Dear boss: a new mama’s letter to her employer

by Mindful Return
How To Write a Return-To-Work Letter
Reading Time: 3 minutes
After going on maternity leave and returning to work, there were a few things we wished we’d said to our employers.  This letter shares some of these musings, many of which have sadly have not evolved over many years. By Lori Mihalich-Levin and Noloyiso Tlali

Dear X,

My parental leave has flown by and as I prepare to return to work, I wanted to share that, I am looking forward with great excitement to having intellectually stimulating conversations with my colleagues in a clean office. And, I am struggling with the thought of leaving my baby at home, I feel like I will be leaving a vital organ behind every day.

You see dear employer both can be equally true.

Now, I’d like to confirm and deny a few things you may be thinking or wondering:

Yes, it is true, that I won’t be the same person I was before I left and I may need time to transition back into work mode and that I may not be completely and entirely “with it” for the first few months.  No one whose sleep has been interrupted every 2 hours for weeks on end or whose body was just turned upside down and inside out possibly could be. I hear the first year is brutal, while I know no two parental journeys are the same, please bear with me as a figure this stage of my life out.

Yes, it is true my priorities have definitely changed, and I may share or not share pictures of my bundle of joy – we are not all the same as mothers.

Also, let’s talk about flexible work time; my little one’s creche close at 5pm sharp, I get fined for every 10 minutes I’m late. And so, considering flexibility in the work schedules of new parents may be a differentiator in the my successful transition back to work.

While, we are on the topic of flexibility, I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced that our newborns are little petri dishes– babies will get some awful bugs, and I will always catch these…I mean always.

This means that I may need time off while I battle the first grade germs my little gem shares with me – this does not make me less committed to my work, but life does happen.

Yes, it is true that I dearly love my baby.  And I love my career.  I am not conflicted about loving both.  But I do feel pulled in many directions every day.

I anticipate the needs of others (clients, screaming babies, contractors, colleagues) in ways you’ve never imagined.  I will have prioritise and multitask like nobody’s business.  I am more efficient and I have a newfound superpower of connecting with people – colleagues, clients, you name it – thanks to this fundamental thing to the species, called “having children”.

Also read A guide for parents returning to work

I have a few small requests for when I come back.  Meet these, and you’ll win my unending loyalty:

  • Cut me some slack the first few months; I won’t be sleep-deprived forever (or so the experienced parents tell me), but for the moment I am.
  • Be kind.  Ask about my child.  When my kids get sick, it helps to know that that I can take care of them first.
  • Don’t expect me to return unchanged by motherhood; but do expect me to be an amazing, talented, intelligent, and thoughtful employee.  Keep me around and engaged in the work that’s going on.

This phase of life is not just about the maternity leave. Going back to work, especially full-time can be emotionally and physically demanding (this is before new mothers have to deal with pumping; which, please note is not a mere privilege, but a right).

When our basic needs are met—when there’s genuine compassion and care for employees as humans, not just as a resource—we have more focus and dedication. We’re better workers. We’re better people.

New Mama's Letter to Her Employer - BabyYumYumTransitioning back to work after parental leave is hard. Yes, I am returning as a different person with new priorities and concerns,  yet, I love my career and if you show up for me, I promise to bring my best (including my new found skills gained in parenthood).

Lastly, if you are not sure how to help – please do not hesitate to simply ask me and other parents within the organisation.

See you soon,
Mindful Returning Mama

Also read Going back to work after having a baby
Click here for Hacks for after maternity leave

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