There’s a support group for you.
By Kinia Romanowska
People will tell you that a year on maternity leave goes by quickly.
You may have scoffed at the idea, like I did. Especially when you’re sleep-deprived and have not had a shower in a few days!
But time does fly, and it’s never too early to envision a perfect return to work after baby. Did you know that fewer than 4% of new mothers indicated that taking maternity leave had positively impacted their career?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Taking the time to think about what you want is one of the first steps to plan a more positive transition.
Have you considered putting ink to paper and planning what that would look like?
Would it be a gradual return to work, part-time work, or working from home?
Whose support do you need to make this happen? Could you make this a win-win situation for yourself and your boss?
Moms who brainstormed ideas and talked with other moms about return-to- work strategies are more confident to imagine an amazing return from mat leave and to ask for the right support.
Support groups like Pros&Babes in Edmonton connects career-minded moms during and after mat leave.
Pros&Babes helps moms brainstorm work/life integration strategies and find a peer mentor to stay connected with their career-goals.
There are many other resources out there for career-minded moms:
– The Canadian CERIC guide for employees and employers to plan better mat leave transitions
– The book Work, Pause, Thrive by Lisen Stromberg
– Back to Work After Baby by Lori Mihalich-Levin
– Work Evolution, which helps connect employees and employers with flexible work opportunities
Of course, there’s the pure logistical side of working with tots in tow. Making sure you have meals planned, clothes laid out; getting out the door on time.
But what about the emotional side of things?
“… to have a calm, mindful and well-planned return, a new mother needs to think about much more. So many aspects of her identity, physical and mental health, work skills and strengths, and support network are suddenly on the table, and it is worth spending time thinking about these elements of returning, too,” writes Lori Mihalich-Levin in her book, Back to Work After Baby.
By connecting with like-minded moms during Pros&Babes sessions, I’ve seen moms benefit from considering this period of their lives from a holistic perspective. They started having important conversations with their partners and their bosses early enough, and as a result found their transitions back to work more satisfying.
Finally, I truly believe that a maternity leave adds to a woman’s skill set. It doesn’t diminish it. More and more employers are recognizing that supporting working moms is not only the right thing to do: it’s good business practice. See the CERIC guides I mentioned above for more on that topic.
So as you start getting a bit more sleep and emerging from “momnesia”, I dare you to dream about the next steps in your professional life, whether with your journal or a group of like-minded mamas!
Edmonton-based Kinia Romanowska is a former journalist and seasoned communications professional. She founded Pros&Babes during her maternity leave, after she heard new moms say they missed the intellectual conversations work provided. Pros&Babes connects working and career-minded mothers and their partners before, during and after maternity leave. We provide a forum for meaningful discussion, networking and support.