judy)

4. Give yourself a break

Chances are you’ve had one of the most challenging periods of you life both physically and mentally and returning back to work means that you’re going to be juggling work, baby and relationships. It’s important to remember to look after yourself. If you are not OK then baby is not OK. A couple of our working mums summed this up perfectly:

Would also recommend that she minds herself, so often we are busy minding everyone else and forget ourselves and burn out. Where she can make sure to eat well, rest and get some fresh air and exercise.  (Jennifer) 

Also I keep my expectations low. That way I don’t feel like a failure when nothing goes according to plan. I maintain a minimum 3 stain policy on clothes (both mine and baba’s) to keep the washing under control!  (Aoife) 

Sarah Chegwidden is a digital marketer, a mum of two, a wife of one, a failing domestic goddess and a successful wine drinker. 

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Hey Mama!

I’m Jen Murphy, award-winning blogger and wellness advocate for working mothers. I created Working Mother Wellness as a platform for mums to share our wellness experiences. Sign-up to build your own Working Mother Wellness toolkit. You will receive updates on Kundalini yoga practices, wellness tips, and info on upcoming workshops and programmes.