Top Tips to Survival:
The Return from Maternity
Return to work date set? Check. Childcare arranged? Check. Ready and raring to return to work?! Er……not quite! Don’t panic, returning back to work after maternity leave is a scary and daunting business but there are ways to make the whole process less stressful. It brings with it a whole range of daunting emotions; from guilt for leaving your child with someone else, concerns that you will have forgotten all previous medical knowledge…to even slight relief that you will be able to have a wee and drink hot tea in peace. It is a start of a whole new chapter in your life and takes adjustment, we hope these tips may set you off on the right track but please remember you are not alone
Before going back…..
1) Whilst on maternity leave use your “keeping in touch days” or KIT; they don’t need to be used for going into your department but can be used for teaching, courses…really anything. Maybe an APLS refresher course would be a good idea? There are “return to work” courses which are a great way of building your confidence back up and kick starting your brain. It obviously means you get paid also!
2) In the run up to returning to work, make sure your work clothes fit you-if not, it’s a great excuse to buy some new ones. It’s really important that you feel confident about yourself as this will ease the transition.
3) Fit in time to have a haircut/dentist appointment/ doctor’s appointment etc, all the ones that will be tricky to fit in whilst juggling work commitments with family life.
4) Read over guidelines that are used where you work, it is good to have these in your mind to fall back on.
Its work time!
Prepare things you need the night before: clothes, breakfast, lunch, pack your child’s bag. It is amazing how quickly time flies when you are trying to get yourself and a small human being out of the house in the morning! You will get used to the routine and be a pro in no time but until then, just be prepared and it will be a lot easier.
Take in cake or chocolates on your first day back….everyone loves someone who arrives with food and it will take less time for people to warm to you (and forgive you if you forget to do something!)
Don’t take on too much in the first month, learn to say no. It will be a huge adjustment initially and you don’t want added stress of extra commitments on top. Even in the evenings, you may be shattered so give yourself time for early nights and time to relax.
Find someone, a friend or colleague, who has been off recently to help you through the transition. Initially it may feel very daunting and you may feel that you can’t cope- you need someone to support you and remind you it will get easier!
Please don’t let maternal guilt take over! it is normal to feel guilty about returning to work but don’t be hard on yourself. Your child will love childcare and will still love you even if you feel that you are deserting them. Messy play is what childcare was made for!
Be honest with people if you are finding it difficult, speak to your educational supervisor and colleges for support. Be honest with
yourself- Its ok not to feel like superwomen all of the time!
Good luck and enjoy your next adventure!!
Dr Hannah Murch