Guest Post!- 5 Tips To A Better Return From Maternity Leave

The transition to and from maternity leave can be pretty tough. Whether you’re taking a
full 12 (or even 18) months, or you’ve decided to cut it short, there’s a lot to consider
when you’re away from the office for an extended period of time. From the logistics of
managing childcare to feelings of Mom guilt, returning to work from maternity leave can
be a pretty tough transition.

Working in Human Resources for nearly 15 years, I’ve seen what works pretty well and
what doesn’t. Here are a few tips to make your return to work a little easier.

1. While You’re On Leave - Stay Connected

A lot can happen during the course of your maternity leave. While you’re home feeding
a baby, changing diapers and basically repopulating the country, the world at the office
just keeps on spinning. Hard to believe, I know. A year of office gossip and
organizational changes just can’t be caught up on. Face it; if you don’t stay connected,
you are going to miss stuff. My suggestion – stay in touch with someone you have a
solid relationship with to keep in the loop. Do your best to meet up for coffee every other
month, or so. Added bonus if this person is a baby lover. They can snuggle the baby
while they catch you up on the dirt. Also, they’ll probably buy your coffee. You’re on
maternity leave, after all.

2. Six Months Before You Return to Work – Figure Out Childcare

Plan for childcare well in advance to avoid stress. I suggest that you start investigating
your childcare options when your baby is about five months old, if you’re taking a full
year. If you’re taking a shorter leave, start looking while you’re pregnant. Seriously.
Depending on the area you live in, daycares may have wait lists and age restrictions.
Some daycares don’t take children under the age of two. Wouldn’t you rather be looking
too early than too late?

Our daycare had a two-week transition period. This allowed me to hang around and get
a feel for the place. After the two-week transition, I was totally comfortable with the
daycare so I wasn’t stressed about leaving my little guy when I went to work. Please
note, during this two-week transition, I got to leave my kid at daycare and then go home
alone - SCORE!

3. Two Months Before You Return to Work - Get in Touch with Your Manager

Before your scheduled return date, get in touch with your employer to review the details
related to your return. Some employers may not have great processes for managing
your return to work, so you might as well take control of the situation. A couple of
months before your scheduled return date call or email your Manager or Human
Resources contact to schedule a meeting time. The purpose of this meeting will be to
discuss your next assignment, your work location, your work hours, etc. Having this
information will likely alleviate the stress of the unknown. Remember, even though
you’re on maternity leave you are still responsible to manage your career.

4. A Week Before You Return to Work - Treat Yo’ Self

Suppose by some miracle that all your pre-baby wear still fits beautifully (no judgment if
it doesn’t!), it is out of style. Do not argue. Go get some clothes that are in style. You
grew a human and kept it alive for a year. You deserve new pants. With Lycra.
Pick out a great outfit for your first day back. It’s such a wonderful feeling - wearing
something you look and feel good in. And it’s so simple to do. Make time for yourself.
The transition back can be rough. You might as well control what you can and feel good
in your own skin.
Consider getting your hair and nails done too!
Because I’m crazy organized, I’d also suggest picking out your work wear and your
child’s daycare wear for the entire week on Sunday nights. Get everything ready in
advance to eliminate some stress in the mornings.

5. The Day Before You Return to Work – Brace Yourself

The days and night before you return to leave can be a roller coaster of emotions. You
might feel sad, worries and/or excitement. Whatever you feel – it’s okay! The day
before your return to work, spend a little extra time with that babe of yours. Be reminded
that this is a transition. In a few months time it will all feel normal(ish) again – I promise.

Good luck with your return to work!

Shauna At Home

Shauna is a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR), with a Masters
Degree in Business (MBA) and Undergraduate Degree in Communications (BA).
Human Resources consulting, sharing tips on career management, living simply and



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