Back to work after having a baby
Our mind is so focused on looking after the baby that it’s a real challenge to get back to work-mode. With the mundane and never-ending chores of nappy changing, feeding, cleaning, laundry; the day is like an endless cycle of things that never seem to get done. Add to that the constant exhaustion and terrible forgetfulness or “nappy-brain”, and for most mums the social isolation; it’s little wonder that going back to work fills us with dread. So many questions come up…
- Will I be good enough?
- Will I be able to deliver?
- What if the baby needs me and I’m not there?
- How am I going to focus on work when I’m up all night with a crying baby?
- How can I have the same ambition and drive that I had before?
If you ever found yourself asking these questions, rest assured you’re not alone – and that’s exactly why we should talk about this. You might want to check out this article for some useful tips.
Loss of confidence – a common problem for mums
I was never an overly confident person but I had enough in me to keep pursuing my dreams. I went for that course at uni, I went for that job, I smiled at that guy… up until I became a mother. I don’t remember exactly when my confidence disappeared; I just remember I needed it and all of a sudden it wasn’t there. I felt I let myself down.
How did it happen? I spent a lot of time thinking about this, trying to figure out when the turning point was that my confidence decided to pack up its bag and walk out of my life. But I couldn’t find one. There wasn’t a specific event triggering it. I guess it was building up slowly and quietly until it had enough; and by the time I realised it was gone, it was long gone.
I know I’m not alone with this story. Too many mums told me the same; which was both comforting and alarming at the same time. Comforting, because “It’s not just me then”. Phew! And alarming, because this is not how mothers should feel, right?
Take a look at this article to learn reasons behind losing confidence and some simple solutions that might help you rebuild your confidence after maternity leave.
Motherhood changes everything
Motherhood brings about so many changes in us. Our priorities change, or values might change, the way we see ourselves and our future might change. So how could we possibly expect to carry on like we did before having a baby? Our whole identity changes. Truth is, you’ll never be the same person ever again; and this isn’t a bad thing! Motherhood is a rite of passage, and you come out on the other side as a somewhat different person. It’s still you, but a bit different: a better version of yourself.
Motherhood is the most amazing thing that can happen to a woman, but it’s also the most terrifying one. You just don’t know what’s going to happen next. Everything is guesswork, and clinging on to hope that you’re doing it right.
At my job I knew exactly what I was doing. I knew what was expected of me, and I knew how to deliver it. Just like at university, I knew what the criteria were and I knew how to meet them. But with a baby… it was all about guessing.
- Why is he crying?
- Why is he doing this and not that?
- Is this normal?
- Am I doing it right?
- Why doesn’t it work for me when it works for others?
Getting Your Confidence Back After Maternity Leave
Every day brought something new and unexpected and my confidence quietly slipped out through the back door. But I learned one thing: motherhood might take your confidence away for a while, but it also makes you realise that you’re stronger and braver than you ever thought you could possibly be. This is what you have to remember. You’ve created a human being – what’s an annual report in comparison to that?
My advice for anyone reading these lines is, don’t give up on yourself. Your confidence will most probably suffer, but this is temporary. You will get your confidence back after maternity leave. Give yourself time and be gentle with yourself. Acknowledge your feelings and work on yourself if you need to. Remember, always aim for progress, not perfection!