You got this, mama! Our ‘Sassy Mama in Business’ columnist lets you know what to expect when going back to work after a maternity break, whether it’s been three months or three years
I spent five years as a stay at home mum to two kids before heading into the world of entrepreneurship. At my business, Woolf Works, we encounter a lot of women in transition – moving from corporate to entrepreneurship, or from an extended career break back into the workforce (we even have an awesome support programme, Catalyst, to help with just that).
I know that taking that first step into a new life can be scary. The guilt! The insecurity! But it is so rewarding, especially when you have reached a stage of really craving change. The transition can be bumpy, with big highs and lows — but like all change, it comes with great growth and learning and sometimes you just have to breathe and ride it out. Here’s my 20 things to consider when you first return to work:
1. It will feel amazing to be using parts of your brain that have remained dormant for months (if not years).
2. For the first few days you will feel like you have lost a limb.
3. After a week you will catch yourself not thinking about the kids for a whole day.
4. This will be followed by dreams at night of you forgetting the kids in places like supermarkets and playgrounds, or leaving them in the car.
5. You will realise we all have a crazy illogical monkey mind that goes into panic mode sometimes, but it just needs you to take a breath, say “I hear you. Don’t worry.” and carry on about your day.
6. Coming home to see your babies will be amazing. They will look like angels sent from heaven.
7. Ten minutes after you get home they will start screaming and you will thank God you are no longer at home with them all day.
8. You will find yourself looking at their photos and videos obsessively during lunchtime and tea break.
9. Sundays will be great but you will really look forward to Mondays. Nobody loves Mondays as much as a mother getting back into a good job after being at home full time.
10. Your partner will suddenly realise how much work you actually did when you were home all day.
11. Your partner will realise they have to start helping more / doing laundry / tidying / getting involved in the kids’ school stuff / cooking dinner / planning weekends / all of the above.
12. You and your partner will invariably go through a period of miscommunication and resentment before you figure out your new roles.
13. It may even require some outside help to readjust to the new roles – counsellor, coach, therapist – and that’s okay.
14. You will need some girlfriends who have done this move or are also in transition. You will need to schedule in fortnightly / monthly wine nights, walking meet ups or weekday lunches. Whatever it takes for a group time-out to share experiences and even have a little cry.
15. Your workmates who don’t have kids won’t get it and might be cynical / skeptical of your skills. You don’t have to prove anything to them, but it will feel great when you prove them wrong.
16. At work, you will be organised and productive and able to optimise your time much more than the younger staff who seem to spend a lot of time doing nothing.
17. It will be a bit scary and a bit amazing at the same time.
18. Your kids will be fine.
19. Your kids will be fine.
20. Your kids will be fine.
You got this, mama!