My 12 essential steps to plan your return to paid work with confidence are a must-read if you plan to go back to work any time soon. Today I share the final step on going back to work with confidence: Prepare for the separation.
If this series of posts is helping you, you’ll love the work that I do with career break mums to help them identify what they want, what’s most important to them and create an effective action plan.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? Lack confidence? Know you need help? Book a call and let’s talk.
The hardest part …
For many mums, the hardest part about going back to work is the separation from their child or children. In a recent study, 54% of mums said they didn’t want to leave their baby. Very often before a mum starts maternity leave, she is sure that she will want to return to work in 6 months, 9 months or a year’s time. I encourage you to keep an open mind. You may find that your feelings about work and your career change after children. They may not. And that’s ok too.
Hot cup of tea!
When you do go back to work, you may well skip up the road when you drop your child off for the first time. At last, you can visit the bathroom in peace; you can drink a hot cup of tea; you no longer have to count the steps as you walk up to the platform; you don’t need to wave at the train; you can have an adult conversation without being interrupted.
Five minutes later, you might want to turn around and run back down the road. “I can’t do it, I’ve made a mistake, I can’t leave her“.
It is ok for it to be hard
Give yourself permission to find it hard. It is ok and very normal for it to be hard in the first week or month, or longer. In fact you may well start to think “I’ve made a big mistake“. When it does get hard, remind yourself of the reasons for going back to work. For some, it is finance. For others, they may crave the adult interaction. While others want to maintain their career.
Don’t make hasty decisions
In the first few days and weeks, when you are worried that you have made the wrong decision about going back to work, give yourself time. Don’t make hasty decisions. Think back to why you are going back to work and what’s most important to you.
Build a support network
In my experience, if there are other parents at your work place, you will find that they are incredibly supportive. They know what it’s like to leave your child. They understand the importance of returning to work no matter the reasons behind your decisions.
Build a support network around you – are there other mums who live nearby who understand what you are going through. Did you do NCT classes and are any of those mums already back at work or going back soon? Does your employer offer a Working Mums Network?
How to cope with separation anxiety
Be aware that it is very common and absolutely normal for babies to experience separation anxiety at some point in their development. Naturally this can be difficult for you to cope with a child who is panicky and upset when you are not around. However for most babies, separation anxiety happens in phases and does not last forever. You can read more about this here.
As for your own separation anxiety, I encourage you to develop coping strategies.
- Give yourself permission to be upset and anxious.
- If you are feeling guilty, remind yourself why you are going back to work.
- When you are at home with your child, don’t waste time feeling guilty. Make the most of the time that you do have and be fully present.
- Some mums find it helpful to carry a small photobook and look at this at times during the day.
- Listen to an uplifting podcast on the commute (my Confident Conversations for example!).
- Knit or crochet on the train.
- Crossword puzzle or Sudoku so you are not constantly fretting on the commute.
- Focus on being relaxed and happy when you drop off your child at nursery or with the childminder.
In summary, it is normal to feel anxious about the separation and you can prepare for that separation in advance. Preparation helps. If you are a mum who’s taken a career break, and now you want to go back to paid work, these 12 essentials will get you started on the journey to go back to work with confidence. It’s never too soon to start planning. I work with career break mums to help them identify what’s most important to them and create the right action plan.
Catch up on the other posts in this Returning to Work series.
- Understand your values – read post
- Identify your skills and strengths – read post
- The all-important LinkedIn profile – read post
- Seven tips for your CV – read post
- Childcare options when you go back to work – read post
- Use your KIT days wisely – read post
- Do the maths – do the sums add up? – read post
- Flexible working rights – read post
- Negotiate the household arrangements – read post
- Tips on better meal planning – read post
- Go back to work looking good and feeling good – read post
Never too soon to start planning
If you are a mum who’s taken a career break, and now you want to go back to paid work, these 12 essentials will get you started on the journey to go back to work with confidence. It’s never too soon to start planning. I work with women who want to go back to work to help them identify what, when and how. When you have the clarity, the confidence to take action follows.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t know where to start? Lack confidence? Need help?
If you know you WANT to go back to work, but you also know that you NEED SOME HELP, book a call to find out how I can help you. My Career Confidence programme may be just want you need. If you’ve reached that stage of trying to work it out on your own – should you go back to your previous career, change career or start a new business – and you’re just feeling completely overwhelmed or driving yourself nuts going round and round in circles AND you’re also smart enough to know that the best plan is to get some help, let’s talk. Click here to find a time that works for you.
Don’t miss out on the free online training I offer on this and similar topics. Sign up to weekly The Confidence Guide and you’ll get notice in advance. Just click here.