The realities of returning to work after maternity leave


Returning to work after maternity leave and juggling no less than three kids (four if you include my husband!)… plus MyFamilyClub.

Sometimes I’m at work and I know I’m going to miss the children’s bedtime story and my heart has been aching for my baby all day.

In the midst of starting this blog I have almost choked on a piece of Ryvita in my haste to try and consume it in the rarest of moments – peace and quiet whist Charlie my four month old sleeps.

Gone are the days of me leisurely enjoying a cup of tea, a meal or how dare I try and sneak in a chocolate biscuit?!

If I’m not commuting to work whilst trying to cram an entire lemon Danish down my throat, then I’m inhaling soup at my desk at work whilst typing away on yet another document or email.

Once home in the evening I’m usually alternating between running up and down the stairs to demands of “more snuggles” from Ted and Phoebe whilst the pasta water boils over or whatever my husband has kindly cooked turns cold.

But did I listen when people told me having three was like entering a whole new world of chaos? That I would be lucky to get myself and my kids out the house in less than an hour?! No I didn’t. (Not that listening would have changed the outcome or reality!)

returning to work after maternity leavePregnant for the first time with Teddy I started a business, pregnant with Phoebe I raised the funding and started to build MyFamilyClub, pregnant and after three months off with Charlie AKA Fluffy Plughole (siblings can be so cruel sometimes) I continued to have a hand in the business direction (strategically from home).

I am now easing myself back in to work whilst ensuring I maintain a healthy balance between my home life, work duties and passion for MyFamilyClub, its success and the team.

So how do I do it?

Well, some days are sheer chaos, on a typical morning I could have been sicked on by Charlie twice before I have even managed to find my missing shoe in Phoebe’s toy kitchen, then I have to get changed again.

Sometimes I’m at work and I know I’m going to miss the children’s bedtime story and my heart has been aching for my baby all day.

Returning to work after maternity leave, some days are tough, I won’t lie, but for me, there is no right or wrong. It’s about you and how adjusted your children are and how you keep your life in balance. I take each day as it comes and I refuse to beat myself up and play the “Guilty Mamma” card.

I am in control of my decisions and if some days I miss story time I’ll make sure the next morning I spend time telling them both a little story over breakfast. One that will make them laugh out loud and feel lavished with attention… balance restored.

Occasionally work wise, I may have to do a bit of juggling. If I know I can’t do something in the timeframe expected, I explain and offer a solution, I never ignore or hide away from the things I need to do as the head of the business.

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I make time on the weekends and evenings and use my commute time very, very wisely which means most tasks are in hand and I don’t get overly stressed.

I have the most amazing mentor too who has been with me since my first son was about six months old. He has guided me through some very challenging times and his experience, knowledge and insight into the business world has enabled me to grow and mature as the business has and indeed as my family does in parallel.

My tips for a work life balance

So, what would my top three tips be that I could share with you right now to help you find calm amongst the chaos of family and working life:

Make sure you have a good support system

When returning to work after maternity leave a support system is important – be that friends, school gate mums or family. It’s good to have support to help step in with childcare, school, nursery pick-ups and drop offs if you need to stay late at work or something crops up.

Or perhaps you simply need some me-time in the form of a hot bath, feet up and a cup of tea whilst your child goes on a play date for example. It’s all about give and take so even if someone doesn’t ask for help, always offer as you never know when someone may need you but were too afraid or shy to ask.

Take each day as it comes

Look at each day like a new opportunity to make your day the best it can be. There are no hard and fast rules in life only the ones that you want to be bound by or live by. If you feel guilty, make up for it in another way.

Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you have deadlines at work, start your work early, leave enough time to complete the task to the best of your ability. If you miss out on something family wise, chalk it down to experience and compensate elsewhere.

Never conform to what others expect you to be

It’s your happiness and fulfilment that’s important. Don’t change just because you feel judged.  I have always said this and one of the biggest drives for starting MyFamilyClub was to help parents get control over their finances as “a happy mum makes for a happy family”.

Sure, I’ve been judged many times for my decisions and I am sure I still am, it’s the nature of the beast being a mum and shock horror… a working mum. What matters is how you feel about you choices and how those choices impact those around you that you care for.

Time for a hob nob!!