Few women experience a change in life circumstances more drastic than when we have a family. Generally speaking, most women have carved out a life for themselves, have a job and probably a career that they are deeply engaged in. That time at home with your baby is a hard, beautiful, joyful and incredibly trying time. You might find that you are feeling all ‘the feels’ when your maternity leave comes to an end.
The Emotional Conflict
The thought of getting back out into the world is exciting. It’s something that most of us are dying to do because by the time we’ve had 12 months at home immersed in all things baby, we’re ready for some adult company, some new challenges and, let’s face it, a bit more money in our pockets. But the reality is that for all the great things about going back to work, it will probably leave you feeling very emotionally conflicted.
The pull to our children is bigger than we imagined it could be. Yet most women these days live a modern life, with all the trappings that go with modern life, so it’s natural to want to reclaim that after a time of being in the parenting trenches.
Am I Still Relevant?
The other big question that many women are asking themselves after 12 months out of the work force is “am I still relevant?”. Often, there have been changes at work, which can be disconcerting. It’s not uncommon for women to return to work and find that their job is not the job they left behind 12 months earlier.
While these changes within your work sphere, and more significantly within yourself, can leave you feeling a bit wobbly, vulnerability is a great force for change. If things have shifted for you it’s a great opportunity to really assess what your goals and your hopes are, and use the opportunity to engineer a situation that works for you and for your family.
The New Normal
Some great advice I was given when heading back to work after having my babies, was to persevere. It takes time to get used to your new normal. Think back to how topsy turvy things felt when you first came home with your baby, but then you adjusted and settled in to your new life.
The same will happen when returning to work. You’ll navigate your way through any changes at work, you’ll get your morning routine with the childcare drop off down pat, and then in a few months time you’ll likely wake up and look forward to heading in to the office.