From staying connected and energized through your maternity leave to overcoming the guilt of leaving your baby as your back-to-work date rolls closer, returning to work as a first-time mother can be demanding and daunting.
It’s impossible to fully prepare for life with baby and beyond. But there are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for a successful comeback.
Picking up right where I left off
When I went on maternity leave in 2015, my career working in IT was in top gear. I had completed six years with Accenture, where I was responsible for one of our premium clients in the automotive industry. While the joy of becoming a mom was special, I feared that leaving on maternity leave would end up jeopardizing my career.
Surprisingly, transitioning back to work after a one-year hiatus was a breeze. In fact, instead of starting over, I picked up where I left off and continued to zoom ahead.
Tips for a smooth transition
If you’re still in the throes of the early months with your baby and are starting to think of returning to work, here are four tips that can help you make the transition easier.
Confide in a trusted confidante. As women, we juggle so many responsibilities, both at home and at work. New moms need to find a person who can truly listen and guide them.
In my case, my supervisor has been my biggest confidante. At every point, she cleared all my doubts and reassured me that I should return to work only when I was completely ready.
I kept my conversations open and transparent with her, and that helped me take some extra time off and even work part-time for three months to spend more time with my daughter.
Be flexible and open to new challenges. Nothing should stop us from challenging ourselves and chasing our dreams. I continue to accept new challenges and grow while working on the same account.
Today, I juggle multiple responsibilities—from leading a team of 40 people and serving as a Products People Advocate lead to conducting training for certifications and attending events as the automotive industry subject-matter expert.
Ask for help. Whether it’s a family member or a professional caretaker, don’t hesitate to ask for and accept help with your baby from someone you trust. This will give you the time to take care of yourself and focus on your work. My family was my backbone when I was planning my return to work.
Enjoy and embrace every phase. Enjoy every phase of your life without worrying about when and how you will go back to work. Things settle with time.
In my case, our Returning Mother program really helped me, as I was assigned a coach who kept me informed and explained our policies clearly so that I could make decisions confidently.
Nothing is more special than having a child, but I admit, it can seem overwhelming at times. As mothers, we often find ourselves at a crossroad, ready to sideline our ambitions to care for our families.
But if you take your time, build open and transparent relationships with your managers and seek the right help, you can more easily navigate life from home to work and back.
Remember, you’ve got this!
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