A guest blog by Nicky Raby, who helps women get back to work for a living.
It seemed only a few minutes ago my colleagues were saying, ‘All the best with the birth, can’t wait to hear all about it’.
Firstly...really?! Not sure all birth stories should be shared in a work environment while someone may be eating.
Secondly, how has 8 months gone by so quickly?
Life had continued as normal for my colleagues while I was on maternity leave. Meanwhile I hadn’t been out of the house for ten hours straight and baby-free for what seemed like years. I found it difficult to contemplate tackling a two hour commute without being close to my baby.
However, part of me was looking forward to figuring who the ‘new me’ was – the one who had a baba but also loved her work.
So off I went – with my breast pump, bags under my eyes and aches from being up all night. I stuck my game face on. Turned out my brain cells hadn't fizzled out. If anything, I was more focused and had more clarity about my life.
Naturally there were a few peculiar comments. ‘So when are you having another…?’ asked one. Another shouted ‘BABY BRAIN’ when I paused while signing a contract. (I just smiled as I reflected on the number of tasks I had completed before my working day. This brain is in full working order, albeit a little tired.)
In my coaching work, I see many parents who are figuring out work/life/happiness. There is no perfect way. No one has it figured out all the time. We are all just doing our best.
If you’re returning to work and feeling apprehensive, here are five tips that may help.
1) Keep the diary clear. You’re likely to have your head full of practicalities, so keep everything else low key. Keep the weekends clear and say no to visitors. I find this difficult to do myself as I am a ‘pleaser’, but a calm environment will reduce stress (plus may encourage the little people to have more sleep).
2) Fill the fridge and organise an online shop. Once the working day is done, you’ll be keen to get home and snuggle your little ones. The last thing you want to do is roam the supermarket. The fewer decisions you need to make, the better.
3) Do something in the run up to make you feel like the best version of the new you. My hormones were potent during the first few months and made my hair grow to a ridiculous length. Having a good haircut made me ready for action.
4) Keep your circle close. Everyone will have an opinion on your decisions, but you know what is right for your family. The last thing you need is background noise of others who may not support you, so feel free to decline invitations.
5) You have choices. If your new chapter doesn’t work, change it. Or at least be open to exploring how you could change it. I’ve coached over 500 people now and there is always a way to improve things. I’ve seen people make the most extraordinary changes; change careers, start businesses, develop passion projects. Never has there been a better time to create your version of success.
Nicky (@nickyraby) is a mum and certified life coach who offers 1:1 sessions to help you figure out your next chapter with the addition of your new role as a mum. You may want to start a business, figure how a new blend of work and home or simply figure out how you can use your talents and skills to make money and still be a present parent. She does sessions in person, on the phone and over Skype/Facetime. Quote ‘Koru Kids’ for 20% off her Strategy Session / 3 month package.