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Will I ever find or use my brain again
 

I had a client recently who walked in to the office, sat down, fixed me with a steely stare and said “Before you say anything I’m not going to spend today’s session talking about the children, talking about my relationship or talking about how I’m going as a mother. I’m bored. I know you’re not supposed to admit that as a mum, but if I have to change another nappy, think about what to have for dinner or wipe another nose besides my own I’m going to scream”.
It can be hard as a mum sometimes to admit that you are ready for something else, that you are in need of brain stimulation and quickly. For my client, these feelings signalled her readiness to return to work. For other mums it might signal the need to start broadening their outlook and including some things in their week that are just for them.

If you are at a point where you are considering going back to work after having a baby here is some food for thought:
 
 
1. Try to accept wherever you are at. What I mean by this is don’t feel guilty if you are in need of something more in your life. You can be a good mum and also have a fulfilled life. By the same token if you are blissfully happy as a mum and this fulfils all your needs at the moment then that’s great too.
2. Work provides more than just $. Some of us have to go back to work at a certain time because our employer makes the call or we need to pay the mortgage and money is running out. Many women find however that when they do return to work they get more from it than just dollars. The stimulation of using their brains to solve different types of problems can be a welcome change and receiving recognition and feedback for their work can be a good boost for the self confidence.
3.  Take care of yourself no matter what. As mums we are notoriously bad at taking care of ourselves. Often mums put themselves at the bottom of the priority list and ending up being somewhere after the family pet and the pot plants in the pecking order. It’s really important to include some things in your life that are just for you like exercise, time with friends and doing things you find uplifting and nurturing. These things don’t need to be for a long period of time but can be for a night a week or a few hours here and there. What is important to say I think is that if you are taking care of yourself, it’s easier to then take care of others.
4. Ask for support and learn from other mums. This is the most powerful lesson I have learnt working with mums in my private practice. As mums we all go through similar experiences around adjusting to motherhood, being a good parent, juggling home and work and having a good relationship. Open up and talk to other mums about how they are managing and how you are going. You’ll find other mums are a wealth of knowledge and often have insights and experiences that are worth learning from.

Dr Mataji Kennedy is a Clinical Psychologist in private practice on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. She specialises in helping women adjust to motherhood and in helping women with Postnatal Depression.
Her book Hanging by a Thread. 12 strategies for staying sane in the first year of motherhood contains simple common sense strategies for taking care of yourself as a new mum and for preventing postnatal depression . It’s available for $19.95 plus postage at www.gainingmomentum.com.au.

Mataji can be contacted on 0414 301 237 or mataji@gainingmomentum.com.au.
 

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