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 wanted to keep confident.
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.
Keeping Confident on Maternity Leave
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 confident, working Mum.
This is really true and very apt as I’m doing my first keeping in touch day tomorrow. Thanks for joining us for #marvmondays
There are some really great tips here. I was the same when I was on maternity leave – I really lost my confidence. It has taken me months (and I mean almost 9) to build my work confidence back up to about 80% what it was before. I’ve basically just been faking / living with imposter syndrome the rest of the time. If we have another one then I will definitely try and get into the office a little more often. Some great tips! #MarvMondays
Brilliant advice – you make a really good point about driving at night too! I’ve gone back to work part time and even with that I barely ever drive at night now as I automatically let my OH do all the driving. I found myself driving in the dark for the first time in forever yesterday and it really threw me for a loop. I ended up doing around 35mph down a country lane with National Speed Limit and was overtaken by a fair few angry motorists. I had honestly lost my bottle! Great tips and I’m sure they will see you well when it is time to go back. #MarvMondays xx
These are great tips. It is so hard to find a comfort zone and stay in it, and returning to work and juggling routines can feel like hard work but it does get easier. #MarvMondays.
If only I’d read this back in Feb! I love the thought of a night out, I’ve been on a couple but it’s alllll about the pjs, pizzas and movies these days. I wish I’d kept in touch with work a bit better too, not looking forward to cracking that ol’ chestnut next month. X
I really need to follow these great tips. I’ve been in the mummy zone for the past two years home all the time with two babies and with next to no friends aside from the OH I have barely seen anybody that isn’t family so I’ve totally lost my ability to hold a real conversation with an adult! #MarvMondays
I think it’s so important to get out of that comfort zone every so often and break the routine! I went to Blogfest on my own at the weekend, I was terrified but I had a fantastic time and met so many lovely people so it was really worth it! It’s really helped my blogging confidence too. #MarvMondays
Thanks for sharing this post! I completely agree with the “mummy zone” idea and while it might be helpful for the early days, you’re so right that it’s vital to push beyond that comfort zone!
P.S. Loving the photos of the Piglet!
These are amazing tips even 20months on from having Henry. Going back to work, it felt like I picked up were I left off. I found that I went straight back into an old comfort zone. So now I feel like I haven’t challenged myself in such a long time.
I recently went to blogfest and it was terrifying. How would I talk to? Would I fit in? But it was so exhilarating doing something new. Doing something it built on my own (with Henry as my model of course) and pushing a new side of me.
Love the idea of joining new groups and I admire that 2nd time around you still love your exercising. Thanks for the tips x #bestandworst
Fantastic tips Sarah thanks for hosting #bestandworst
Back again for #bestandworst. Thanks for hosting as always xxx
Back again for #bestandworst. Thanks for hosting as always xxx
I wish I had read this before having my first child. Great tips and getting out of my comfort zone really would have helped me during my time off from work as well as after I returned to work. As a parent I find it hard to commit to taking time to myself. One of the best things I use to do was go with my best friend for mani/pedis and let the hubby watch our newborn. It was hard getting out the door, but once I was out I felt rejevenated. Hopefully I can remember these tips when baby #2 arrives in March. 🙂 #BestandWorst
Some good tips here. I’ve been out of work now for three years (gosh that sounds like an awful long time when written down like that) and I’m terrified of getting back out there. I’m not the most social or confident person anyway so I know I’m going to find it really hard. Hopefully a few months back into it I’ll wonder what all the fuss was about. Fingers crossed. Well done for realising where you lost your confidence last time and putting the tools in place to prevent it from happening again.
Thanks for sharing your tips and also for hosting #bestandworst
This is fabulous advice. It’s so nice to see new mummies supporting one another like this. How I wish blogs were a thing when my girls were little #bestandworst x
Fab advice. My SIL had the scared to drive issue with her first. When it came time to return to work she wasnt confident in the car at all, day or night! It took her a while to find her feet again #bestand worst
P.S. – My best friend is a dietician 😀
I agree with the previous comment. Blogs are so useful right now, they weren’t as popular and as spred when my kids were little and I must admit that some of your advice would really come in handy! Love the support that new moms have and the amount of advice they can get – sometimes even too much;))
This is such a useful post. I’m certainly wondering whether I can still apply myself to the working world… thank you for writing #bestandworst
Such great advice! I haven’t worked now in five years and I have lost all confidence in that respect! I think the longer you leave it, the worst it gets too. #bestandworst
Great tips- esp the driving one. I had never really thought about that before now. Thinking back I do remember the strange sensation of geeting back behind the wheel for the first time. Confidence is key.
Fab tips. It is so easy to get ‘lost’ as a mummy as the role consumes your life, so it is so important to take time for yourself every now and again x
It’s so true we totally become a different person in all areas of our lives, so its really important to keep it fresh and still do things that are for ourselves, that’s one of the reasons i started blogging. Thanks for sharing #bestandworst
lovely tips. My maternity leave will finish in the middle of January 🙁
Being around my children all day is something I would never change, but I also can’t say I have lost some of my self by doing so…How can you not. I love this post because it is so easy to lose confidence in who you are as a mom…#bestandworst
Great list! A lot of those things are good to even if you aren’t on maternity leave! #bestandworst
These are really good tips. Although I am a SAHM now, I see the value of all your points. Even as a SAHM, it is important to do non-mom related things (although I say that, I don’t really think I have done anything non-mom related except go see a movie with my well…mom friends…and what was the movie about..ahem..BadMoms.. sheesh..I really need to do something about that)…since this realization just hit me, I am going to stop writing and think of what I might do that is non-mom related. Thanks. #bestandworst
These are really good tips! I think time to yourself is so important – even though in the early days it can be hard to ‘let go’ or ‘switch off’. I feel like I’m permanently in Mummy mode even when I’m out. Always wondering if everything is okay. I think it’s natural though. #bestandworst
Wow. A really sensible and useful post. It’s so important not to loose yourself in the bubble of motherhood, and not forget that you are also a wife/ friend/ working woman etc etc. Lovely read.
Great tips. I’ve been a SAHM for the last 7 years and will be for the next 2 yrs (when my youngest will start school) and the idea of going back to work in any job kind of terrifies me. Starting this blog has been my way of trying to get ‘me’ back and it’s working x
I did it the opposite way round to you, I lost a lot of myself at work, but found me again when I was on maternity leave and started blogging. Going to events, pushing myself, learning new skills has left me far more confident than I have been for a long time. I’m so with you on the driving at night thing though. I had 14 months or there abouts off with L and I never drove at night that whole time, not once, going back to work in October, after the clocks had changed was a shock to the system!! #BestandWorst
I was never alerted to contact days with my former job but they are so important to keep in contact with what’s happening. #bestandworst
A very valuable message to new moms. The part about being someone other than a mom resonated with me big time. I was in the post-college working world for 15 years before having my children and didn’t realize until they were born how much of my identity was wrapped up with my job. So you almost have to reinvent yourself (at least I did, becoming a SAHM). Thank you for a thought-provoking piece. #bestandworst
These are good tips, not only for Mat leave but for life in general. I’ve been out of work due to ill health for a while now, and I find I’ve done the same thing – settling down and staying in on a night, letting my husband do all of the driving so that I’ve lost a lot of confidence there. You’re right, we need to push ourselves more. #BestandWorst
These are some fab tips even for those that aren’t going back to work. The whole period of staying home with kiddies makes you forget yourself and start getting quite upset about silly things but definitely making time for yourself and breaking the routine a little to have fun gives such a happiness boost. I agree with making friends too, it’s taken me such a long time to go to a group again but I’m so pleased we did and it gives us something to do which is nice. I’m not sure about practising night driving though… I think I’ll hate it no matter what! X
These are some fab tips! Sometimes it’s good to get out your comfort zone isn’t it. #bestandworst
I’m hoping to have 3 months maternity leave with my next one and am planning to cherish every moment as I know it will fly by! #bestandworst