Next week, I’m going to be giving a talk to an audience of Working Mums who are either planning to return to work or are weighing up their options. Because one of the most important things for you to remember as a working mum is that you do have options.

When I was about to return to work after maternity leave, I didn’t think I had a choice. I had to return because we needed the money, and my company at the time also had a really good financial incentive to go back full-time for six months. It meant that I felt compelled to stay, even though the prospect of returning to my role, filled me with apprehension and I was still in the grips of separation anxiety.

Nicola J Rowley Founder of the Working Mum Association

One of the reasons that I ended up launching the Working Mum Association was to create a global community where like-minded mums could support each other. It’s the support that I’d felt was missing.

It’s why I’m now also working towards the introduction of Working Mum Mentors at high profile UK companies because hopefully others will then follow suit. Put simply it’s a way for mums who have already returned to the workplace, to support others who are new returners as they go through those initial first six-nine months.

It’s a way for non-judgmental support and advice from a fellow mum, who’s experienced how difficult it can be adjusting to life back in the office, the hours, the work culture and much more besides.

Other things that can help with your return to work include having a plan in place to help you cope with the transition. For instance, if you say to yourself you will give it a year and see how you get on, you will feel under less pressure.

If the company you’re returning to isn’t great when it comes to flexible working, then look towards joining another company that appreciates you and the talents you have, and will also be more accommodating to any such requests.

Other things that you can consider if you’re still on maternity leave is to use the time wisely to re-train, or to start a side hustle. Retraining will help you expand your skill set and starting a side hustle, such as a blog or expanding what was once a hobby, could be the thing that will help you more effectively balance work and home life.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is that you have to be happy. There’s no point dragging yourself into the office day after day, knowing how miserable you are, and how much you miss your children.

Making a change, any change – can seem scary. But please try and embrace the change, especially if it will lead to a happier, healthier you in the long run.

Nicola J Rowley The Working Mum Association

You may well be reading this and as a new mum, you managed to breeze seamlessly back into the workplace on your return. You feel that everything has gone well for you, and you feel valued and respected in your role. In short, little changed whilst you were away on maternity leave.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for the majority of mums who contact us. They miss their children terribly, are not afforded any flexible working, and feel stuck and unhappy in what was previously a fulfilling job or career.

Whatever your circumstances please remember you have choices that are yours and yours alone to make. You get to choose how your life pans out, and there’s simply not enough time for you to spend it being unhappy.

PS Coming soon I’ll be launching an affordable monthly paid membership for the Working Mum Associaton. To get yourself onto the waitlist please contact me HERE