“How on earth will I be able to entertain myself during those 14 weeks of parental leave?”
“I’ll probably get bored so quickly, with a baby who’s sleeping all day long.”
Yup… before my baby was born, I used to be that naive. I was really convinced that the days would be endless and that I would be bored to death with an always sleeping baby at home.
How should I have known that my baby would be awake for most time of the day and that even when he sleeps, I would just stare at him the whole time.
To make a long (unordinary) consultant story short: the days have flown by. When my last week of parental leave was approaching, I felt like I could have easily enjoyed some extra time cocooning at home.
On the other hand, there was also a small part of me longing for some routine again. And as we have been lucky to find a great childcare center. I felt kind of ready to return to work after those 14 weeks of bounding with my little boy.
While writing this blog article, I’ve survived my first week back in the office pretty well – and so has my baby J. I’m convinced that having a positive and optimistic attitude is fundamental for a successful and stress-free return. However, there are definitely some other components that can make things a bit less complicated:
Empathetic colleagues are everything!
With a scared heart that I dropped my son at the childcare center the very first day. And let’s be honest… as I was really concerned about how he’d be doing, it wasn’t easy to fully focus on my job the first week after my return from parental leave.
Working at the internal marketing team
Luckily all 4P square headquarter colleagues have been very empathetic and understanding. The Marketing Manager has prepared a well achievable week planning for me, which I could work through at my own pace. I could easily reach out for help to all other 4P square consultants in transit and also the HR team has been very supportive. A big thank you to all of them for the warm welcome back!
Perspective to a new challenging project
Up until the day before I have given birth (the baby came a little earlier than expected) I was working as a corporate communication officer at Toerisme Vlaanderen / VISITFLANDERS. I started my assignment in 2020 and as a result I gathered a lot of routine. I was quite in my comfort zone regarding all job related tasks at Tourisme Vlaanderen.
Returning from parental leave
As I loved my job and the Vistiflanders team, I wouldn’t have minded returning after my parental leave.
On the other hand, I am also ready for a completely new challenge. Sooner than expected, a new challenge and temporary assignment has crossed my professional path thanks to 4P square! I’m super excited to kick off my new project as a Go To Market marketer in Private Banking and Wealth Management at BNP Paribas Fortis. Taking that new challenge into account and looking forward to it, has definitely contributed to my motivation to get back to work.
Organizing, organizing and… organizing!
Before having a baby, I’d never ever prepared anything in advance in order to make the morning rush a little more enjoyable. However, now I’m convinced that a decent preparation in the evening before a new working day can make the difference. Choosing an outfit for both the baby and myself, washing my hair, gathering all my work stuff together, …
“A good preparation can work miracles!”
Do not panic
Do not panic
I do realize that – just like parenthood itself – a return to the office after maternity leave will be a completely different experience for everyone. If there’s any advice I can give to any mom restarting her job, I would say not to panic. If she’s experiencing a hard time in the beginning. I think every mom should allow herself to be sad and scared during the first days or weeks back in business. Be aware that you’re not on your own. Don’t be scared to share your feelings with your colleagues, boss, family, friends,… You can do this!
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About the author
Emma is a driven marketer with experience in (digital) marketing, communications and advertising in (inter)national environments. She’s familiar with marketing communications, branding, content and email marketing. Website and social media management, and several other marketing practices.
Currently, Emma is working in the corporate communications department of Visit Flanders. She takes care of all external B2B communication.