Women have been having children for years, it’s no big deal; I am going to continue with my ‘normal’ life once the baby comes along; surely she can continue with her workload immediately when she returns, she hasn’t been gone that long. These are all comments we still hear today, where people still have the misconception that having a baby is a quick hiccup in everyday life. This is not the case, there are transitions in and out of environments both personally and professionally that we need to consider along the way.
Imagine having a child is like implementing a change programme. It has phases, it happens over a period of time and certainly isn’t just a one day event.
Phase One – Yikes/Yippee, “Im pregnant”
This is the transition out of the organisation for a period of time, prior to having the baby. This is the first ‘window of danger’ to be aware of. It can be during this transition out, where the working mum to be is not valued, supported or treated as someone literally leaving the organisation for some time.
To ensure a successful transition out, here are three key areas to focus on:
Phase Two – Yikes/Yippee, “A new baby”
This is the period when the mother is on leave, where the timeframe for each individual can vary quite considerably. This needs to be treated as another transition, phase or change in the process, rather than simply a short period of leave.
To ensure you remain engaged as a new mum while absent, consider;
Phase Three – Yikes/Yippee, “I’m returning to work”
This is the period when the mother transitions back to work. Another ‘danger period’ to be aware of. This is where lots of returning mums fall off the career track and their talent is lost as a result of either returning to a role with less responsibility or deciding not to return at all.
To ensure a successful transition back to work consider the following;
These are a few tips to help you as a mother make this long term change as helpful as possible within each stage. Learn from each phase and consider your learnings and share with other transitioning mums. You will be amazed at how many others are going through or have been through a similar situation.
Keep an eye out for The Phases of Motherhood – A Managers Angle, coming soon.