When you went back to work after a baby.
It’s funny that we just think things will go back to being just the way they were before we left isn’t it? I guess for some maybe it does but I’d wager that for most it’s like coming back into the twilight zone!
It’s like coming back into the twilight zone!
Its the same old building, with the same old problems except now there’s all these new faces who are looking at you like you’re the one out of place. (come one right?)
If you’re lucky; your immediate team is still the same and all’s good but if not, you now have new faces to get to know (and trust) along with whatever god-forsaken changes they have made to the way you used to work. Lets assume the changes are good ones (no one likes a negative-nelly after all) but you will have to now get your head around those changes and the obvious change to your greater world – Life without your baby by your side 24/7!
Now I’ve been back at work for 11 months after being off with the Pygmy for his first year of life. I went from being high functioning in the workplace to a steep learning curve of being a mum in isolation and back again… (its a work in progress but we’ll cover that another time)
Here’s the 5 things I’ve learnt that no one told me before I re-entered the world of workaholics:
- Nothing will be how you left it. – People, tasks, responsibilities.. hell even the tea bags will change. Don’t assume you will be able to just slot back in where you left. Organic change is normal but do not underestimate the power of those who were just waiting for you leave while they plotted from the shadows. You will have to work hard to ‘line up your ducks’ again.
- It will be hard to be a “person” again – remember for the past however many months you have been a machine. You’ve been a food dispenser, bottom wiper, washer, dryer, sweeper, tissue, teddy bear; you name it, you’ve been it and now you have to come back to the world and actually be a person. Who speaks to adults. In real words…not coo’s and kisses. Just let that sink in for a sec. All those skills “people” use instinctively have been dormant for the past year. Its a wonder you remember how to turn on your PC let alone have a coherent conversation with anyone. But rest assured; this will pass with time.
- You shouldn’t immediately trust that anyone has your best interests at heart. – Now this is true of any situation but especially when you return to work after a baby. There is still a lot of stigma around this ‘working mum’ business. people will assume one of two things; either that you are exactly as you were, with all the same priorities or that you are completely unable to focus/manage or have the dedication needed for the job. Its on you to decide which of these statements apply to you. Personally I believe none of them to be true.
- You wont give a damn about the same things you used to. – Things that used to irk you like if Sally’s on flexi again or Alan’s delayed responses just wont seem like a big deal any more. You know now that there is bigger fish to fry and ultimately this isn’t your circus… yours is at home with the childminder! You just have to worry about getting your sh*t done and punching out until tomorrow to do it all over again. (of course if you’re one of those lucky sods in their dream job you may skip this one altogether)
- You will feel trapped – This one maybe be a little more personal. You will feel trapped in the sense that you apply the statement “I need to stick with this while xxx is still small…I need the stability” its a lie you tell yourself to stay in what’s left of the comfort zone you once knew. There is no such thing as stability.
It might seem a little negative but I assure you once you stop and really think about these points you’ll agree that the sooner you get your head around these simple facts transitioning back wont be so hard. Or at least you wont be caught out when you experience what I’ve said.
Utilise the resources and reasonable adjustments available to you for as long as you can. Phase back into it. It’s a whole new learning curve of its own. One year in and I’m still not fully over the hump and that’s no bad thing.
If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. And if you’re not growing, you’re just existing. There’s more to life than that.
Navigating the jungle is never a simple task…. but its made easier when you understand how to read the compass.