There was always something niggling away in my brain that returning to work after maternity leave was going to be an emotional challenge. Hold that thought will you?
Whether it was the fact that I worked for such a family-focused company that understood what it was like to have a life outside of the office. Or the fact I had suddenly found a part of me that had got lost for nine months, the first few days were surprisingly welcoming, dare I say … easy.
Transition back to work
Everyone had warned me that the transition back to work would be hard, so I had prepared myself for a difficult first couple of days. Perhaps it was just good forward planning as a new mum over 40, but I didn’t feel scared about returning to work. I felt great.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some things that could have floored me. For example, being struck down with laryngitis, C cracking his head on a wooden chair at nursery, late-night hospital visits due to raging temperatures and very little sleep. BUT I’d missed my clients and colleagues so much that I was just happy to be me again and not just C’s mum!
Guiding other self-starters
Once I’d switched my computer on for the first time again, I found my multi-tasking skills were at an all-time high. I was getting a thrill from solving work-related problems and loving every bit of the challenge of guiding other young self-starters who were new to the business.
For the first time in months, I had adults I could talk to all day about adult stuff, I was wearing clothes rather than just my PJs, I didn’t smell of spoiled baby milk and I had a cup of hot coffee that I could drink whenever I wanted.
Keeping my brain active through blogging
While some of it stems from being a work-horse for the best part of 20 years and finding great passion and satisfaction in all of my jobs. The real reason I’d suddenly become this firecracker was because I’d been keeping my brain active through blogging.
I could see that if I used my newfound skills in the workplace, it would benefit me. I felt like I had suddenly become a better co-worker, employee and mum all at once. Colleagues even remarked how surprised they were that I’d just “hit the ground running” being back at work. It was great that they recognised the value that the new-me brought to the table.
Why it’s a blogger’s world today
Now once upon a time I remember remarking to colleagues that I saw little value in blogs. I joked how bloggers were not ‘real writers’, how they just blagged free stuff, meals out and holidays. A lot of that came from the bubble I lived in during a previous job in print media. It was only when that bubble burst that it taught me a lesson about keeping up with the times!
Since then I have adopted a test and learn mentality. As Albert Einstein famously said, change is ‘about the thinking’. So I spent plenty of time doing just that on maternity leave.
Absorbing new trends
I quickly realised that being on mat leave, a stay-at-home-mum (SAHM), or lady that lunched was not for me. Instead I spent time absorbing information about new trends in the digital world. I sought out new social media tools/apps to keep up my creativity and networked with like-minded individuals.
I worked around the clock 24/7 for nine months to get my blog to where it’s at – in between naps. I also bounced ideas off my mumpreneur friends.
Test and learn blog strategy
A test and learn blog strategy made me realise how I could reach consumers in a different way. What I learned was that brands were re-addressing which channels were the most effective themselves. There was also an increased focus on connected journeys and thought-leadership.
When people mention it to me, they’ll say “Oh so you’ve started writing a blog, that’s nice.”
Benefits in the workplace
I then explain that I’ve not just started ‘writing’ a blog. I’ve learned a host of technical skills in how to set one up. I’ve developed my idea, my brand and my strategy and rolled it out across social media to extend my reach. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
I definitely burned the candle at both ends. However, I’m now reaping the benefits in the workplace not only for myself, but also for my clients. Long may it continue!