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How to Successfully Return to Work after Maternity Leave

Returning to work after maternity leave can be a challenging and emotional experience for many new mothers. It can be difficult to balance the demands of a new baby with the responsibilities of a job, and many mothers struggle with feelings of guilt, stress, and anxiety during this transition period.

It is not uncommon to feel apprehensive about returning to work. However, with the right strategies and support, it is possible to have a successful return to work after maternity leave. Factors which can influence a successful return include achieving a healthy work-life balance, having a robust childcare plan and returning to a supportive organisational culture.

What steps can you take to have a successful return to work? Here are five tips that can help:

1. Plan ahead: Start preparing for your return to work. This might include arranging childcare (including a plan B for when a child inevitably gets sick), and agreeing how to split domestic tasks, planning (and maybe practising) your morning routine to ensure everyone can get out of the house on time.

2. Make use of your Keeping in Touch days to communicate with your employer. Be proactive and talk to your employer about your needs and expectations as a new mother. This might include flexible work arrangements, such as working from home or adjusting your schedule to accommodate childcare responsibilities. You could ask for a phased return to work to ease yourself back in. Be clear in setting your boundaries with your line manager and colleagues to avoid uncertainty when you return.

3. Build a support system: Surround yourself with people who can help you, whether that's a partner, family member, friend, or colleague. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

4. Prioritise self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial during this time. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly to maintain your physical and emotional health.

5. Set realistic expectations: Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be the perfect mother and employee. Remember that it's okay to make mistakes and ask for help when you need it.

A successful return to work after maternity leave requires planning, communication, support, self-care, and realistic expectations. By following these tips, you can make the transition smoother and more manageable for both you and your baby.

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