In previous blogs, I covered the importance of understanding the kind of mum you want to be; and 6 ways to enjoy guilt-free 'ME time' as a new mum. Today, we begin to dive into the next hurdle: going back to the workplace.
Having to work outside the home is a reality for most new mums today. But there are ways you can begin to take charge by creating a plan for this transition. If you think getting the ‘mummy part’ right first - and then fitting work around it is easier said than done – you may be surprised! Here are 3 tips to get your plan started:
1. Know you ALWAYS have options!
Even if you are convinced that your employer won’t be flexible, or that you (and your ‘baby brain’) are no longer employable, know that you always have options. ALWAYS!
Companies are becoming more open to creating flexible work arrangements with mums, so they don’t lose employees they have invested in. And there are many resources available, such as flexible-work recruiting agencies; e-learning for returning mums; and ‘returnships’. (I will focus on some of these helpful resources in my next blog).
2. Know what you WANT first, and then determine what you NEED
We tend to believe we have to return to the exact hours and expectations we had previously at work… but this may not be the case.
First, think about the type of situation that would help maintain the happy equilibrium you have found as a mum. What does that structure look like? (For example, reduced work hours? fewer work days in a week? a job-share? a ‘no emails in the evening’ policy?) Next, determine whether the structure you want will provide you with the level of income your household needs. If it will not, are there other areas in life where you can cut back on spending? With proper budgeting, you may find you can afford the flexibility you desire!
When you’ve defined what you want as an ideal work situation, stand behind your decision with conviction.
3. Know what your rights are
If you’re returning to your previous employment after maternity leave, make sure you know your return rights and benefits. The details of maternity benefits should be included in your employment contract; and Human Resources policies are usually on a company’s intranet site or available on request from HR staff. Important policies to note include repayment of maternity benefits and flexible work arrangements the company offers.
Remember, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to developing a plan for transitioning to work. My next blog will provide some resources to build your confidence and understand your value to an employer, even when you’ve been out of the workplace for a while.
Until next time,
Sarah Gonzalez, ACC, CPCC