I’m 2 months into my maternity leave with Piglet. It doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s flying but also hard to believe that that time is gone.
I had 14 months off with gremlin; a long time. A glorious, tiring and cake filled time. However, this was also a time I lost a bit of myself. A baby filled bubble, a small radius of where I travelled and a select few familiar faces I would see. Gone were the days of spontaneous work trips abroad, public speaking and pushing myself. Bottom line; I lost my bottle and a lot of my confidence. It is so easy to stay in your comfort zone. I was “mummy” and although I tried to retain myself and I did to an extent, I was too comfortable. I’m all too well with this comfortable feeling and therefore this time around I want to try and make it a bit different.
I want to retain a bit more of “me” and my confidence whilst on maternity leave with Piglet. Going back to work after an extended bit of time off is always going to be tricky but like anything there is damage limitation.
So I thought I would share some of my tips for keeping confident during maternity leave and beyond.
- Do your keeping in touch days at work, if you have them and try and keep involved. I’m going to go in to some staff meetings, maybe attend one of my clinics and keep in the loop about what is happening.
- Do push yourself out of your comfort zone when it comes to others. Try and meet new people, attend events and groups. This could be blogging events if you blog, parent or baby groups or local events. I find doing this keeps me ready for when I am back at work, encountering new faces and attending conferences. I recently met another blogger I had been chatting to online and was so glad I did, despite that nervy feeling beforehand.
- Push yourself to do new things. I did a bit of private dietetic work this year after being pushed by a work colleague. When I was told why I was asked I genuinely thought she was talking about someone else; another dietitian. This is how much my confidence dropped. The work didn’t work out and I had to REALLY be a tough cookie to leave, as had a few problems with it BUT I was so glad I went for it at the time.
- Drive!! Drive at night. Drive on the motorway. Don’t let your other half do it all the time. I found I hadn’t really done any night driving in almost a year and I felt really freaked when I went back to work in October. You lose your confidence so quickly with driving so do it as much as you can.
- Have time for yourself if possible. I exercise or scrapbook and I have my blog. It may be getting out and seeing friends, having a bath, a coffee with a friend…anything! It is important to have some time to be you and not just a Mummy.
- Try and break your routine when you can and go out at night. I find it is so easy to prefer to chill at home in my pjs. I don’t want a late night, I don’t want to be be tired blah blah. The result? I say no to evenings out. I know at the moment it is hard as my daughter is breastfeeding but she will have a bottle. Hubby and I took the gremlin to fireworks recently and broke our usual routine. My Mum stayed behind and could feed her when we were out. It worked and no harm done!
Bottom line; all these tips are about getting out of the comfort zone parenting can bring. It’s about pushing yourself a little and retaining a bit of the person you were before becoming a parent. I still don’t think going back to work will be a doddle for me but I hope by doing some of the above, I will find it a bit easier and continue to enjoy being a working Mum.