Returning to work after maternity leave, particularly the first time, can be incredibly exciting, overwhelming daunting, or everything in between.
In our experience, many women who report feelings of success after returning to work also talk about having purposely planned their return to work. As a result, we have created a two part series to help women plan for the transition from maternity leave to working parent. This week’s episode is focused on preparing yourself, whilst next week’s episode is focused on preparing your child/children.
In today’s episode we talk to Justine Alter, director of Transitioning Well. Justine’s work as a psychologist has a strong focus on helping women and men transition through different stages of life, including the return to work after having children.
Highlights from this episode include:
- A simple maths lesson making it clear that trying to give 100% to your work and 100% to your family is an impossibility, given no one has the ability to give 200%.
- The importance of women understanding and acknowledging that work will look different after having children. You might have done the job before, but when you return to work you are a different person with different needs which may affect your work.
- The need to prepare for transitioning out of work – at work and at home. The need to think about what your life will look like when you’re at home on maternity leave and then again, how different it will look like when we go back to work.
- The importance of taking your thoughts about how life will look and having conversations with the people involved – your partner, boss, colleagues – to make sure that your assumptions match reality.
- Allowing ourselves to make plans and then change those plans as many times as we need to.
- The benefits of a great support network and how to find or create your own when the usual suspects (e.g. extended family) are not close to hand.
- Practical suggestions such as considering the option to outsource some home activities, agreeing a return to work program with your boss which may include gradually increasing hours of work and the need to be kind to yourself.
Don’t forget to stay tuned for next week’s episode for tips on preparing your children for your return to work. Better yet, subscribe so you don’t miss it!
Links mentioned in this episode:
- If you want to connect with Justine Alter you can find her via her website or on LinkedIn.
- The Juggle Community, our online Facebook group
- Find us on Instagram and Facebook
- The Juggle website, where you can find all episodes of The Juggle and sign up to be notified when a new episode is released.