BOOST CAREER CONFIDENCE AFTER MATERNITY LEAVE

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a daunting task. The flood of fears like, “will I still be needed?”, what if people don’t take me seriously?” will plague your mind.

Every new mum will tell you. Maternity leave is a bittersweet time, which leaves you with amazing experiences but the feeling of missing out in career life. AAT found that the average mother felt her confidence dip after being on maternity leave, leading to doubts about their own abilities.

By now, you might already be looking forward to going back to work. The thought of sitting at a desk with no interruptions can feel like true bliss, and having adults to talk to seems like a myth.

So, how can you return back to work from maternity leave, with confidence?

1. Spend your maternity leave well

There are so many things that you can do during maternity leave, which will ensure that you’re a little bit more prepared when you finally return back to work.

Obviously, the time goes in a blink of an eye, especially with a new human to look after. There are spots in the day which you can spend helping your career.

Even something as simple as staying connected to your work colleagues, answering emails or checking up with your boss can be paramount to your success.

We recommend checking up with your boss, a few weeks in advance. Asking any questions, even if it’s just “is there anything I should be aware of before returning?”

Being prepared can be a great confidence booster.

2. Say ‘yes’ to more

This is more to show that you’re super serious about your work. Even with a child, you’re committed, passionate, and hardworking. Now, that’s a superhero strength in itself.

Don’t worry; this doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Just things like, “yes, I’ll refill the printer,” “yes, I’ll take that business call.”

Even offering yourself before you’re even asked can prove how dedicated you are. Taking interest or doing tasks that are beyond your role could set you out from the crowd. Think of it kind of like your first day in a new job. Always eager to impress and help. You can dial it down as time passes.

The thing is, there’s a misconception about new mums. That they’ll lose interest, and always be distracted by something else. Obviously, this is a delusion, and we’re not saying it’s fair but you need to prove everybody wrong. Do it for yourself.

Plus, the more you get stuck in, the more confident you’ll feel.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

You’ve been away for a significant chunk of time; things would have changed. It would be strange if you didn’t have any questions.

Asking questions, big or small, will help you gain familiarity with your workplace, thus increasing your confidence.

You might be scared that this will bring attention to your situation. In reality, it shows that you’re trying to fit right back into your place.

If you try and figure everything out, all by yourself, it’ll take you a lot longer to get back into the swing of everything.

So, ask all the questions you need. We promise that you’re not a bother.

4. Upgrade your organization skills

Okay, as a new mum your world would have been completely flipped upside down. You find yourself putting your milk in the drawer and your spoons in the fridge.

Going back to work is so frightening. Especially when you couldn’t feel any less prepared, this is precisely why you should take steps in becoming a more organized version of yourself.

Here are little ways that could help:

* Start a diary
* Have a timetable stuck on the fridge
* Set reminders on your phone
* Use platforms like Trello
* Post-it notes are heroes
* Plan your outfits the night before
* Organize all childcare
* Meal prep
* Plan your commute

Being organized, ready for the day, and entirely free from stress will leave you with that Superwoman feeling. Plus, people will look at you with awe, giving you confidence, if not, smugness.

5. Be flexible

Flexibility is key. If your workplace offer flexibility grab it with both hands. If you can choose your hours or the days you work, this will benefit you as much as the employer.

Think about when you should be going to and from work. What days do you need to be at home? Can you reduce your hours, to begin with? Ernst & Young found that women that work part-time are the most productive. They waste less time, using it more wisely.

As your confidence peaks, and your children grow, you can return back to regular hours. You don’t have to jump right back into the same routine; everything is different now.

Flexibility in your personal life is also essential. Make time for yourself, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and be flexible with your plans.

As much as we hate to admit it, we can’t do everything. That’s why asking for help, taking time away, and regrounding yourself is super important.

6. Learn new skills

It’s really the biggest fear for new mums. After taking time off, you can feel that you’ve not advanced, you lack skills, and you’ll be replaced. Of course, none of this is true, but we understand the fear.

Using your maternity leave to learn new skills, or brush up on your existing ones is a beautiful idea.

You can take some social media classes, look up online marketing lessons, teach yourself a new language, or even start a part-time writing career. Many popular writing agencies and the best editing services are always looking for new talent. The possibilities really are endless.

There are tonnes of online tools, books, and apps that will guide you in learning new skills. No matter how obscure. They exist for media, business, creative arts, childcare. You name it. Have a search around.

If you’re feeling debilitating insecure, you could consider attending a confidence workshop. They exist basically anywhere and everywhere and could be just the push you need to get back into the norm.

7. Don’t push yourself

This one could quite possibly be our most important point. Never push yourself too hard, it just isn’t worth it.

Put everything into perspective – you’ve just had a baby, you’ve returned back to work, your body is recovering, and you’re not getting as much sleep. You can’t expect too much from yourself.

So, you woke up a tiny bit late on Tuesday? Or you forgot to pack your laptop on Friday? That’s completely fine, nobody is judging you.

These things make us human. Everyone would be a little bit worried if you didn’t make mistakes. Don’t let your confidence be shaken by a few slip-ups or the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Cut yourself some slack.

8. Finding the rhythm takes time

Don’t expect to return back to work and be in the previous routine right from the beginning. As a new mum, you don’t even have the same sleep schedule as you did before, let alone everything else.

Of course, being organized will help a lot with this, but finding your perfect routine will take weeks, maybe even months.

Finding the best time to wake up, when to make your lunches, what time to answer emails – it’s a bit of a trial and error process.

This also means that doing extra hours, although it might help you a tiny bit, shouldn’t become a regular occurrence. Chances are, you won’t be making a habit out of those late nights.

Plan some long-term goals. Take time to find sustainable routines. Everything will fall into place, just give it time.

Don’t give up. Your confidence will return along with your perfect work cycle.

9. Find a healthy balance

We’ve said it before, and we’ll repeat it; everything is different now. You now have two jobs – parenting and career life. You need to let go of the fabricated idea of ‘perfect.’

Finding a balance between looking after your child, and progressing in your career isn’t unmanageable. Scary, yes. Impossible no.

Find the easiest ways to work through it. Organize childcare, split responsibilities with your partner, take time away from work.

Mums are superheroes, that is true. But even superheroes need a break or two.

Don’t forget to fit in time for hanging out with friends, and taking time to pamper yourself, too. These are equally as important.

A healthy balance as a new mother should include:

* Raising your child
* Progressing in your career
* A nutritious diet
* Self-care
* Spending time with your partner
* Connecting with friends and family

We promise it’s not impracticable.

10. Allow your confidence to shine through

The doubts that linger in your mind can overwhelm you.

“Nobody will take me seriously.”

“I don’t understand anything and be replaced.”

“I would have drifted from everybody and been forgotten.”

“They think I’m boring now.”

“Does this make me a bad mother?”

These thoughts and fears can consume us. Our anxious feelings will determine every aspect of our lives. Ultimately, this insecure mindset will shine through.

If you’re confident in yourself, it will shine through. Remind yourself just how amazing you are. The very fact that you carried a baby, gave birth, started to raise them and you’re not returning back to work is impressive in itself.

11. Journal all your skills and abilities

How can you allow your confidence to shine through? Remind yourself just how great you are.

Pick up a pen and paper, and write down all your positive traits. Absolutely no negativity is allowed.

If you’re struggling, these might help you get the ball rolling:

* I’m innovative
* I’m loyal and honest
* I’m extremely perceptive
* I’m creative even on bad days
* I’m empathetic

When you have an extensive list, you’ll realize why you’re such a great addition to any company.

You can even list all your achievements – make sure to add “brought a life into the world” on to it.

12. Practice self-love

Yes, this can mean putting on some silk pajamas and a facemask or indulging in some luxury ice cream.

It can also be a little bit less glamorous. In fact, it can be a little bit uncomfortable at times.

It’s sticking to a budget; it’s ending toxic situations or relationships. It’s acting selfishly sometimes. It’s putting yourself first.

Our favorite example is giving ourselves affirmations in the mirror. This can be so uncomfortable, and difficult.

13. Update your closet

You’ll probably already know the power of some flattering, powerful outfits. Don’t hide away in oversized blazers, or ill-fitting trousers.

Splurge on that tailored power-suit, or dress that you fell in love with. If you look in the mirror in the morning and think you look wonderful, you’ll feel beautiful for the rest of the day.

Of course, don’t place too much value in your appearance, or material possessions.

14. Go to more events

Seek out any professional events that interest you. These will get you back into the groove of working, increase your confidence and maybe even inspire you.

Showing your face at events will also help you to gain back some of the months. It will help you to feel more comfortable with work, the people around you, and prepare you a little better.

You’ll also notice a really amazing thing – people don’t treat you any differently. Yes, they might ask about motherhood or your new-born, but they still look at you the same as they did before.

This will for sure increase your confidence.

15. Reconnect with your colleagues

If you lost contact with any of your co-workers, make an effort to reconnect with them. Using social media makes this super easy, too.

This will help you return back to work, knowing you have shoulders to lean on, friends to trust, and everything isn’t as scary or different as you might think.

Conclusion

It will all work out, we’re sure of it. Look at going back to work as an exciting part of your journey, a chance to socialize, and a way to support your new family.

Good luck!

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