Results of a Government survey in 2008, found that the majority of mums are still returning to work within the first year of their baby’s life. 50% of full time working women, return to full time employment, though half of these mums would prefer to work part time. This indicates that making such important decisions, like returning to work, isn’t unusual but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy choice or it is always made at the right time, for the right reasons.
Here are some tips from Sam Pringle to get you thinking about different aspects of your decision so that you can go ‘Back to Work Without a Bump’;
What do I want get out of my work?
Whether you have been away from work for 6 months or 6 years, you now have an opportunity to look at your career from a new perspective.
Is my old career the one I would choose again?
Write a list with two columns headed ‘activities’ and ‘feelings’. List all the things you would like to do in the ‘activities’ column and how you would like to feel about working in the ‘feelings’ column.
How do these outputs fit into my career?
How do these things affect what’s important to my family life?
Who shall I go to for support?
Finances, childcare and emotional support are all areas that can be pro-actively managed through this period of change. The toughest part is asking for this help. Talk to friends who have similar principles as you, about how they manage their work and family. Ignore the advice you get from people with different values! Sometimes your family are so closely involved in the decision that their advice may not be for your benefit. Speak to people aren’t affected by the outcome of your decision as well as involving those who are.
Who can I talk to with similar values? Who will listen and support me through this change?
We can be influenced by people and things from a long time ago which may no longer be relevant to our present needs. So ask yourself:
Who am I pleasing now, by making these choices?
When do I want to return?
Timing with work and families is crucial. Nearly all mums will go back to work; the more relevant question is ‘When?’ 8% of Mums return to work early because they feel otherwise, their career will be compromised.
There may not be an easy time to go back but there is the ‘right’ time for you and your family. This is different for every family and not something you can decide before you have your baby! Its amazing how many people say to their employers when they leave on maternity-‘I’ll be back in 6 months’ and feel they should keep to this because as that’s what they said they would do.
What factors influence when I want to return?
Brainstorm these and decide when to review them to see what has changed.
Take responsibility for your decision and give yourself flexibility. The great thing about decisions is that you can always change your mind-it’s a women’s provocative!
Why–Sell it to yourself
Give yourself a pep talk like you would a friend. Every time you tell yourself you ‘should, ‘need’ or ‘have’ to do something ask ‘what do I really want to do?’
You may be going back to work but actually you are going forward in your life as a more fulfilled and whole individual. There are incredible things you learn from maternity leave which will make you an even more valued, skilled and motivated person.
Sam Pringle is a Professional NLP coach specialising in women returning to work. She offers 1:1 coaching, group workshops and business consulting. www.beeleafconsulting.co.uk . For more ideas aboutflexible work, see www.familyfriendlyworking.co.uk