Returning to work as a new parent
It’s been a year since I returned to work after having my first child, and what a year it has been! As I reflect on the last 12 months, I thought I would share 3 things I wish someone had told me sooner:
1. You are going to get sick!
Yep, your beautiful shiny new bundle of joy is in fact an undercover immune system destroyer. If your child is in any kind of day care, then the chances are they will bring home a whole host of weird and wonderful viruses. Start taking your vitamins now and whatever you do, do not put off to tomorrow what you can do today. Tomorrow you may be counting down the minutes until their next dose of Calpol and cursing your past self for the procrastination.
2. Be kind to yourself
The person with the highest expectations of what you should be able to deliver is most likely going to be you. You do not have to get straight back to being as productive as you once were, and that is ok. I am lucky to work with an incredibly supportive team who regularly reassured me that it was ok to take my time and find balance in my new normal. You are sleep deprived, sometimes emotionally torn and balancing a new set of responsibilities and routine. Allow yourself time to find your groove again, you will get there.
3. Regularly communicate what you need
It's quite possible that you are going to need to adapt your working environment or your working hours to ensure you can do your best work, maybe a few times over. Do not be afraid to raise this with your team and discuss options. I was so nervous to discuss amended working hours for fear of disappointing, however, as soon as I did, I realised that I was doing my team a service in the long run as it ensured I could be available to them at consistent times and with more focus.
Above all let me tell you, you are doing a great job! It is not easy, sometimes it feels impossible, but I personally have found it incredibly rewarding to join the ranks of parents at work. You are rewarded with those days where you feel like superwoman, you've nailed the morning routine, you've knocked your to-do list out of the park and you have spent quality time with your family... and those days are incredible! Good luck, you've got this!
At earthware we have enhanced maternity and paternity policies, lots of part time team members and flexible working for all. If you want to be part of an inclusive and flexible team, check out our current vacancies.