Your return to work: Hannah

Every month I publish a guest post from a mum who has been through returning to the workplace after maternity leave. We all have individual experiences, situations, ambitions and so on. There is no one way or right way, just what is best for you and your family. I hope by sharing a range of stories there will be something that mums on maternity leave and thinking about their return to work can relate to.
This post is written by Hannah who is 28 and has been with her partner James for nearly 3 years. They have a little girl called Raya who is 21 months old. Hannah returned to work when Raya was 13 months old – she also has a weaning page called @what.raya.eats.x it contains food ideas and recipes for families, babies and toddlers 🙂

Question 1. How did you feel about your return to work in the lead up to it?

I felt really worried in the lead up to my return to work. I was anxious over a multitude of things; how will I cope being without my baby girl for the first time since she was born? What if she couldn’t cope being away from me? How would the shift in our daily routine affect her? What happens if she only wants me and I’m not there? Would somebody else know what she wants when she cries? Would someone else do all the things I do for her, just how I do them? Could I afford childcare if I return to work? Could I afford to live if I didn’t return at all? The list was endless.

Question 2. What were the biggest challenges or worries that you had about your return to work?

The main challenge I faced when returning to work was that I no longer had a job to return to. I was made redundant within the first month of my maternity leave, which left me with no future plan. I knew I needed a job as we couldn’t afford to just live on my partners wage, but it’s not simple to just find any job once you’re a mother and the primary caregiver to your child.
I needed to think about what my potential new career would be, as I didn’t want it to be stressful (I had worked for a bank and gave financial advice in the past, and those jobs can be very mentally taxing). I had to make sure the days and hours didn’t clash with my partners. I had so much to think about and it was hard, I felt like I had very little options. In the end after weighing up the pros and cons of various work patterns, days and shifts I decided I’d work evenings once my partner was home from work. He works 8-4 Monday to Friday and I work 4 until midnight 3 days per week at Sainsburys.
The job is simple and easy, just what I needed, and the hours fit around what we wanted too. The thought of working until midnight as a Mum when you’re potentially up during the night and/or up early the next morning is daunting at first, but due to the times I work it means I can chill out and nap when she does during the day. The shift pattern also allows us not to need childcare which saves us money, and it also means either me or Dad are always with Raya, which we love as we adore 1 on 1 time with her.


Question 3. Is there anything that would have helped your transition back to the workplace?

I think having someone to actually talk to about my potential options would have been really beneficial. But there doesn’t seem to be anything like that in regards to careers advice for women returning to work – or at least if there is, I was never made aware of this by any organisation/health visitor/paediatrician etc.

Question 4. What tips would you give to other mums who are currently on maternity leave and preparing for their return to work?

Advice I would offer to other mums preparing for work is figure out what you can actually afford to do. Childcare is SO expensive, if I worked during the day and put Raya in nursery the fees would cost more than my actual wage, which is ridiculous. So I would say if you’re going to work but your pay is on par with the cost for nursery, it really isn’t worth it. Perhaps try and work alternate times with your partner like we do? Try and figure out what is going to be best for you all as a family both practically and financially.
If you’re anxious about anything talk to other mums, there are forums like mums-net but even Instagram has a huge mum community and it’s very informative listening and speaking to other families about what they do and how things work for them.

Thank you so much Hannah!

I hope you found reading about Hannah’s experience helpful. If you are on maternity leave and would like to return to work with confidence, you can get my free guide with some top tips so you can prepare yourself.
All the best,
PS. Do you know a mumma who might find this post helpful? Why not share it with her now.

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