Choosing to have a child and leave the workplace for a while was a daunting decision, but that’s what I’ve done. I have a beautiful son named Logan, am eight months into my maternity leave, and enjoying every day. I had been working in digital advertising for nearly 10 years and have always enjoyed the fast pace of this industry. However, at times I’ve thought “how the hell am I going to keep up with everything?”
I’m sure this is a thought that troubles many new mothers, especially as a survey undertaken by Croud on behalf of Easy Offices last year revealed that 40% of women with children felt they had been discriminated against in the workplace, whilst 50% felt they’d missed out on an average of two promotions during their time away.
So here are my tips on how to keep in touch with everything whilst on maternity leave and return to work feeling ready and confident.
Stay on top of industry news
Being on maternity leave allows a lot of time on your phone, so whilst feeding the baby I read updates from websites such as Search Engine Land and the Croud blog. This really helps me feel I’m not missing out on key industry updates like GDPR and changes to the Facebook algorithm.
Use your keep in touch days (KIT)
You’re entitled to KIT days over the course of your maternity leave, and I’d recommend going into the office as regularly as possible to stay connected. Not only does it make you feel more in touch with the business and your colleagues, it also pays – which is handy!
Stagger your return to work
The change from being a full-time mum to returning to work can be a shock to the system for both you and your baby. If possible, return to work on reduced days/hours to make the transition easier. I’m lucky enough to be able to return one day per week for the final three months of maternity leave before returning fully.
Check your groups and emails
I check on my emails and group messages from Croud intermittently (albeit often at 3am during those dreaded night feeds) to ensure I know all the latest on the business. This helps me feel closer to my colleagues whom I dearly miss.
Take your baby to the office
I really enjoy taking my son into the office to spend time with the teams. He gets to see lots of friendly faces and I can catch up on all the latest! This helps me feel more connected to everyone and them to me and my new addition.
Take inspiration from leading mothers in digital
I thoroughly recommend Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In for any female looking to excel in their career, let alone a mother. There’s some fantastic inspiration for mums with careers and it will put your mind at ease about whatever choices you make to return to work. I’d also recommend audiobooks for those long pram walks!
Don’t fret about going back to work
Many mums dread coming to the end of their maternity leave, however it will be a lot easier if you keep in touch regularly and think of the positives of returning to work (like stimulation for your adult brain, money, and getting to enjoy a full cup of hot tea without interruption!).
Consider the Croudie Network
For many parents, going back to work isn’t an option, often due to the lack of flexibility in the workplace. The Croudie Network offers parents a flexible way to keep working in the world of digital, as much (or as little) as you would like.
I hope these tips are useful for keeping in touch and reducing those returning to work worries. Keeping connected to Croud has helped me enjoy my maternity leave more, as I still feel like I’m involved in all the industry and business changes, and I’m excited to go back!