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Returning to Work after Maternity Leave: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Updated: May 13

Maternity leave can be a time of mixed emotions as you adapt to life parenting a new baby. When the time comes, many find the prospect of returning to (paid) work daunting, but with careful preparation, you can make it a smooth and successful transition.

Lady holding child

Firstly, have open and honest communication with your employer before your return. Ideally, you will have kept in touch throughout your leave to signal your intention to return and to scope out the feasibility of adjustments such as flexible or remote working. If you have dependencies on childcare provisions then having a clear idea of your return to work plans early will be helpful.

Consider requesting a phased return to ease yourself back utilising accrued holiday or outstanding KIT days. It can be a shock to the system not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too so this allows you to build back up to your end state arrangements in a less overwhelming way. It also helps remind colleagues that you are transitioning and to be patient whilst you get back up to speed.

Before you return, practice your daily routine both for yourself and your baby to fine tune timings. If it's possible it can be helpful to settle your baby into their childcare arrangements prior to returning so you can both get used to it without the added pressure of leaving for work.

Take advantage of support networks including family, friends, or fellow working parents. Seek guidance and advice from those who have experienced similar transitions as their insights will prove invaluable as you navigate the challenges of balancing work and family life. Accept any offers of help at home to enable you to prioritise self-care as your wellbeing is essential for both your physical and mental health.

Consider exploring any opportunities for professional development or training. It is natural to feel rusty or out of the loop, so updating your skills or brushing up on industry knowledge will boost your confidence. When you've returned, add value by offering to review or provide an opinion on a piece of work as not only is this is a good way to help you remember how capable you are but you'll bring the benefit of a fresh perspective.

Finally, and most importantly - be patient with yourself. Returning to work after maternity leave is a significant transition that may present unforeseen challenges. It's crucial to be compassionate towards yourself as you navigate these changes. Moving back into your career after maternity leave may feel overwhelming at times, but with careful planning and a positive mindset, you can successfully transition back and you are not alone in this journey.

Stay focused, be patient, and believe in your ability to excel in both your career and as a parent.

For support to navigate a return to work from maternity leave book a free Discovery Call to find out more or book my Parent Transition Package

You might also find my Digital workbook on balancing work and family commitments helpful.


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