We’ve discussed the “pre-work” that needs to be done before going on maternity leave, but let’s focus on transitioning back! Somehow it seems that many parents are left on their own when it comes to navigating their transition back. It’s almost like magic”poof” , you’re back at your desk! Except one major difference……. You have a whole other job! Being a parent! I urge any HR managers reading this to review your processes, just like on-boarding we need to welcome our employee’s back to work force and help them in the transition. We need to pay attention specifically to parents who are primary caregivers as it might be a bit difficult for them to handle the work and home responsibilities. If you are an employee, I reccomend you speak with your HR manager and figure out in what capacity you would like to re-join the work force. If for example you are coming back 100% after being gone a few months, you need to also discuss childcare options with your partner and think about logistics for feeding etc. If you are coming back 50% it may be a bit easier for you bit it is still an adjustment, so don’t be shy, ask any questions so you feel comfortable returning.
I listened a to a very interesting podcast by the Harvard business review that encouraged parents to do a “trial” run day. What is a trial run and how do I do it?
Pre-Plan: Figure out when you are returning to work and block off 2 or 3 days in your calendar to do “trial” runs with your partner or yourself.
Step 1: Go through your morning routine for yourself and your child
Step 2: pack your lunch or if you eat out please skip this step
Step 3: Do you need to drop off your child at daycare or at a relatives /babysitters house?) if so , make arrangements to actually drop them off. This way you can see the actual time it will take you as well as keeping in some time for the hard goodbyes!
Step 4: drive/ take your public transit route to your office and instead of going in, you can treat yourself to a lunch.
Step 5: based on the time you would normally finish work , go and pickup your child from their perspective daycare/relatives house and start your commute home!
Step 6: Once you get home, begin your “nighttime routine” and call it night!
By doing to trial run you will be to understand the time you actually need to go through your new normal. Of course like anything in life, we need to be adaptable but time management is key to make your life more manageable. It is also a good idea because you can identify the “bumps in the road” and work on methods to either eliminate or make them more manageable.
I highly recommend taking a listen to the podcast below and most of all I wish all those transitioning back to work the best of luck!