I wanted to share my story with other mums and mums to be so that other people would have an easier transition to working mother than I did.
After having my daughter the closer it got to the end of my maternity leave the more terrified I felt, how could I ever leave my tiny baby, how could I ever trust another human being with my entire world, in my mind nobody could ever compete or compare with how I looked after her. I was fortunate enough to be able to afford to take a full year off with my daughter, as here in the UK we get 9 months statutory maternity leave then you can legally take a full year but the rest without pay. But again I knew the time would come where I had to leave her as I just couldn’t afford to not work plus in the back of my mind I knew it would do me good to get back out there into the workplace socialising with other adults.
My first day as a working mum was such a overwhelming feeling, leaving my precious little girl was truly heartbreaking but I got through it and as hard as it was in time it got much easier. The year I spend away from work felt like a life time and It felt like I had lost all of my skills and on top of that I now had my little girl to think about and consider.
When I first returned to my job after having my daughter it all felt like an uphill battle: emotional nursery drop offs, regaining my self-confidence in the workplace as ‘holly’ with the added worries of being a mummy, sick and carer’s leave, finding time for myself, feeling unreliable as a professional, struggling to get household chores done, finding time for my other half at the time and romance…. the list of challenges and fears goes on.
I think the fact I wasn’t happy in my job at the time also played a great part in it as I new I could achieve more for myself and my little girl that what I was currently doing. Whilst on maternity leave I’d already applied for another job and been successful at interview, that is the job I’m doing today, a job that I love and that has given me some much confidence and belief in myself. The lesson I’ve learnt from that is never settle for second best, everyone is worth more ❤️
Becoming a mother had changed me completely and my priorities were totally different to before I had my daughter. Particularly who I was as a professional, and it took me a few months to recalibrate. I wanted to have both a career and a family. At the same time. On my terms. I also felt as though nothing had prepared me for this new phase of my life as a working mum. I was the first of my close friends to embark on this life stage.
I knew I couldn’t be the only working mum who had experienced a difficult transition from career to motherhood and back again. So I started writing my blog, I started getting out more, making friends with children, I even went to a few coffee mornings with ladies who had babies a similar age to Ella.
When talking to other mums and from my own experience here are a couple of the things that scared me silly when I knew my return to work was getting closer after maternity leave:
What if I can’t find a suitable nursery or childminder?
This probably doesn’t surprise you for a number of reasons including availability, financial circumstances, work hours vs daycare hours. Without suitable daycare it would be impossible to return to your job and be the career women you strive to be. For me the thought of finding somewhere or someone I trusted with my precious little girl seemed like mission impossible at the time. There’s so many factors to take into consideration, what happens when your child is ill and cannot attend the nursery or childcare provider. What if the childcare provider has to close for whatever reason, what about holidays, cost, flexible hours and days.
So we looked around at childminders firstly as we thought they would be more accommodating to the hours and days we needed to fit round our employment, unfortunately none suited what I wanted for my daughter, none gave me that gut feeling and mothers instinct that it was the place my daughter would spend her time when I was at work. So we looked round at nurseries local to us as well, again I had a similar problem nothing stuck out to me and nothing gave me that feeling. Until we decided to pay a visit to a little nursery around the corner from us, one my friend had recommended actually as her little girl went there and they were very happy with it. As soon as we had our first visit I knew it was the one for us, straight away I had that gut feeling id been told I would get and that mothers instinct it all just came at me.
I felt like I’ve lost all my professional skills and since becoming a mum. What if I’ve forgotten my job?
No matter how much time you’ve spent on maternity leave, a lack of self-confidence about your professional abilities is really common.
Before you step back into the office (full of self-doubt) I suggest you review your resume and write a list of all of your professional skills. Give yourself a break and remind yourself how fab you are and what you can do!
You have a lot to offer an employer and your skills don’t disappear or diminish when you become a mum. They are still there, waiting to be used again when you are ready to resume your career.
I want new mums to realise that having fears about returning to work is normal and to empower them to take action to feel confident and prepared about becoming a working mum.