So how does it really feel to return to work after 10 months off?? My story….
This time last year I was busily trying to clear down my 26,000 emails, clear my to do list and write a handover that someone would be able to understand other than just me and my frazzled brain! Back then I was panicking what if I don’t get it done, what if I’ve forgotten something crucial, have I trained my replacement well enough and of course thinking “how will they ever cope without me!”, Yep you get a blurred sense of self importance when you have to hand over the reigns to someone else! In truth, I got as much done as I could, my handover was actually OK and I reminded myself I wasn’t leaving the country just the office and if anything did arise they could call me…. more importantly could they cope… sadly of course they could!!
Life without work, when your so used to it, is so different. Parenting is wonderful of course but in between the school run, nappy changing, preparing bottles (I’ve put baby powder in my coffee more than once I can tell you!) and 400 verses of “If you’re happy and you know it”, you start to forget what it was like to be at work and wonder how you ever fitted it in! One thing is for sure though, time goes super fast when you are on leave and before you know it your wrapped up in a different kind of frenzy, who will have the children when I go back? how do I afford childcare? when will I fit in all the washing that seems to have quadrupled and how will I even manage to get out of the house in the morning looking even remotely human?! On top of that you suddenly have this overwhelming thought of what if it’s all changed, what if I can’t remember what to do, what if the new staff don’t like me…. I’m feeling guilty about leaving my little one but petrified I won’t be any good at work either! The pressure feels almost like an actual physical weight. Last week we had tears, panic attacks and lots of hugs with the kids that I was feeling so guilty about leaving but now 3 days back to work how is it??
Well, I did get out of the house AND with a lick of mascara to boot! The kids… 2 out of 3 went to school knowing no different and the little one tugging on my heart strings… waved me off with a massive grin! The office was still standing and the coffee pot just where I had seen it last. A few things had changed of course it always does, but had my boss and colleagues grown extra heads just to scare me… NO, they welcomed me back warmly and within an hour I was back up and running!
Today I feel good again and balancing life isn’t so hard. I’m writing this to all the other mums soon returning to work to tell you, actually it’s OK. My advise though is this….
Speak to your boss, they are more flexible then you think
Keep in touch, then it’s not so scary when you go back, I did lots of KIT (Keep in Touch) days so always felt in the loop
Don’t feel guilty, you are allowed to work AND be a good Mum and when you get home someone else has probably fed them for you too!
Enjoy it, it is amazing what a little adult conversation can do to make you feel human again!
If you need any tips or advice on anything from returning to work or requesting flexible working, I’m here and happy to talk!
Jonelle for HR Revolution!