Returning to Work After Maternity Leave

Having recently returned to work from maternity leave, Sam McSheaffrey, shares some advice to people in a similar position.

Becoming a parent is a life-changing but amazing experience, and one of the major transitions is returning to work after parental leave.

This time can be filled with a mix of emotions, from excitement about going back to work to apprehension about leaving your little one.

Having recently returned to work myself, I wanted to offer some practical tips and emotional support strategies to help ease the transition back to work after maternity leave which have really helped me!

Planning Ahead

Before your maternity leave ends, it's so important to have a clear plan in place.

Talk with your employer about your return date, any changes in your schedule, and any potential modifications to your responsibilities.

Flexible Work Arrangements: Enquire about flexible work options such as remote work or adjusted hours. This can help you balance your professional and personal responsibilities effectively.

Childcare: Ensure that you have reliable childcare arrangements in place. Research and visit potential providers to find one that fits with your values and needs. We visited eight nurseries before we found that one that made us feel like it was the perfect one for Evie.

Ease into Your Routine

Transitioning quicky from full-time parenting to full-time work can be overwhelming. Consider a gradual return, if possible. You might start with a reduced schedule and gradually increase your hours over a few weeks. I was really lucky that I was able to do my last few Keeping in Touch (KIT) days close together to get me back into going to the office more often.

Self-Care is Key

Returning to work after maternity leave requires a lot of energy.

Prioritise self-care to ensure you're mentally and physically prepared for this transition.

I have really struggled after having Evie with my mental health and I have found that actually setting some time aside to prioritise ME has really helped!

Rest and Sleep: Ensure you're getting enough restful sleep (HAHAHA!! DREAM ON!!).

Establishing a regular sleep routine for both you and your baby can be so beneficial, however babies have a mind of their own and will do what babies do!

Nutrition and Exercise: A balanced diet and regular exercise can help you maintain the energy levels needed to manage your professional and personal responsibilities.

This is something that I have REALLY tried to focus on since having Evie.

I have tried Mum and baby exercise classes which have been really helpful while making sure that I am eating the right things, rather than the quickest (or Evie’s leftovers!)

Open Communication with Your Employer

Maintaining open and honest communication with your employer is SO important.

Discuss your needs, expectations, and any potential adjustments that may be necessary.
I have been so lucky to be able to have a really open and honest relationship with our Head of People, Sam Bradshaw, who is a mummy herself to two beautiful children.

She understands the returning to work process and has been SO supportive!

Emotional Support

Returning to work after maternity leave can be emotionally challenging. Seek out support from your partner, family and friends who have experienced similar transitions.

Seek Professional Help: If you're struggling with the emotional aspects of returning to work, consider speaking with a counsellor or therapist who specialises in post-maternity leave transitions.

This is something that I have taken advantage of!

I was really poorly after having Evie and have since been talking with a counsellor.

Since doing this, I have practiced various coping mechanisms as well being able to learn how to talk about certain emotions etc.

I believe that talking about our mental health is something that people still shy away from. 

Returning to work after maternity leave is a HUGE milestone that requires careful planning, self-care, and a supportive network.

Remember, it's normal to have mixed feelings during this transition, and seeking support can make a world of difference. By following these tips and being kind to yourself, you can navigate this period with confidence!! 

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