Venturing back to the workplace after having a baby can be daunting, but with a bit of help and support – not to mention lots of organisation – you can cut down on stress. Banan Hadidi, a certified life coach and co-founder of Skyrocket Performance and Training (www.wecanskyrocket.com), shares her best advice…
What practical difficulties do new mums face in the workplace?
Even when a new mum decides she’s ready to go back to work, the event is often accompanied by a big black cloud of guilt. Indeed, this is where most of my coaching clients find themselves stuck. The real resistance and challenge facing women is that, as expats, we don’t have a traditional support system available to help us. What’s more, putting it in place may mean paying a fortune in childcare.
The next challenge comes as many mums don’t want to spend full days away from their baby. Finding work that is part time or flexible can be difficult. Lastly, many of us feel like we need to prove we can do it all. Of course, this means that something’s got to give and that’s likely impact on either yourself or your husband.
How can we cope with the emotional and physical challenges?
The first thing you need to let go of is the need to prove anything to yourself or the people around you. The reality is that some days you will feel in control, while other days you will be running to catch up on unpredictable situations, such as if your child falls ill on deadline day.
How do we balance nursery or school holidays with work commitments?
I’ve lived in the UAE for the past 13 years with my two children and this has not always been easy - especially during the summer. The one tip that all working mums recommend is to create a support system around you to help you survive the holidays while you are at work. This could involve other mums of similarly aged kids who you can carpool with or swap playdates with, if schedules allow. It is also important that you plan your holidays early on in the year to try to match up the dates with the school calendar.
How can getting back to work benefit our wellbeing?
Working women identify the need to be extra organised and structured, in addition to spending quality time with their kids. Being in a professional environment supports both intellectual and emotional growth through sharing experiences with other working parents and stepping away from your mum role to play other roles in your life that support your identity, which will help you rediscover your sense of self.