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  • Writer's pictureAnnabella Smith

How to Overcome the Fear and Guilt of Going Back to Work Post-Maternity Leave

Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience that comes with its share of joys and challenges. One of those challenges is when the decision, or need, to go back to work arrives. For first-time mothers as well as those going back after the second/third/fourth maternity leave or even those who are returning after a longer career break, the decision to resume your career can often be met with mixed emotions. The fear and guilt of leaving your little one and stepping back into the workforce can be overwhelming, regardless of whether you are doing it because you have to or doing it for yourself. In this blog, we'll explore how to control these feelings and work towards finding the perfect balance between work and family life.

Reframing the Return: A Positive Journey

I get it. Returning to work post-maternity leave is a daunting prospect. I’ve been there twice. The fear and guilt that accompany this transition can cast a shadow over what should be an exciting new chapter. But here's the thing – it's all about perspective. We need to reframe our thinking and see this return to work as a positive journey, one filled with opportunities for personal and professional growth. Instead of dwelling on the separation from your little one, let's focus on the empowerment that comes with balancing motherhood and a career.

Embracing Change

Going back into the workforce is a transition that requires an adaptable mindset. Not just because your child has a temperature again and needs picking up from nursery, but because you’ll be transforming into a new you. You’ll need to embrace and accept that things will be different, for the better. Be open to change and ready to adjust your schedule as needed. Every day might not go perfectly, and that's absolutely okay. Learning to adapt and improvise is a valuable skill in both motherhood and your career.

Finding Balance

Balancing your career and motherhood is no easy feat, but it's achievable. Start by figuring out what’s important to you. What gives you energy? What keeps you motivated? Balls will drop but it’s working out which balls are okay to drop vs which will smash. It’s helpful to establish a support system – whether it's through your partner, family, or trusted friends. Don't be afraid to ask for help; it takes a village to raise a child after all.

Tools and Techniques

Equipping yourself with tools and techniques can make the transition smoother. Time management, effective communication, and setting clear boundaries are key to maintaining a work-life balance. Be open and honest with your company and team. You nor they can’t fix what they don’t know is broken. Remember, a lot of these skills are learnt through motherhood (if they didn’t come naturally to you beforehand). So you have the ability, now you need to own it. Talk through your concerns and worries with those you trust, not only will the simple process of letting it out will help relieve some tension but by being honest you’ll open up opportunities for further support, both physically and mentally.

The Power of Self-Care

Never underestimate the power of self-care. Taking time for yourself is essential for your well-being. Even if it's just a few minutes of meditation, a bath, or seeing friends, self-care can help you recharge and be a better mother and professional. Fill your cup. Don’t compare yours to others as we all have different needs. Your cup might need filling up more regularly and that’s fine, as long as you are trying your best to meet those needs.

The journey of returning to work post-maternity leave is a path filled with challenges and rewards. It's a journey that can be both empowering and fulfilling. With the right mindset, support, and a willingness to embrace change, you can overcome fear and guilt and excel in both your career and as a mother.

Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and there's a community of mothers who have walked this path and are willing to support you. You've got the tools and techniques to make this journey a successful and fulfilling one. So, step into the world of motherhood and work with confidence and optimism, knowing that you are making the right decision for yourself and your family. You've got this. You are capable of amazing things!

Do you need help reframing your mindset? Figuring out what's important to you? What gives you energy? What balls you can and can't drop? Coaching could help. Send me a message and we can discuss your next steps.


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