The balancing act of motherhood and a career, and being a wife, is something that I don’t think I’ll ever perfect,
but I love the challenge of it.
-Kerri Walsh Jennings
Have you recently had a baby? If so, you’re probably navigating a whole lot of changes in your life right now, especially if this is your first child. You’re also probably struggling a bit about what you want to do career-wise post baby.
Go back to work full-time?
Go back part-time?
Become a stay-at-home mom?
Go back to school?
Starting your own business?
Something else entirely?
I currently have teens at home, but I can still remember the anguish in the early days of postpartum trying to figure out the next right step career-wise for me, and how this choice would impact my family as a whole moving forward.
Although this blog focuses on working outside of the home after your maternity leave is over, I know that there are many other routes a woman may need or want to take in this time of her life. I ultimately ended up staying home when my kids were young, then taking a lot of different training course before launching my own business. I also started working only part-time in my business before eventually going to full-time therapy work.
If you do decide to work outside of the home post baby (or have to because of necessity), here are some common new mom career struggles:
- Balancing work-life and home-life now that you have a baby
- Being productive at work, even after getting very little sleep during postpartum
- Feeling anxious because of brain fog at work, and not feeling like you’re functioning at 100%
- Figuring out if you’re going to continue breastfeeding (and if you do, this means finding time and space to pump at work)
- Grief, loss and sadness because you’re missing your baby during the workday
- The added stress of childcare- finding someone great to watch your baby, possible extra drive time, coordinating everything baby needs throughout the day (bottles, clothes, diapers, etc.), your nanny cancelling or daycare being closed, etc.
- Figuring out if you want to work in an office setting, from home online or a hybrid of the two. Also, what does your day to day schedule look like, and what do you want work travel to look like now that you have a baby?
- Dealing with feelings of guilt if you took a difference career path when your older kids were in the baby stage versus what you’re doing now
- Overwhelm around all you need to do at home and at work on a daily basis
What else would you add to this list?
Here are some tips for getting your career back on track post baby:
- Take some time to focus on your future career goals. Is this a job, a career or a calling? (Ask yourself, do you truly love what you do, or are you looking for a new path?)
- Take stock of your work-life balance. Do these two areas feel pretty balanced in your life, or are you over focused on one over the other?
- Take a look at your work place vibe. Is it family-friendly? Is your supervisor supportive of you and your career aspirations?
- Ask for what you need. Maybe it’s more flexibility in your schedule? A new role at work? A mentor to help with on the job learning?
- Learn to set clear boundaries around work-life and home-life hours. Shut off your work computer when you’re home (or work from home during designated hours), don’t check your work texts and emails during family time, etc.
- Figure out what specific work skills you need/want to upgrade
- Break through anxiety and imposter syndrome by finding confidence in the skills you already possess
- Get support from other working moms with new babies (or those who remember how hard it is to be in this stage of life)
- Network and meet new people in your field
- Remember to “be where your feet are.” When you’re at work, try to be as fully present as possible at work. When you’re at home, try to be as fully present as possible at home.
What else would you add here?
Here are some self-care ideas for new moms working outside of the home:
- Talk to a therapist
- Get support from a coach
- Focus on getting as much sleep as possible
- Commit to eating a healthy diet for your body
- Hydrate throughout the day
- Spending quality time with loved ones
- Move your body and get some exercise, ideally outside when possible
What other self-care ideas would you add?
Know that returning to working outside of the home isn’t easy for any of us post baby. Know that you’re not alone. I’m sending lots of love and support your way as you navigate this next chapter in your life!
**The following are joint social media posts for a recent collaboration with Dr. Fidelis Bridget @fidelisbridget