Strategies for Going Back to Work After Baby
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No matter how long you've been out of the professional world, these tips can help you ease into the role of working mom.

As a working mom, you have much to offer an employer: Motherhood has strengthened your ability to multitask, as well as you likely now have time management down to an art.

If you're considering getting back to work after having a baby — or even after seeing your kids off to school — you aren't alone. Seventy percent of mothers in the U.S. work full- or part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"We're finding fewer women stay out for long periods of time," says Betty Spence, president of the National Association for Female Executives. "We're eager to be involved, eager to get back to the workplace."

Whether you've been out of the workforce for several weeks, months, or years, these tips can help you ease into the role of a working mom — and maximize the benefits for you, your family, and your employer.

Keep up With What's Happening in Your Profession

If you know your leave from the professional world will be temporary, it may be worthwhile to keep up with general trends in your field. "Taking online courses can keep you abreast of trends as well as new technology, which can change so quickly," Spence says. "Continue networking via social media, text, and phone calls."

This list of networking sites and resources for women provides tips and tools that can help you have a positive attitude when returning to work after having a baby.

If you plan to return to your current employer, meet with colleagues upon your return to discuss any major office developments, such as personnel and policy changes. This will help you prioritize your work as you complete your transition.

Ease Back Into the Workforce

After maternity leave or being a stay-at-home mom, you might choose to wade into the water rather than dive in head first. A growing number of companies offer flexible working possibilities, so you might propose returning to work part-time or telecommuting full-time or a few days a week.

"Women tend to be pretty self-sacrificing, but it's important that a woman not forget to take care of herself," Spence says. "It's not all or nothing. There are options."

Know Your Workplace's Policies

Research the kind of support your company provides working mothers — and make sure it enforces these policies.

"Even if the policies are in the books, you could have a supervisor who's not very friendly towards them," Spence says. "So always talk to people at the organization and ensure that the practices are embraced."  Human Resources is usually a good place to start if you have concerns.

Regardless of the road you travel, Spence advises asking plenty of questions:

  • What is your flextime policy?
  • Is it possible for me to work from home one day a week?
  • What is the support that's given when you work from home?

This is a good chance to truly benefit from the pleasant and supportive environment of your current employer or decide to start fresh.

"You learn all kinds of critical skills as a mother — patience, organization, multitasking, time management — that can easily transfer into day-to-day corporate responsibilities," Spence says. "You've done it before; you can do it again."

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