Returning to work after maternity leave can be a big challenge. We are passionate about passing on lessons and inspiring other women who might be worrying about coming back to work – whether they are employed or run their own business. Read about how to go back to work plus the top tips from women who have come back to work in the last 2 years.
- Lucy Tootell
- Managing Director, Temporis Legal Recruitment
- Working hours: Monday – Thursday, spending Fridays at home with her little boy (whilst still checking emails and being fully contactable for the office)
Lucy is a Managing Director of Temporis Legal Recruitment. The agency specialises in legal locum and permanent recruitment. Lucy has vast experience in recruiting candidates at all levels across all disciplines and works with private practice firms ranging from high street through to multi nationals. In her spare time, Lucy loves to bake and can often be found on the tennis court. Lucy has also recently come back from a maternity leave, and here is what she has to say...
My advice in terms of returning to work is to be realistic, both with what you can do and what you want to do. This is something that I wished I had known before I went on maternity leave when I was making plans to return on the same basis that I had worked pre-baby - working five days per week putting in the long hours that I used to.
Don’t expect to be able to work the same long days in exactly the same way that you did before baby, that is unrealistic. No matter how much any of us love our jobs, and I genuinely do love what I do, you will always love that little person at home more, and the pull to get home before bedtime is hard to ignore. Time management will become crucial to you, you have to make the hours that you are at work count. Don’t over promise and under deliver, if you don’t think that you can commit to working five days per week as soon as you go back, then don’t. In these days where flexible working for parents is very much in the public eye (I think that Anna Whitehouse (aka @Mother_Pukka on Instagram) is speaking a lot of sense about flexible working at the moment so I would recommend having a look at her blog) it is becoming easier to return to work on terms that suit you and your family. Don’t be afraid to ask for flexibility when returning to work.
I was very lucky in that because Temporis is my own business and I have an amazing, supportive team, I could pretty much choose when and on what basis I wanted to return. Granted, as a business owner I had to return to work a lot sooner than most, returning after 4 months of leave, but I chose to initially work on a 3 day per week basis. This meant that the transition period for me and my little boy was a lot easier. He got used to being with his grandparents during the day and I got used to being back at work and being a businesswoman again. It also helped us as a family to get into a good routine in terms of drop offs and pickups so that when I then increased to four days a few months later we barely noticed the difference.
When I’m at work I’m at work.
It may sound impossible to some but I honestly believe that by focusing solely on my work during my working day it makes me a much more effective recruiter and manager and enables me to focus on being the best mum I can be to my little boy when I’m at home.
That’s not to say that my little boy’s care providers don’t contact me if they need me, for anything at all, that obviously goes without saying. But other than that my work time is for work and my home time is for home and I try my best to not let the two overlap.
This article is part of our #BackToWork series, read other stories HERE.
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