Maternity Leave is Over – To Work or Not To Work?

So you’ve had some time off with your baby since he or she emerged into this crazy world during maternity leave. You’re getting the hang of breast feeding, formula feeding, weaning, sleep training, early mornings, teething, dribbling, nappy changing, messy play……..the list goes on. When your bundle of love arrived, not only were you faced with keeping an actual human alive but you learned how to navigate baby groups, coffee shops with a pram and the trauma of that first use of a public changing facility. After the use of many a Dettol wipe of course.

You made it! You got through those first few weeks and months of maternity leave.

You survived. Hey, I’m guessing you did pretty well actually. But let’s not get all cocky now, oh no. Because now you have to face that other looming life question, what about that thing I did before baby – you know, the work thing?

Whether you need to return to work for financial reasons or because it’s a good chunk of what you consider to be your identity. Whether you choose to take a different job for flexibility or say ‘ta ta’ to the world of work entirely, it’s a bloody big decision.

Before I had my son I was working for a large international financial services business. Oh yes, check me out, the ‘career girl’. Kind of. I’m not sure I was ever comfortable with that particular label but for some people it seemed to fit fairly well. The combination of a demanding role, pretty competitive peers and a long commute made me question whether I wanted to stay on that particular treadmill or take a leap of faith and try another one. The subject of me joining the family business had been discussed A LOT! In fact, I’m pretty sure I managed to glaze many a pair of eyes with that particular procrastination. And having a baby it seemed was the push that I needed.

It was in no way an easy decision. When I was unexpectedly signed off work at 34 weeks pregnant, I actually cried. Yep, I really did love my job that much. I didn’t leave because I hated what I was doing. I left because it didn’t quite fit with the person I had become anymore. That and the role I was offered on my return wasn’t entirely game changing, but that’s for another blog post!

What influenced your decisions about ‘the work thing’ post maternity leave? Did you ease back into your previous role or take an alternative route?

I’ll be talking about ‘keeping in touch days’ and my reality of work post maternity leave – what was your experience?

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