Regaining your Life Balance
Going back to work after maternity leave presents mothers with various challenges. They must settle back into the rhythm of their old yet new professional life, organise the household and appointments together with their partner, and help their child through this time of transition. That can take a lot of energy. This makes it all the more important to take good care of yourself. Below are 10 tips that make it easier to return to work:
1. Find the right child care: Studies show that mothers are more relaxed and effective at work if they know their child is in good hands. It’s important to consider your choice of childcare in advance.
2. To-do lists and shared (online) calendars: Organization is key and tasks should be distributed so that not everything falls on a single person’s shoulders.
3. Allow time for your child’s transition: Children need help with changes and it’s important that they have a lot of undivided personal attention with their parents in the afternoon. It’s best to start off without a strenuous afternoon agenda.
4. Part-time or full-time? The perfect working day is not one-size-fits-all. Pay attention to your personal limits, don’t overtax yourself. It’s important to have honest discussions with your partner about resources and alternatives.
5. Evening rituals: Establishing a good-night routine helps children to calm down and strengthens the parent-child bond. After giving your child a foot bath, for example, massage your child’s feet and reflect together on the day’s activities. This helps them to let go and fall asleep more easily.
6. Self-care: Treat yourself to wellness moments, at least one hour a week, for example with a relaxing lavender bath or a pleasant facial massage. Gentle touch reduces stress and tension.
Treat yourself to wellness moments, at least one hour a week.
7. Demand and accept help: Just as it was during the days immediately after giving birth, it is important to mobilise support until everyday life has settled down. Take advantage of help from family and friends and don’t be afraid to ask them to get involved.
8. Support the immune system: Stress has a negative effect on the immune system. Support it with a balanced diet plus an extra portion of vitamin C, exercise in the fresh air and sufficient sleep.
9. Mindful career planning: Right from the start, plan buffer times into your work schedule for unforeseen everyday problems, such as childhood illnesses or daycare centre holidays and closings. Day-to-day work while being a parent often requires flexibility.
10. Work-life balance means inner balance: Pay attention to your own needs and don’t expect too much of yourself.
Certified pedagogue, alternative practitioner, family support specialist
Susanne Mierau is the mother of three children. She gives courses for parents, trains qualified personnel and passes on her knowledge in books. Find out more on her blog (in German only): geborgen-wachsen.de