As a female professional returning to work after maternity leave, there is a great deal that can be done to prepare yourself, including re-evaluating your skillset.
Whether your leave was a few months, or an extended period similar to that enjoyed by mothers in Bulgaria (a wonderful 14 months of paid maternity leave), your time away from work can actually benefit your job.
Far from being a break filled with coffee shop conversations and long, leisurely walks, maternity leave can be a learning curve of stratospheric proportions. In fact, according to research, if a stay-at-home-mum had an income that reflected her responsibilities and hours, she’d earn £124,000 per year!
With that in mind, are you beginning to look at your ‘mum skills’ with a fresh perspective?
At polkadotfrog, we strongly believe that women need to re-assess the skillset they’ve developed as a parent, and to understand the value to their professional life.
This fresh approach is likely to impress the boss – it’s not only creative-thinking that you’re demonstrating, but it also conveys your enthusiasm for working life.
Which skills and personal qualities can you transfer to your job? Here are a few for inspiration:
When bringing up young children, patience is essential. Whether it’s a longer-than-expected potty training process, or the ability to deal with toddler tantrums, learning to take a few deep breaths and relax is helpful when coping with trying times. It’s beneficial for the child and for you (it’ll save you a few grey hairs).
As frustrating situations arise at work, knowing when to take a step back and wait for whatever is happening to take its course is good for your stress levels, keeps you level-headed, and sets a good example to less experienced colleagues.
Having to constantly prioritise and re-prioritise is an unavoidable part of parenthood. Is the nappy change more urgent than putting on that mountain of laundry? Should vacuuming the crumbs from lunch take priority over ordering the weekly online shop (before you run out of just about everything)?
When you return to work, what used to feel like a frenetic to-do list on your desk, will seem so much easier to tackle.
If the household chores are piling up, you can delegate to your spouse, an older child or a grandparent. From hanging out the washing before the sun goes in, to taking your little one to the park to give you time to whizz around the house with the duster, asking for help eases the burden.
At work, delegating allows you to focus on completing the most important tasks with more efficiency. This is especially a healthy habit if you’re the kind of person who thrives on doing everything yourself, as it’s usually unsustainable!
- Crisis management
Being a mum means you’re always looking out for risks to your children. When a crisis occurs – be it a playground accident or an empty bank balance – you have no choice but to deal with it, despite your own worries. However, after going through a family-related issues, you’ll be better armed to handle crises at work.
- Event management
From organising birthday parties on a budget, to planning Christmas in September, being a mum means you become one amazing event manager. Advanced planning is essential to navigate around school terms, children’s hobbies, and other peoples’ diaries. Then there’s usually unexpected and last-minute changes to deal with. When you go back to work, planning meetings will feel like a doddle.
It’s not until you become a parent that you understand what a long day really feels like. Remember those busy working weeks that used to tire you out? They’ll seem more like a mini-break, as you tackle sleepless nights and early mornings, followed by days packed with chores! After maternity leave, your ability to fight the fatigue is sure to get you through many a hectic day in the office.
This list includes a selection of transferrable skills, but don’t forget others such as budgeting, people management, communicating, flexibility and mentoring.