How your career after baby can go from strength to strength.
So you’ve had a baby and made the decision to go back to work. Now what for your career?
Stopping your career from stalling while bringing up baby (or babies) is a dilemma for professional working women for a reason. Ask any mother and she’ll tell you that going back to work is hard. After years of having the flexibility to stay late at the office and catch up on weekends, your work world changes forever the day you return from maternity leave. Suddenly, there’s a little person waiting for you at COB who needs dinner, a bath, and who you never seem to have enough time with.
We looked here at the various ways you can make the transition from maternity leave to work easier, but there’s no doubt it’s a tough gig.
How to get your career back on track after having kids.
What women really want (out of work and careers)
After you adjust to your new reality you’ll probably start thinking about what you want out of work again. Sometimes it might seem like your only option is to tread career-water indefinitely – you’ve already had six to twelve months out for maternity leave, you might be working part-time hours (and still trying to do a full-time job), catching four hours sleep (on a good night), your baby is getting sick at daycare every second week…And that’s all before you start thinking about having baby number two (or three!).
It’s never going to be easy, but embracing your new life as a mother doesn’t mean walking away from your work and career goals. Here are a few tips for getting things back on track!
After years of having the flexibility to stay late at the office and catch up on weekends, your work world changes forever the day you return from maternity leave.
1. Make your presence felt in the workplace
Just because you’re a mother now it doesn’t mean you’re not serious about your job or career. Research shows that discrimination still exists at many workplaces and sometimes it pays to remind your boss you’re back in action. This could mean putting your hand up for a promotion, a training opportunity or just making sure your work hours are considered when key meetings are scheduled.
Career progression is not just about promotion, it’s also about workplace satisfaction. That means access to meaningful work and opportunities to improve your knowledge and skills.
2. Talk to your partner about your workload
While women still carry the lion’s share when it comes to caring responsibilities this is starting to change; there’s greater recognition that men should be pulling their weight in the parenting department.
If you’re in line for a promotion or you’re finding it hard to balance work and home life, it’s time to sit down with your partner to discuss whether and how they can take some of the pressure off. This might mean they work part-time instead of (or as well as) you, or consider working flexible hours or from home.
Career progression is not just about promotion, it’s also about workplace satisfaction.
In many workplaces this will mean overcoming the stigma associated with men taking time off to parent. And, although they are uncomfortable topics to broach, not to mention taking away precious time in your working day, the only way to make change happen is to start these conversations.
Sharing the overnight shifts at home is also a big one. While you can adjust to operating on less sleep, tag teaming while your baby is still waking at night makes a big difference. And remember coffee is your friend!
3. Expand your network to others juggling a career and family
Even though it may feel like it, you’re not the first mother to return to work. Reaching out to other professional women juggling a career and family can be a source of great inspiration and advice, including if you need tips on having tricky conversations with your boss. Reach out and connect with another working mother in the Iris Lillian Squad, for example.
It can also be a strategic career move to boot. While a flexible employer is great, many women can feel trapped in their job if they start working flexible or part-time hours, worried they’ll never be able to access those conditions elsewhere. Networking widely gives you the opportunity to see what else is out there and get the intel on other workplaces which might have the support you’re looking for, as well as offering you new opportunities.
4. Make decisions that are right for you
Balancing work and family is a challenge, not to mention trying to maintain a life of your own! So don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you’re enjoying taking a step back from work then embrace it and think about your career when you’re ready. But by the same token, if a workplace opportunity comes up that’s right for you then feel good about grabbing it with both hands. Go get ’em!
Have you cracked the code when it comes to the illusive career and baby balance? Separate fact from fiction and share your tips with us below or continue the conversation with the Iris Lillian Squad!
You might also like to read Can I Have A Successful Career And Be A Great Parent and Am I Ready To Be A Parent?
Your career after baby can go from strength to strength
Cover photo: www.asharpeye.com