For many mothers the thought of returning to work after maternity leave can be anxiety inducing. It is not uncommon to feel a loss of self-confidence whilst being away from work, and this can lead to women fearing they will not be able to combine their careers with motherhood.
Working mothers may also feel they need to overcome colleagues’ perceptions that they have prioritised motherhood over their careers. They feel a need to rebuild their reputation within the workplace, all adding to those feelings of anxiety about returning.
Reminding yourself of your skills, experience and what you enjoy about your job will not only help boost your self-confidence, but will also help you to boost your visibility when back in the workplace.
Top tips to build your confidence
- Remind yourself of some of your key achievements before you went on maternity leave. Think of three specific examples and then think more deeply about what you did, the decisions you took and the outcomes. Reflecting on these times will help build your confidence. You have done it before, and you are more than capable of returning to your role.
- Consider what you enjoy about your job. Thinking about why you do what you do will help you approach your back to work date with a positive mindset. You can also think about the positives of restarting work: regaining financial independence, intellectual stimulation, personal satisfaction from completing tasks, and interactions with colleagues.
- Reach out to your colleagues and find out what has been happening. Not only will this help you feel more in the loop when returning, it also reminds your colleagues of what you do .
- Re-evaluate your relationship with work. Parenthood changes us and will impact how you feel about work, and your definition of success. Acknowledging this will help you plan a successful return
- Think about all the new skills you have developed since becoming a mum! Resilience, empathy, time-management to name but a few. These are all great skills to take back to the workplace.
It will be an upheaval, and it will take time to adjust to a new routine, but things will settle down. Remind yourself that going back to work is a personal choice that you have made to benefit you and your family. This is your time to regain your professional identity and you should allow yourself to enjoy it.
This article was written by Denise Tuke, one of our partner coaches who supports women who believe that being an amazing mum doesn’t have to mean surrendering your sense of identity, wellbeing and ambition. You can get in touch via her profile page, visiting her website https://www.dtcareercoaching.co.uk/ or on Instagram.
April 6, 2023