Listen up, lady, there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel insecure about going back to work after maternity leave. You might feel like a knackered old husk of a woman who’s forgotten everything other than how to change a nappy in the dark but trust us, you’ve just had a professional glow-up without even realising it. Please allow us to explain…
Your time management is impeccable
There’s nothing like the pressure of knowing you HAVE to be on the 5.24 train to make 6pm nursery pick-up to put a rocket up your you-know-what (as if that particular region hasn’t been through enough lately) when it comes to productivity. Because work can actually feel like a relaxing break compared to the relentless “on” mode of motherhood, you’ll fire through tasks and nail deadlines like never before. After all, the last thing you need is work seeping into your evenings and weekends when there’s so much to contend with at home.
You can multitask like never before
When you’ve eaten a roast dinner while rocking a pram or signed for a parcel with a baby on your boob, the everyday, work kind of multi-tasking feels much more manageable. The reason your brain feels so fuzzy is because it’s been so busy (well, that and the sleep deprivation) and it actually has scientific benefits. The constant learning and relearning process of motherhood is what’s known as a VUCA environment (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) and these conditions bring heightened awareness and make you prepared for anything – a big attribute in any job, but particularly if you’re in a demanding management role. Who knew baby brain could be a good thing?
You don’t sweat the small stuff
When we start out on the career ladder, many of us can be very sensitive to criticism, doubting ourselves around our superiors – particularly if any of them happen to be a little on the obnoxiously blunt side. But do you know who the most obnoxiously blunt person in the universe is? That’s right, your baby! Now that you’re a mum, the micro-aggressions of douchebags at work will go straight over your head, simply because you don’t have to jiggle them on your shoulder while they scream in your face at 3am (if they *do* ask you to do this, we’d suggest dropping an email to HR, pronto…). Similarly, if you make any little mistakes in the course of your work, they won’t keep you up at night – because you need all the sleep you can get.
You’re more sympathetic
Becoming a mum can soften the heart of even the hardest, most ruthless office bitch. If that was you (hi. We can’t believe we’re bold enough to speak to you like this), your colleagues might not be used to turning to you when they’re feeling vulnerable. But they’re going to be shocked when they meet the new you – suddenly you’ve got a bit more sympathy and empathy when they’re going through personal stuff that might impact their work. Until they mess your coffee order up, anyway. Idiots.
You’re a proper grown-up
Going back into a work environment as a mum, when some of your co-workers are child-free, can make you feel a bit old and boring, especially when you’re yawning into your white wine spritzer by 9pm at the office party while they’re plotting which karaoke bar to go on to. But try and see it differently – you’re simply wise and mature now. And tired. So tired. But when they tell you they’re “soooo exhausted” because they stayed up until 1am binging on The Queen’s Gambit, don’t roll your eyes and tell them they don’t know the meaning of the word. A smile will do; one day they will probably understand. More positively, chances are, some of the more senior people at your work are (knackered) parents too, so you might now have common ground with them that you lacked before. You can generally find them slumped by the coffee machine, ripe for bonding opportunities.