The Other Side of Maternity Leave: The Coworkers We Leave Behind

Do you know that us moms we LOVE talking about our maternity leave? The favourite is how it was not a holiday. Actually, it was not a holiday for our coworkers either. The other side of maternity leave is about our coworkers who had to step up at work. Society spends a lot of time focused on the individual going on maternity, her and baby, and then her return.  What we do not zone in on is the additional work our coworkers had to manage.

I had two maternity leaves, and I even have a whole section on my blog dedicated to the maternity leave so this was my internal reflection.

[bctt tweet=”Maternity Leave is not a holiday. But it is not a holiday for colleagues either. Lets be grateful” username=”cherralle_”]

I would like to challenge us all to reflect on our colleagues who had to step in at work while we were on maternity.

Related Post: 7 Things a Working Mother Wants To Tell her Boss

Here Are 4 Reasons Why Our Colleagues Who Supported Us Need a Thank You


maternity leave and coworkers


The load you had to carry

In many organisations, a company may not hire a temporary replacement for someone who goes on maternity leave. Simply put, work often gets shifted around and spread across the team. This means that those left behind have to carry an extra load during this time.

You do it with a smile

No complaints nothing, just purely supporting us who need the time to go off. Yes, we must go on maternity, but we are still grateful.

In many instances, our colleagues are impacted at work too when others are on maternity, and it is appreciated.

[bctt tweet=”we should show gratitude to our colleagues who picked up the extra load when we went on maternity leave” username=”cherralle_)”]

Related Post: 7 Reasons Why I am Pretty Certain We Are Only Having Two Kids

A warm, friendly welcome back

When I came back,  my colleagues were supportive and helpful. Helping me ease back into things and explaining patiently and slowly what is happening at work.  I forgot so many things while on maternity. Erm…how do I log on now again?  I have just been away for five months, and all they wanted to know was how I was doing and be genuinely helpful. That was selfless, and I was grateful for that.

You spoilt me

I was showered with presents for myself and the little one by my colleagues. People do not NEED to get anything for a new baby. It was done out of the goodness of their hearts and they were genuinely happy and supportive of my pregnancy.

Further Reading: Maternity Leave – 5 Practical Steps to Make Returning To Work Easier

So when you, are going on, or have returned from maternity leave:

  1. Be grateful. Do not take it for granted what our colleagues have done and are doing to support and keep things afloat. Remember in most cases they will need to carry an extra load.
  2. Be empathetic. Yes we know it’s tough going on and coming back from maternity, and you need your colleagues and boss to support you as you return to worl.  Just remember that your colleagues may also be going through tough times.
  3. Pay it forward. Know that your time will come when you need to support others going on maternity leave 🙂

[bctt tweet=”Although going on maternity is a must, I still feel grateful to my team for stepping in” username=”cherralle_”]

Related Post: Pumping Breast Milk at Work: The Law and What Moms Have To Say

Through this post, I want to share a different perspective of how our work community supports working mothers when we go off to have babies!

Share this  and tag a friend you believe supported you doing maternity!

Featured Image: istock


Maternity Leave – 5 Practical Steps to Make Returning to Work Easier

Returning back to work after being on maternity leave is a daunting experience. I fully enjoyed both my maternity leaves and being a stay at home mom for that time. I must admit I was happy to join the world of work again.

However, there were challenges integrating back into work and the below steps helped me to ease back into things.

Further Reading: Pumping Breast Milk at Work: The Law and What Moms Have To Say

Here are 5 practical tips to make integrating back to work easier.

back to work from maternity leave

Have a 1:1 with your manager before your official return

It is useful to take a touch point before your return to work, in order to understand how the team and work allocations have evolved in your absence. Schedule a 30 minute coffee catch up a few weeks before your return to check in with your manager and/ or colleagues.

[bctt tweet=”Schedule a 30 minute coffee catch up a few weeks before your return to check in with your manager and/ or colleagues” username=”cherralle_”]

Do a few test runs before you actually return to work

During both my maternity leaves, I actively started spending short amounts of time away from home from about two to three weeks before returning to work. This allowed my helper and the babies space to bond without me mothering around. It also helped me and the babies get use to being away from each other. And… I got a whole lot of free time to relax and have some me time.

Take a lead role in planning your work life integration

Returning from maternity leave means that your life style has changed. This has a definitive impact on how you manage your time and energy between work and home.  If you don’t plan your life and work, it will be planned for you.

Be firm with boundaries, and be flexible when you are able to. What works for me is that on a daily basis I have a recurring block out in my diary between 16h00 – 17h00. This helps me to consolidate my last hour at work, and also limits me being pulled into last minute meetings that run over. I am flexible around it of course, but I have had zero issues in the last 3 years of doing this.

Further Reading: Bye Bye Mommy Guilt, Why You Should Feel Proud of Being a Working Mom

Don’t be so hard on yourself

Accept that it will be difficult to figure out your new lifestyle with work.

You are no longer the person you were before. There will be lots and lots of mommy guilt that you may feel around leaving your child, and lots of ‘career guilt’ as you feel you are just not as available anymore. No special formula exists, just figure out what works for you and be intentional about it.

[bctt tweet=”There will be lots of mommy guilt once you return to work from maternity, don’t be so hard on yourself” username=”cherralle_”]

Talk to other moms

We are all in trying to make this thing called ‘motherhood’ work.

Motherhood is the most beautiful thing in this world to me, but its also terrifying, and kids can be annoying.

I have come to realise that moms face similar challenges, we just need to talk to each other about it. [bctt tweet=”Parenting is not a science, it is about doing the best we can to love and protect our families.” username=”cherralle_”]

Did I miss anything? What made your integration back to work after maternity leave easier?

Further Reading: {Working Mom Hack} 7 Tips to Get More Time for Yourself and Your Family

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