Whether you’re returning to a workplace after your maternity leave, or you’re transitioning into a new role after some time away, here are a few top tips to help make that move as smooth and seamless as possible.
Have Realistic Expectations of Yourself
Of the Mums, I work with place high expectations on themselves and assume that they’ll pick up back at work from where they left off. Now while that’s admirable, ask yourself, in your situation, if it’s realistic? If you hear yourself using the word “should” regarding yourself at any stage, let that be the signal that your expectations are not your own, and they need to be re-evaluated.
Have clear boundaries for yourself
Clear and healthy boundaries for yourself on your return to the workplace is imperative. Having well-established boundaries is not only empowering, but it also lets others know where they stand too. Having ‘leaky’ boundaries can make us feel like we have to say ‘Yes’ to specific requests that arise, which can leave us feeling uncomfortable or even guilty. If you know that your working hours could potentially impact planned family time, what are you prepared to say Yes to, and where will you say No?
Keep up to date with changes in your industry
“What if everything has changed in my industry, and I don’t know about it?” I was asked one day by a Mum preparing to return to her career after five years away. “How would you know if it had?” I asked her, to which she proceeded to give me a wealthy list of actions she could carry out and people she could speak to, to find the answers to her questions. What, if any, changes have taken place in your field or area of expertise? And if you’re changing careers altogether, what’s the current situation in it? What are the experts saying about it?
Find out what it is that you want to do
You’re a Mum looking for a significant change in employment, or perhaps you’re excited about your first career step since becoming a Mum, where do you start searching? The first thing you’ve got to know is what you actually want to do in terms of work, or how else will you know when you get it? Make time to sit down and ask yourself what it is you’re looking for in a job and get as specific as you can about it. This is where coaching can be a handy tool in helping you create clarity to support your personal and professional growth.
Stop comparing yourself to other Mums
Regardless of what type of work you do, your mental health and wellbeing must come first, and this is where I have a small gripe with social media. How many of us in the last week have been scrolling away on our devices only to upend comparing our lives to those we see in our social media feeds, or even worse, comparing our appearance to those we follow? I’m not a mum, but I do remember unfollowing a few ladies on social media when their feeds began to overflow with posts about “having to get their pre-pregnancy body back”. You’ve just carried your baby for nine months, and you must be exhausted after that alone, give yourselves a break ladies!
And again, while some social media users are incredibly honest in their posts, remember everyone has their own story, and everyone has a chapter they don’t want to read aloud. Do the best you can with what you have at that time, because that’s all you can do.
Linda Bonnar is a Master NLP Coach & Practitioner, an ICF ACC Certified Coach, author of coaching book Press Play, trainer and keynote speaker. To find out more about how Linda can help you achieve your personal & professional goals, contact her @Lindabonnar_lifecoaching