As a woman, it’s hard to thrive in workplaces dominated by men. While changes are being made, it’s a fight to be seen and heard, reflected in the number of women in top-paying jobs worldwide. Deciding to have children only worsens the issue as you need an extended period out of the office.
Once you go on parental leave, you not only stop keeping up with the latest industry developments, but you’re out of the internal loop. It’s easy to see why new moms want to return to their careers as soon as possible. If you’ve spent years building it, you won’t let go.
However, you have other responsibilities that matter more. Your kids will always come first, so effectively integrating your work and family life is challenging. Still, it’s doable. The advice underneath is a perfect place to start for the women who don’t know where to begin.
Reconnect With The Working You
Being out of the workplace for nine to ten months is inevitably going to impact your confidence levels. Something you used to do daily without a second thought could well fill you with dread. What if you’ve lost your ability to perform effectively? What will your colleagues think? How will they welcome you back into the flood?
The questions are endless, but there is a way to nip them in the bud – reconnect with your professional self. For example, you should find that organizing a coffee meeting with the boss or your co-workers will give you a gauge of the environment and what you’re walking into. If they report the same old stuff, then you’ll be back into the groove within a week. Another factor women don’t consider is the physicality of a job. After months off, you may require orthopedic physical therapy since your joints and muscles won’t be used to the stress.
The trick is to familiarize your mind and body with the practices and protocols as this will prepare you for an intense couple of days.
Decide On The Correct Workload
No mom should go back to work before the time is right. When you tell your employer that you’re ready, they take it as a sign that you have carefully mulled over your options and come to an informed decision. Therefore, they may not be as accommodating as you would imagine. Plus, it’s impossible to analyze how you’ll react when you’re away from your child for the first time.
Like having a baby, there is no “right” time to return to work. However, if you’re not ready to fully commit, you can speak about part-time options to give yourself the best chance of bedding in seamlessly. By working two or three days per week, you can ensure your presence is felt after a long time away and have the flexibility to care for your kids when necessary.
You don’t have to dive in at the deep end right away.
Realize You Have New Skills
The brain is a vat of information because it soaks up data like a sponge. It’s that efficient that most people don’t recognize it has happened. New moms tend to fall into this category since you’re busy bonding with your children and giving them the best platform in life. That’s a pretty big deal!
But, you may start to realize that keeping them entertained and tending to their needs has sharpened your corporate skills. Being a parent means you must multitask and solve problems on the fly, or else you’ll have to put up with crying from morning until night. These new skills are vital in the workplace as they’ll make you more organized and better at conflict resolution, two characteristics employers love.
Don’t be afraid to tell your boss about what you’ve learned and how you can help the company as it should result in extra opportunities.
Know Your Rights
Please don’t take this as a sign that you’re going to get screwed over. A significant proportion of businesses in the United States are welcoming and accommodating, so most women are fine on their return to the office.
Still, understanding your rights as a new mom coming back from parental leaves empowers you as an employee. Firstly, your boss may not know the ins and outs of the law, so it could be down to you to protect your rights. Secondly, it offers breathing space at a very tense time.
Every worker in America should understand the law, yet women who have just given birth are at the top of the list as they require extra protection.
You get to decide when you are ready to go back to work.