You’ve become a semi-pro at this parenting thing, but now you’re trying to juggle being World’s Best Mum with a job you love. So, how do you bring your A-game to both?
Do you still get that ‘new girl’ feeling, even though your maternity leave finished ages ago? You’re not the only one.
Multi-tasking nursery runs with deadlines and meetings can only add to feelings of uncertainty, but relax. It takes at least four months to feel fully confident back in the workplace after having a baby, according to a recent survey.
And, while you may feel you can never truly have it all, it is possible to do well in both worlds. It’s all about prioritising, being smart and changing your focus to reflect your current life stage.
How to juggle motherhood and your job:
1) Start as you mean to go on
Feel like you’re getting dirty looks when you walk out the door? Try not to over-think it, and compromise if it’s absolutely necessary. ‘Business is about give-and-take, so if you can’t stay late, tell people that you’ll be around for 30 minutes that evening to take any vital calls,’ says Anna Doble, legal director of media law firm Wiggin.
2) Be honest – and realistic
‘Percentages turn this stage into a process with a goal, and keep things professional in terms of the language you’re using,’ says Tracey Woodward, commercial director of Urban Retreat. And expect it to take time. ‘Seeing life and work as two separate jobs will always leave you feeling behind in one or both,’ she says. ‘Instead, view them as parts of a whole that you need to balance – sometimes one has to give a little.’
3) Feel alive on no sleep
‘My routine includes a few glasses of water, some stretches and using a body brush to get my circulation going,’ says Tracey. ‘If you’re flagging during the day, run your wrists under the cold tap for a boost.’
4) Make space for creativity
‘A half-hour swim at lunch to think outside a work environment can be more productive than two hours at your desk trying to have that light-bulb moment,’ says Clare Hopkins, co-founder of beauty brand Balance Me. ‘I also bounce ideas off other people, even those in different industries, because they can show you how to approach something in a fresh way.’ Keep a notebook in your bag or an ‘ideas’ note on your phone, so you can write good ones down straight away.
5) Take time out
‘Picture the worst case scenario, then put it into perspective,’ says Tracey. Whenever you doubt your decision to return to work, think over the benefits for your child. ‘He’s socialising with other children at nursery or having fun with whoever he’s with, then he gets the best of you when you get home,’ says Clare.
6) Get organised
‘Set yourself a household task to get done in your lunch break each day – paying a bill or booking a GP appointment,’ says Anna. ‘Have separate lists for work and home. I have a folder for everything, from weekly plans to party invitations. It sounds geeky, but knowing everything’s in one place puts you back in control.’
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