Posted by Zoe Boddy-McEwen

Posted 26 January, 2016 After Work

Dealing with returning to work following maternity leave is an issue that faces most women at some point. I went back to work when my son was 9 months old. After a traumatic time and a baby with severe reflux who was on medication until he was 1, all my friends said that going back to work would feel like a break – I laughed. I didn’t believe them. But they were right!

My days of meeting fellow Mums in Costa, swapping tips on colic remedies and water baby classes had come to an end and were replaced with working in the property market, writing marketing literature, organising events and actually engaging my brain – well, what brain I thought I had left after taking part in what often felt like a sleep deprivation exercise.

I soon became accustomed to the daily struggles as life as a working Mum. No longer could I spend my mornings having a leisurely shower followed by breakfast of my choice. Now, there was a daily battle against the clock – racing to get us both ready, strapping the baby in the car seat and racing off to nursery before ‘enjoying’ a rice cake in the car on the way to work. The traffic helps with that, at least.

I would often turn up to work looking far from my pre-baby self. But the more I looked around at the Mums and Dads at the nursery drops offs I noticed I wasn’t alone. We’re all doing it. That’s the way life is. Staying at home isn’t any easier – far from it, apart from you can get away with looking ‘Mumsy,’ something you can’t really do in the corporate world. But behind the suits the majority of us are grinning and bearing it, getting on with things in a typically English manner.

It took a while, but two years on, I’d come to realise I’m not superwoman and nor are my friends. We’re just trying our best to hold down a career as a working parent.

FIVE TIPS TO DEAL WITH RETURNING TO WORK

– It’s good for your sanity and your child’s for you both to have your independence from each other as hard as the nursery drops off are at first. So don’t be too hard on yourself being a working Mum.

– You’re more resilient than you think. Even on 2 hours sleep you can still perform at work. So stress less about lack of sleep – you should be used to it by now! -Make time for yourself

– Set a bit of time at least one lunchtime a week to do something you enjoy – Shopping, lunch with a friend.
– Go to the gym – it helps you de-stress and gather your thoughts.

– Compare notes – as I’ve described above, there are plenty in the same boat. Ask around, there are some other young parents who work at OBI. Richard Lace, Andrew Crompton and I can often be found exchanging sleep training tips and swopping tantrum stories – the babies not us!