After delivery, it's a whole new universe of breastfeeding and caring for your baby. A mother’s life after maternity leave can be challenging. Upon resumption of work, mums have new priorities and concerns.
As a working Nigerian mum, there are important questions to ask yourself. For example, how can you ease into work mode? And how should you manage and balance your priorities appropriately?
We understand how tasking and worrisome this new phase of your life can be. We’ll outline 5 ways to gradually transition to the workplace without straining yourself.
- Show kindness to yourself
One thing working mums don't show to themselves but show to others is grace and kindness. You can not do everything all at once, and that's fine. There's no rule book to motherhood, nor is there such a thing as the perfect mother.
As you make your transition, acknowledge the fact that you may not be able to handle tasking assignments and projects for the first few weeks. You don't need to prove to anyone how effective of an employer you are, nor are you incompetent in handling easy tasks.
Don't be too hard on yourself. Know that no one else can care for your baby except for you. Take that break during work if needed and rest when necessary.
- Prioritise your work
Not every task is a priority or should be treated as urgent. While not everyone can have a flexible work mode like part-time work, compressed hours, or remote work, you must schedule your tasks appropriately.
Have a mindset of “I may not be able to work speedily or efficiently like I used to for the first few weeks.” Discuss this with your manager or superiors and find ways to maneuver this stage.
- Do a few practise runs
We get it. The first day can always feel like the worst because you’re trying to drop off your baby at the daycare or a close relative's place and resume early at the same time. What if you don't have to go through this draining experience?
Try practising before you resume work. Your baby doesn't have to enroll at a daycare the first day you resume work. You can choose a specific day to dress up, take your baby to the daycare, drive toward work, and turn back. You’d be surprised how well it’ll help you reduce anxiety on your first day.
- Communicate with your colleagues
Your colleagues are the closest things to a support system at work. You cannot figure out everything independently, especially when you have a good rapport with them.
Communicate critically with your colleagues. Be clear about your availability, and make it predictable. For example, by 2pm, you can communicate that you will be checking on your infant and won’t be available.
- Seek and utilise a support
If your company has available parenting resources, use them. It'll go a long way to help you ease back into work. If there are support groups or parenting communities around you, join them. This isn't a time to seclude yourself.
Parenting isn't a one-person journey. You need every available support you can get to ensure you care for your child while being productive at work.
The back-to-work phase for many Nigerian mums is met with fear and anxiety. While most mums resort to taking a break from professional work, some don't have this opportunity. As you return to work, be kind to yourself and communicate with your employer about your new normal and how they can support you. You got this, mama!