This week I launched a new coaching program called Returning to Working After Baby. The program is designed for people who have welcomed a new child into their family and are now navigating the transition back into work.
I developed the program because it is the support I needed when I transitioned back to full time work after the birth of my son Arthur. A little background:
Arthur was born in Australia where there is an 18-week paid parental leave scheme – the government pays the primary care giver an allowance equal to minimum wage for 18 weeks. (I know, I know – that sound you just heard was the collective jaw dropping of readers in the US). I loved my job, and my boss was incredibly supportive. So yes, I was extremely privileged. For that I am beyond grateful.
So, I took 18 weeks. And for me, it was both too long and too short. On the one hand, I needed to go back to work- both financially and mentally. I needed something that started and ended and things that made me feel competent, like I was doing a good job. Because I felt like I was failing with the parenting stuff. But on the other hand, I also needed more time to settle into my new role as a parent.
I fumbled through my return to work as best I could, and today I want to share 2 key moments in my transition that helped me navigate this new normal.
Here we go:
- Before Arthur was born, I had all these plans about what going back to work would look like. I had planned to work from the office 3 days a week and from home the other 2 days. I hadn’t factored in that this new human would have his own personality and needs and didn’t care much about the plans I had made. But I was very attached to my expectations. So attached, that I wasn’t present to what was. And this made my return to work waaaay harder than it needed to be. Because what was actually happening was that I was that I was struggling to produce enough milk to ensure there was enough for Arthur when I was at work. And working from home 3 days a week instead of 2 would have made a huge difference. Eventually things got to a point where I simply had to ask for what I needed. And my boss who was wonderful said “of course!”. Game changer. Key take away: It was only in letting go of my attachment of what I thought it would be, that I could be present to what was.
- After Arthur was about 4 weeks old, he stopped sleeping. Like ever. After a few weeks I was desperately looking into sleep schools – they all had long waiting lists. And my dear, wise friend and mentor, Sarah, gave me some sound advice. She said suggested hiring a sleep consultant to come to our house. Desperate and unable to wait for a space at a sleep school, I found a sleep consultant, who saved us. Kate became my cheerleader. She was there during every transition, including my return to work. Yes, she was there to help teach Arthur to sleep, but her visits were also a wonderful pep talk. My time with her gave me confidence. She reassured me that I was doing a great job, both at home and at work. Key take away: Find a cheerleader.
Ultimately, Returning to Work After Baby is born out of these lessons. I support parents in doing the work to let go of expectations so they can be present to what is. We disrupt habits that are no longer serving you, so you can create new possibility. And I hope to be that cheerleader, supporting you through, and navigating your transition back into work.
Until next week,