Before I went on maternity leave, I thought I had everything planned out perfectly.
When it was time for me to go back to work, all the pieces would just fall back into place and I would be ready. Right?! I couldn’t have been more wrong!
I often say “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. Of course I love to plan – I am a lawyer. But what happens when the plans no longer seem to work or make sense?
When it came to my plans to go back to work after my maternity leave, there were definitely some unexpected bumps in the road.
I had heard many mothers say that “everything changes when you have a baby” but I had not anticipated that I would change so much. My priorities shifted in a big way as soon as I held my baby for the first time.
The thought of heading back to full-time work and long hours made me question whether I had made the right career choices.
As weeks turned into months and talk of returning to work became more frequent, I had to make some tough decisions. I had the desire to continue practising law, however I also really wanted to be around to watch my son grow.
I didn’t want to throw away all the years I spent getting to this level of my legal career, but I also wanted to be home to put my son to bed every evening.
When you start planning your return to work after maternity leave, it is important to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the ideal situation for returning to work after maternity leave?
- How do you want home life and work life to look?
- What do you want life to look like in five years?
When considering these questions, I had to really consider what my priorities were, so that I could align my life with them. I thought about what career success meant to me – did I want more clients, more exposure, or more industry recognition?
I contemplated returning to my job as a corporate lawyer. However, I realised that my definition of success had changed – what I had thought would be my ideal situation for returning to work after my maternity leave was no longer ideal for me.
I decided to leave my role as a corporate associate and start a part-time role as in-house counsel. Understanding my priorities and setting new career goals helped me to find work that works for me. You can do the same.
There are many ways to integrate your work and family life. It doesn’t have to be your career OR raising a family, but it is important to be flexible in your approach. Know what is important to you and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone.
[bctt tweet=”It doesn’t have to be your career OR raising a family, but it is important to be flexible in your approach.” username=”@LightBOXPD”]
If you are in the process of or will soon be adjusting to life as a lawyer mum, grab “The Smooth Return Roadmap: 7 Step Guide to becoming a calm and confident working mum”