How To Go Back To Work After Maternity Leave

I honestly think that going back to work after maternity leave is one of the hardest things mums have to do. It goes against all your maternal instincts to leave your child when you have been with them everyday.

Your emotions will be high and you may feel at loss but be rest assured that time is your friend. In time you will get in a new routine and new way of doing things.

Everything won’t feel so overwhelming soon but the most important thing is that you are kind to yourself.

Working after maternity leave whether it be full or part time is a real juggle, I truly believe that women are super heroes for being able to do both.

I have been back to work for 6 weeks now and boyyyyy has it been hard. I don’t want to sit here and tell you that it’s easy because that would be a lie.

What I can tell you is that I’m starting to feel more like myself again. The precious time I have with my boys I appreciate more than I ever have.

I have looked back on the last 6 weeks and I wanted to share with you 9 thoughts and feelings that I have learnt and have helped me get to the positive place I am now in.

You may need some tips on how to get prepared for your child starting nursery, check out this post that will be a huge support.

1. Dealing With The Emotions

When you have a baby your emotions are all over the place and things that you used to be able to manage now feel overwhelming.

This seems to ramp up a notch when you start the process of going back to work and your little one starts nursery.

In a way it feels like you are going against nature, to hand your baby over to someone else and leave. It is such a strange and strong feeling it’s hard to put into words.

For me I felt sadness, anxious and loss at not being able to be there everyday to look after him.

I found the transition quite hard and it took around 4 weeks for my little one to adjust and get used to being at nursery.

Every morning I would drop him off and the tears would come as soon as I handed him to his key worker. I would then get in my car and cry as I drove to work.

The first few weeks were hard BUT everyday when I would go to pick him up I would be so excited to see him. Especially when he saw me at the door and his little face would light up.

I looked forward to that moment and our first cuddle after collecting him. It was pure love and something I will always remember.

Now its been over 6 weeks we are both in a much better place. He loves nursery, he loves the key workers and he has so much fun there which brings me so much joy.

I now know Its ok to get upset, it’s a transition and things take time to settle and adjust. In a few weeks time things seem better and the upset and emotion we went through becomes a distant memory.

2. Mum Guilt Of Leaving Your Little One

WOW mum guilt is strong and real let me tell you.

Constant questioning of why am I doing this? will they be ok? I don’t want to leave them? I am making him sad by leaving him….

These are just some of the questions and thoughts that used to go through my head all the time.

I felt awful and in a way that I had failed him by leaving him. It goes against all your motherly instincts to hand your baby over to someone else. All you want to do is love and protect them.

This is a point in time where having the support of your loved ones makes a real difference.

Talking things through with my husband about how I felt was a huge relief for me. Instead of it all being on me in that split moment we were a team going through it together.

We talked about all the positives that me going back to work after maternity leave has on our family. By doing that you can visibly see why you made the decision in the first place.

I am doing this to greater support my family and that was so important to me.

Think about the reasons why you want to go back to work. Make a list, discuss with your family and friends and I promise you it will make such a difference.

3. Self Confidence Seems To Go And Things Seems Harder

My brain is total mush! Having a year off work and not really having to use your brain in a way makes going back to work that little bit harder.

Things that used to take me no time at all now take longer. I digest information slower and it takes me a while to compute what and how I need to do something.

That being said I CAN still do my job and even though it may take longer it doesn’t matter. Its part of the process to give yourself time to adjust.

In the first couple of weeks you may feel less confident than before. It may even be for a few months but please be kind to yourself. It will come and as you gradually adjust back into work life your confidence will start to grow and grow.

4. Being A Mum And Working Is hard, Be Kind To Yourself

I say this so much but working mums are super women! I picture us all with a mask and cape as the amount we do and juggle on a day to day basis is crazy.

From getting everyone ready in the morning to the bedtime juggles its SO MUCH! I think about how much I do before 8am and think wow there was a time I used to be sleeping now.

When I was on maternity leave my days were so busy. Looking after the little one, collecting and dropping my eldest at school and the general housework during nap times.

I now do all of that and fit in a full time job which seems like an impossible task but somehow I do it.

Its definitely not easy at all, I am tired most of the time but I do it and I’m so proud of that because being a working mum is a huge achievement to me.

I stop for a few minutes sometimes and think yes well done you, despite it being hard your working through it purely to be the best mum to my boys and show them that doing what you love and working hard is very important.

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5. Be Realistic With Your Expectations, You Will Not Be Able To Do Everything

Mama you aint going to do it all and that’s ok.

I find myself writing a to do list or messaging my husband to remind me of the numerous amount of things I need to do on a weekly basis.

I have great intention but after a busy day im tired and all I want to do is sit, relax and unwind.

Im not going to be able to cook a fresh home cooked meal every night, I won’t get all the washing done and there will always be a mess somewhere. This is the reality of being a mum back at work and im ok with that.

I now am much more realistic in what I can and want to do. I give myself one thing to do each night so that by the end of the week I feel like I have accomplished something but its not been overwhelming.

6. Give Yourself Time, It Won’t Happen Overnight

I can honestly say its taken me a good 6 weeks for things to slot into place and get into a new routine with work after maternity leave.

I had 100% hoped this would be super quick and easy but that wasn’t realistic at all.

The emotions are tough at first and it takes time to deal with that and transition into this new phase for you and your family.

Be kind to yourself and know that time is a gift and soon things will feel ok again.

7. Being Organised And Prioritising Are The Best Things To Keep Things Going

I have always been quite an organised person, I love making lists and planning ahead. Doing this makes me calm and less anxious about things ahead.

Going back to work after maternity leave felt like the perfect time to really focus on what I could do ahead to get organised so that every day felt that little bit easier.

A few tips I have found that really work are planning meals for the week, putting a wash load on every morning, joint calendar with my partner so we both know what’s happening and writing a list of what we need to do that week visible for all to see.

These few things have really made such a difference for me and ensure there is no last minute panic because we have forgotten something or because there is no food in the fridge for dinner.

Making these small steps and choices can take the pressure off which gives you time to spend with your family after a long and busy day.

8. Make Time For You So That You Can Unwind And Have Some Relax Time

This is a hard one and something I can guarantee us mums hardly ever do.

However over the last few weeks I have realised how important this is for my well being. I am dedicating time for myself is crucial to enable me to keep going.

This doesn’t need to be every day or even every week but by making sure that there is some time whether it be small or big to reflect, reset and refresh after a busy period can make the world of difference.

It can be as small as going to bed an hour earlier to read a book, going to get a coffee from my local coffee shop or scheduling time to get my hair done and have a good pamper session.

Whatever you feel would give you the most joy go for it, it will be such a treat and make you feel a million dollars.

9. Don’t Worry About What Other People Say, Its How You Feel That Matters

I know this can be said for a number of things and I think I have probably wrote about it a few times in a couple of blog posts for different situations.

Its true of most things though that actually its how you feel that is the most important not other people.

Its natural to get peoples opinions whether you ask for them or not. However most of the time they are shared with the best intention and may actually help.

BUT there is not one way that suits all as we are all different, lets believe in ourselves and our abilities and know that we are doing our very best everyday to be the best me and mum we can be.

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