An honest view of motherhood.

The dos and don’ts of a mum returning to work

on 11/09/2012

I took one year off when I had my baby boy. I had originally planned to have 9 months off, but as he was born prematurely I felt I was owed a bit more time. Very happy to have made that decision too – it took me about 9 months to get over the shock of it all.

Returning to work has been a big learning curve for me, and I thought it worth while to note a few points down. You might agree with some of it, and you might even feel compelled to write a comment. Wow, imagine if you did, that would just make my day.

The decision to go back to work

  • Do keep in touch with your boss when you’re off. They need to remember your name. It’s important when you turn up on your first day back.
  • Don’t just talk to your boss, talk to HR as well. I’ve recently learned that they should keep in touch with you too, but in case they don’t make sure you’ve gone through all the relevant paperwork. Yes, there’s paperwork to fill out. I know, I didn’t know this either. If HR is your boss, you are sorted.
  • Do tell all your friends so they can congratulate you on being a ‘super-mum’ and make all manner of supportive noises. This is what they are there for and they will make you feel brilliant.

Preparing you

  • Don’t forget to buy new work clothes and shoes. Very important. When you have new work clothes on, don’t forget to remove expensive jacket/blouse when you are kissing/cuddling your sweet, sticky, smelly, sicky, snotty bundle of joy goodbye.
  • Do go back for a visit/meeting or two before your start date. And go without your baby. This is not only completely surreal, but it makes you feel like you can do anything. Even make AND drink a whole cup of hot tea by yourself. ANYTHING. It also shows your face in the office to a few people so they get used to seeing you. It makes the first day back a little more bearable and a little less shocking for all concerned. Particularly those hoping you might not return at all.
  • Don’t think you can’t do your job. You can. You might be different, but it is the same. You’ve done it before, and even been paid for it, so someone thinks you can do it. This is very easy to forget.

Preparing them

  • Do let go. Unless you are a superhuman, you can’t do everything. I know you think you are, just like I do (I am in fact superhuman, I am), but you are not. Let/tell your partner to do stuff. And let them mess it up. Sounds terrifying doesn’t it, but if you don’t let go you’ll end up in a padded cell somewhere with no-one to talk to.
  • Don’t think they don’t understand. They probably do. It’s a massive deal – you are leaving your baby and going to work. Your partner, your family and your friends are there for you, so let them be. I don’t have anything sarcastic or silly to say about this. It’s true and you should use them for as much support as you can.
  • Do leave your baby sometimes to get them used to you not being around. It’s funny how they survive without you. They are really quite resilient, these babies. They can survive without you, even for a whole day.

Being a working mum

  • Don’t put yourself under any more pressure than you already have. It takes time to get used to your new life and you should allow yourself some decent breathing space to get back into the swing of things.
  • Do look fabulous. It does wonders for your confidence.
  • Do remember how hard this all is and how easy you are making it look.

There are probably many more to be added to this list, if you can think of any, please add them below.
And if you are loaded and don’t need to go back to work, please can you send me some money. I accept cheques and all major credit cards.

13 responses to “The dos and don’ts of a mum returning to work

  1. chingharwong says:

    I don’t even have a baby but I enjoyed reading this – good job, Fliss. I’m available for support when you need it πŸ™‚ Cx

  2. jodie says:

    your spot on! really enjoy reading your little baby blogs , more please ! xxxx

  3. Great advice. I returned full time after having my first and part time after my second. Each time was such a wrench but having taken a year off I was ready. This time though, I’m not so sure. Hope it works out well for you XxX

  4. Raquel says:

    Not being a mum but do consider myself one of your friends I like to read your latest blog update πŸ™‚ Especially liked the line in the Preparing You section “…Particularly those hoping you might not return at all” – made me chuckle. Keep up the good work Flisstopher x

  5. Great advice! I am life and maternity coach and often work with mums whilst they make the transition to being a working mum. It can be a very challenging time!

  6. Alice says:

    Hey! Brilliant post. Would be great if we could use some of your stuff or you could write some stuff for our brand new parenting magazine and website @cherubsnet Get in touch! πŸ™‚

  7. Alice says:

    @cherubsnet1 rather. e-mail alice@cherubsnet.com if you could offer some editorial bits πŸ™‚

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