Is there an ideal moment to resume work after maternity leave

A frequently encountered question among new mothers is when they can or should return to their existing job or re-enter the workforce, possibly even considering a career change. While children need constant care and rearing, there comes a moment when most mothers either feel the need to return to their careers and pick up where they left off or simply need to take this step. Regardless of what you may have heard from other mothers, the truth is that there’s no straightforward answer when it comes to the ideal timing to go back to business. Some moms resume work after several weeks, whereas others take an extended maternity leave.

Timing can be underestimated, but it is key to effectively achieving work-life balance, preventing potential burnout, and ensuring your baby is emotionally prepared for this life-changing stage in their life. As such, ensure you’re comfortable with this life change and consider taking a part-time job if the current context impedes you from going to a nine-to-five job.

There are several things you’ll have to sort out before embarking on this journey. Read on to discover what points demand your focus before returning to the saddle and what preparations you must cross off your to-do list. 

Resuming work assumes you’ve already dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s at home

Resuming work implies you’ve already created and organised an efficient, functional, and baby-friendly environment at home. Whether your baby is under the care of a babysitter or entrusted to grandparents, it’s necessary to make sure that the needed supplies are readily available and within reach, the baby’s surroundings are safe, and last but not least, your kitchen is efficiently set up for all the daily tasks unfolding there. Achieving a work-life balance when you have numerous household chores like cleaning and cooking can quickly become taxing and time-consuming. To alleviate this stress, optimising different aspects of your kitchen is essential, from developing strategies to manage household tasks to enhancing your kitchen’s functionality and conducting repairs and fixes where necessary.

A baby-centric kitchen involves more than just using cupboard locks and anti-slip pads. It comes down to designing a space that simplifies your daily tasks, too. Furniture materials should be easy to clean and resistant to spills, moisture, and wear and tear. To better juggle your daily tasks in the kitchen and ensure cabinetry remains in top condition long-term, you can opt for solid wood kitchens made from durable, resistant, and sustainable materials such as Grade A+ oak. You can easily attach locks to them and prevent your baby from accessing shelves and lockers where they might discover items that pique their curiosity and shouldn’t be within their reach while you’re at work.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’re struggling with emotional distress

Returning to work post-baby can be anything but an easy feat. You’ll likely have a lot on your plate, juggling multiple roles such as motherhood, your job, being a spouse, and other responsibilities. Adjusting to a new routine and altering your list of duties can be challenging, not to say that it can lead to poor sleeping habits or insufficient rest since you’ll need to make a change in this respect, too. And let’s remember the hormonal fluctuations and changes that come with the various stages after giving birth. Feeling like you’re losing control of things, going off the deep end, and struggling to cope with an overwhelming workload to the point of having a breakdown are emotions that you should prepare for beforehand and know that it’s normal for this transition to not feel like a walk in the park.  

Therefore, if you find yourself in both a privileged and challenging situation, the best you can do is be transparent and ask for help from people you know you can rely on. There are numerous forums and group chats where you can ask for advice from other mothers, share experiences, and gain valuable insights that would otherwise be difficult to acquire since motherhood is a continuous learning process.

Additionally, you can download different mommy-oriented applications on your smartphone, such as Baby Connect or Cozi. They can help you organise your schedule and make the most of the time you have on hand.

Working mom burnout is real, but once you acknowledge it and ask for help from reliable people, you’re one step closer to finding the remedy.

Navigate the legal jurisdiction in your country

Analysing the UK law, if you wish to return to your previous job after maternity leave, you can discuss this with your employer and resume work as long as your maternity leave does not exceed 26 weeks. However, you are required to inform your employer of your intentions at least two months before your planned return. According to the Health and Safety Executive’s guide for new mothers, you must take at least the first fourteen days of maternity leave immediately following childbirth.

In the United States, on the other hand, new mothers are entitled to take unpaid time off work for child-rearing and healing lasting up to 3 months. It’s recognised that this period is critical for their development and creating a connection with their mother. However, the support offered by companies differs from situation to situation. For more certainty, you need to revise the policy implemented at your workplace and create a plan based on it, if you want to return to your job as soon as possible.

The right time to go back in the grins is whenever you feel completely prepared for the transition 

Getting back to work assumes you’ve prepared your home for a smooth transition and are mentally prepared for the massive change you’ll undergo in your life. There’s no such thing as the perfect timing for re-joining the workforce and turning your life around. The ideal moment to return to the working stage is when you and your baby feel prepared for this big step.

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