Mumager’s A to Z of Returning to Work

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A is for Awesome – You are awesome! Parenting is hard work. Occasionally reminding yourself of your awesomeness is not a bad thing. We’re not talking about loudly blowing your own trumpet, we’re
talking about remembering to acknowledge that you’re doing the best you can and that’s awesome.

B is for Boss – Your boss is there to support you in doing the best job you can. Remember your boss is happy when you are engaged and happy in your role.

C is for Colleagues – Some of them may not understand your need to leave on time and make jokes about half days etc. We all have choices and those people could also choose to leave on time. Their
comments to you, like all put downs is about them, not you. Smile sweetly and politely ask them to
respect your choices.

D is for De-clutter – De-cluttering your home and your wardrobe can help to de-clutter your mind, freeing up space for you to focus on the important things. Recycle baby toys that they have now
grown out of by either packing away (for the next one?) or giving to your charity shop. The less
‘stuff’ you have, the less you have to tidy up.

E is for Energy – Eating right is part of the energy equation, eat as little processed food as you can and increase your intake of fresh fruit and veg and water. Walk short distances rather than drive where

F is for Flexible Working – Investigate your company’s policies on parental leave and flexible working. If you don’t ask you don’t get. It costs more to hire than to retain and working a slightly different
pattern might just be a win-win for you and your boss.

G is for Guilt – We all have a guilt spot! How you manage your own guilt is key. Check out our blog on Guilt!

H is for housework – Adopt a mantra of ‘good enough’. You may need to relax your standards and
accept that some degree of mess comes with having young children. If you can afford help – get a
cleaner. Otherwise, decide what is important to you – maybe having a clean loo and kitchen helps
keep you sane and it doesn’t matter so much about the rest of the house. Start getting the little
ones involved in ‘tidy up’ time as young as possible.

I is for Image – Having confidence in your image as you return to work after maternity leave can
boost that inner confidence and self worth. Your pre-baby clothes may not fit the same, or perhaps your shape has changed. Whatever your budget, its worth buying a couple of new outfits to help you feel the part – be it from Primark or Prada.

J is for Juggling – It’s hard keeping everything going – but which balls that you’re juggling are the most important? Brian G. Dyson the former CEO of Coca-Cola famously said “Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air – Work – Family – Health – Friends – Spirit, and you’re keeping all of these in the air. Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered”.

K is for Kindness –Be kind to yourself as you make this transition and give yourself credit for every achievement no matter how small. You are doing the best that you can every day for your family.

L is for leave on time – Start as you mean to go on. Leaving on time doesn’t mean you’re less
committed to the job. It just means you have other commitments. If you stay late, it also gives mixed messages about what you can and can’t do.

M is for Mumager – Well, we had to put that in somewhere! Mumager is the only practical workshop running in Ireland currently aimed at supporting employers to support their mums returning from
maternity leave.

N is for No – When you need to say ‘no’ don’t dilute your message by giving a list of reasons. Check out our tips on saying ‘no’ in our blog

O is for Optimism – A positive optimistic attitude will get you everywhere. So your day may have got off to a bad start – you’ve had no sleep, you were late leaving the house to get to crèche, your baby wailed when you left and now you’ve missed your train. Try not to let it ruin the rest of your day. Stop. Breathe. Remember you will find what you are looking for – if you tell yourself you’re going to have a bad day – you’ll have one. Decide to make it a good day.

P is for Productivity – Work smart. Turn off your email alerts when you’re working on an important piece of work. Decide how many times a day you need to check your emails – 3 times should be enough for most people – morning, lunchtime and an hour before you go home. Think about when you’re at your best. If you’re at your best first thing in the morning – why not work on that challenging spreadsheet when you’re at your most awake and leave your emails for a mid-morning coffee at your desk.

Q is for Quiet time – Take some quiet time for yourself each day, even 5 minutes to yourself can help to prevent stress accumulating. Check out our tips here –

R is for Rewards – Reward yourself regularly. As a working mum you deserve it.

S is for Support – Everyone needs a network of support. Don’t feel scared asking yours for help or suggesting to other mums to share some of the pick-ups, drop-offs, afternoon childcare etc. to make your lives a teeny bit easier.

T is for turn it off –When you’re at home try to forget about work and be fully present, in the moment. Take email (and Twitter/Facebook) off your phone so you’re not tempted to just do a ‘quick check’. If that’s not possible at least turn your phone off whilst your kids are around. Very few things are truly that urgent that they can’t wait a few hours.

U is for unwind – After a day of juggling drop-offs, meetings, deadlines, pick-ups, the list goes on, try find some time to unwind and relax.

V is for Values –Know your values. Understand those things that are really important to you. Knowing your values brings clarity to decision making and can help to alleviate unwanted emotions such as guilt.

W is for Worry-It is natural to worry about how you are going to juggle everything when you go back to work after maternity leave. Annoyingly time spent worrying is time completely wasted. Instead look at your options, talk to others to see how they manage and spend time trying out your new routine before you go back.

X is for X-factor.-No, not the telly programme. But what makes you special? What did you love to do before you had children? What makes you feel great? Whether its setting up a book-club with other mums, doing a cookery course or going for a free make-over at one of the beauty counters – make it happen.

Y is for You.-Always remember to take some time out for YOU.

Z is for zzzzzzds –We can’t help your child sleep through the night or give you the occasionally lie-in but we do know that relaxation techniques found in yoga and meditation can help you get to sleep quicker and increase the quality of your sleep. The skill of power-napping is one worth learning so that you can catch some extra zzzzs whenever possible. When the going gets really tough, go to the spare room for the night and leave your partner ‘on duty’. Its amazing how a full nights, uninterrupted sleep can make you feel ready to tackle anything.

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