Moms who have returned to work after taking maternity leave or an extended absence to raise young children know all too well that the transition isn’t easy. If you’ve done it, you’ve probably struggled to feel like you’re being as productive an employee as you used to be. And if you’re a new mom planning to go back to work, you may be dreading your first day back in the office.
Before you let anxiety overwhelm you, take a moment to think about what you’ve been up to during your time at home. How can you can capitalize on the very experiences you think might be hindering your career? Half the battle of transitioning back into the workplace is parlaying the many skills you’ve learned as a mother. When you go back to work, it may be difficult not to view your hiatus as a deficit, but be confident. Here are a few reasons why.
You’re an Expert at Multitasking
You’ve managed to be hyper aware of your kids’ behaviors and needs while also completing the day-to-day duties and errands that every adult struggles to manage. However trivial the action—whether it’s teeth-brushing, grocery shopping or catching up with someone on the phone—it is infinitely more complicated when young children are in the picture. So when you go back to work, juggling multiple projects or requests might not seem so daunting. And even when work pressures inevitably mount, take solace in the fact that you’re better equipped than ever to manage simultaneous assignments.
You’re a Wizard With Research
If you’ve taken a break from your job, you probably feel out of practice with some of the skills traditionally associated with the workplace. But keep in mind that you’ve been honing some of these abilities—just in a different context. You’ve likely grown accustomed to doing careful research before making choices that affect your family and home, making you especially efficient at navigating the sea of information available online. The same applies to money: sure, the specifics may be entirely different, but the nature and responsibility of managing a budget at home can help prepare you for similar tasks at work.
You’re a Communications Pro
Remember, too, that you can use your new communication skills to your benefit. Of course, interacting with kids and adults is not the same. But whether you’re nurturing client relationships or supervising junior-level employees, if you’ve raised children, you know how to discipline and negotiate while still showing that you care.
There’s no doubt that returning to work is nerve-wracking, and you’ll certainly go through a period of adjustment. But vow to take advantage of the abilities and skills you developed during your time off, and your transition won’t seem so scary.
Samantha Samel is the editorial director of Fairygodboss, a company dedicated to improving the workplace for women by increasing transparency. The site offers a space for women to anonymously review their work experiences and also offers job listings, discussion boards, company ratings and career advice.