Returning to paid work after taking a period of maternity leave (which might have lasted for years) can be a big deal and there is often a lot to balance between work and home. My personal experience has sometimes been that the coordination of child care and work hours can be enough to make me feel exhausted even before I step into the workplace. That then can make it hard to perform as well as you want to at work.
But what if……..
- Work was a place where you felt extremely engaged, confident and happy?
- Your work gave you regular opportunities to use and showcase your strengths?
- You left work most days feeling uplifted and energised?
At the beginning of this year we wrote about Strengths for the New Year and the well-researched evidence that identifying and using your personal strengths can increase your life satisfaction and sense of well-being. This notion of “playing to your strengths” seems to us to be a key way of managing the balance of family and paid work.
If you want to return to paid work we encourage you to look for work which allows you to use your strengths and to look for ways to spend more time on the aspects of work that you love and/or are great at. The lovely flow-on can be that you bring home so much more energy to your family and are able to better accomplish and enjoy the myriad of child related activities.
Before you start job hunting you could make a list of the things you enjoyed most about your last position, the aspects you felt most confident in, and the areas in which you regularly received good feedback. You may not be able to build all these elements into a job but identifying these things is a great place to start!
Positive Psychology research into personal strengths consistently shows that people who use their strengths experience less stress, have higher levels of self-esteem and are more likely to achieve their goals. This is at the same time as enjoying more energy and a feel-good buzz.!
We hope that these ideas will help to give you energy and enthusiasm for your own balancing act!
Best wishes from Flourishing Mothers
Adapted by Flourishing Mothers from the work of Carmel Proctor, John Maltby and Alex Linley.