Posted on June 2017 By Maria McNally
Candidate Manager Maria McNally returned to Speller International in January after taking 15 months maternity leave. Here she shares some of the things she’s learned about returning to work.
Having a child is a life-changing event.
Overwhelming joy sits awkwardly alongside unrelenting exhaustion. There are ups and downs. Yet all the sleepless nights and soiled clothes melt away in the light of their smile, and the music of their first giggle.
You’ll come to know all the characters of Peppa Pig by heart. You’ll memorise many, many Wiggles songs, and their accompanying dances. You’ll master doing many more things one-handed than you ever imagined possible.
You may even wonder how you could ever go back to work.
For many, it can be hard returning to the office after having a child. It can be hard to even think about. Has the office changed? Will people look at me differently? Am I a bad mother, going back to work?
All these things crossed my mind as I prepared to return to work at Speller in January after 15 months away looking after my baby. What I discovered surprised me. Let me share what I found with you.
Your first day back will feel like school again
Remember your first day at school? How new everything was, how full of possibility and strange it all seemed? That’s what coming back to work feels like after maternity leave. It’s all so big and grown up and a little scary… but exciting as well. Embrace it.
Take it easy on yourself
Here’s something you need to know. People are glad to see you back at your job, and know what a big deal it is for you. You can take it easy on yourself that first week. Nobody is expecting you to pick things up with the same intensity as when you left. Ease yourself back into it all, and enjoy it.
Drop the guilt
Repeat after me: you are not a bad mother for working. You are not a bad mother for working. You are not a bad mother for working. Ok? Ok. Good.
Any one who has had kids can tell you just how much stuff you have to manage. Many mothers become masters of efficiency. In fact, you’ve probably found you can now get five days work done in three. Show people what getting things done really looks like.
Home time is the business
Whether finishing at the end of the day, or starting off the weekend, you’ll cherish your home time like never before. Hearing an excited little voice yell “Mummy!” from behind the door as you rustle for your keys is one of life’s greatest thrills.
You get YOU back
For many, this is the big one. Going back to work not only reminds people that before you were a mother, you were a professional go-getter; it reminds you of that fact as well. You’ll delight in having adult conversations about impactful things once more. It will leave you feeling re-energised, and a more fulfilled and well-rounded person.
If you’re preparing to return to work after maternity leave, reflect on what I’ve said above. There are enough expectations to deal with, without you adding to your own sense of worry unnecessarily. Remember that you are valued! And if you have a story of your own about your experience, or tips of your own, please share in the comments.