Before exiting maternity leave - as maternity leave and parental leave up to three years old are called in everyday life - most women experience stress and anxiety. On the one hand, this is understandable. On the other hand, there is nothing to worry about at all. There are many career options.

How to get out of maternity leave - useful tips from career experts

There are several reasons for young mothers to be anxious: they need to adapt, confirm their professionalism and value after a long break, learn new skills, think about who to leave the child with and how to combine family and work. Oksana Kartavenko, the owner of the Mass Staffing product of the Pyaterochka retail chain , where 80% of the staff are women, gave some advice on what points to think about before going to work, and told what career prospects could open up for women with children.

Don't get out of context

If only a woman can go on maternity leave, then the father and other family members can take maternity leave besides the mother. But in most cases, a mother remains at home with a newborn for six months, a year, and sometimes up to three years in our country. Care of the child, life, observance of the daily routine, children's circles and classes fall on her shoulders. Traveling somewhere becomes more difficult, especially in a metropolis, the social circle is narrowing - it consists of the same mothers of preschoolers. A new world is being formed, a comfort zone, from which it is not so easy to leave.

It is important to stay in context - to follow what is happening in the world, to be interested in the news, to read books, to meet friends, to discuss not only kindergarten and vaccinations.If your goal is to return to your previous place of work, then do not disappear completely - keep in touch with colleagues, your manager, find out what is currently happening in the company, what projects are being implemented, what changes are taking place. If you want to enter a new place of work, then be aware of the latest market trends, new products, carefully research all available information.

Learn new skills, get additional education

Everything is changing rapidly, so those competencies that you actively used one and a half to two years ago may already be outdated by the time you start working. You need to keep track of what is relevant now, allocate time for online courses, lectures, communication with professionals. This will help you to return to your previous job painlessly.

If you decide to change the field of activity, then set aside time for distance education, now there are a large number of different online programs. Education, as a rule, is divided into separate blocks that can be taken in your free time, for example, while the child is sleeping or is with one of the relatives. This is a matter of your personal responsibility. There are many examples when women on maternity leave mastered a new profession: a marketer, SMM manager, photographer, or opened their own business. Look for new opportunities, perceive the decree not as a forced confinement at home, but as a valuable experience - you learn time management, multitasking and planning.

Decide whether to return to your old job or go to a new one

It happens that after leaving the decree, a woman decides not to return to her previous place of work. Priorities may change, financial expectations may not suit the schedule that was before. Then you should warn the employer in advance that you do not plan to return to duties, and start looking at the offers that are on the market. Compare the requirements of companies and the competencies that you currently have. The new employer needs to honestly say that you have a small child, and agree on a convenient schedule - if you are a valuable specialist, then this will not interfere with your further career. Companies, first of all, evaluate the professionalism of the employee.

Focus on strengths

There is a stereotype that employees with young children are wary. In society, there is an attitude “a woman becomes stupid on a decree”, that is, she loses professional competencies and even communication skills. Yes, a monotonous daily routine, taking care of a child can cause burnout and fatigue. But the decree has another side. Motherhood is a completely new field of activity that requires concentration and attention.

When applying for a job or returning to your current job, it's important to keep your strengths in mind. It is much easier for a company to hire an experienced employee than to train a new one from scratch, so do not dwell on the cons, but focus on your strengths. The decree is not a verdict on a career - among business owners and top managers of large companies there are a sufficient number of women who have a family and children. Remember that they, too, most likely, at first it was very, very difficult.

“Pyaterochka, like any other retail company, is predominantly staffed by women. We have over 210,000 employees — they sit at the cash desk, manage stores, drive electric stackers, manage inventory, launch projects in different cities of the country. 65% of employees have children under 14 years old, 14% have a child who is not yet three years old. In our experience, women who come out of maternity leave have important business skills. They are collected, clear and organized, they are perfect in time management - they will not spend extra 15 minutes on another coffee trip with colleagues or unnecessary discussions, they can multitask, quickly switch their attention and make decisions quickly. In addition, they have a strong sense of responsibility. We have many examples

Think about who the child will be with during work.

Managers and HR may be concerned about who the child will be with while you work. The fears are understandable. Suddenly, the employee will start asking for leave early, constantly taking time off, sitting on sick leave, and not working at full strength.

Here you need to think in advance who will pick you up - husband, grandparents, nanny. In state gardens for part-time admission from a year and a half, in private - from a year. EIf you are preparing to go out only for a few hours a day, then co-working spaces, game centers and babysitters, which are most often employed by students for hourly pay, can help.

Choose a convenient schedule

Choose a convenient schedule, especially for the first time. Discuss this with your leader. So the adaptation will be much softer. Flexible schedules and short shifts are now a trend, and remote work has become something familiar and mundane after the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, you can not immediately go to the office, many companies give you the opportunity to combine offline and online formats, work completely from home, or agree on a comfortable work schedule for you. 

“We offer short shifts to women who are on parental leave or planning to leave it,” says Oksana Kartavenko. “The company adapts to their needs, they themselves choose when it is convenient for them to go to the trading floor for 2-3-4 hours, while someone sits with the child or while the child is in kindergarten.”

Remember your rights and ask what benefits the company has

The rights and interests of young mothers are protected by labor legislation. Pregnancy or the presence of children cannot be the reason for refusal to apply for a job, if this happens, then you can go to court. Pregnant women should not be forced to work overtime, and employees who have children under three years old should not be sent on business trips and called on night shifts and weekends without their written consent. The same applies to requests to stay at work after the end of official working hours. If you have a small child, then you can ask for part-time or part-time work, move lunch time to the beginning or end of the working day. To do this, you need to write an application. In addition, most companies provide benefits for families with children. 

“Today, more than 24.6 thousand of our employees are on maternity leave and parental leave. Relying on the fact that most of our employees have families and children, we built our system of benefits. So, for example, they can connect a child to a telemedicine service, where you can sign up for an online consultation with any specialist, including a psychologist, for free. Store managers have VHI. We always give gifts to the children of employees on New Year's Eve and by September 1, we hold various activities in stores and offices. At the beginning of June, employees’ children were gathered in different cities for excursions to distribution centers, where you can’t get to at normal times - these are objects that are closed to free access,” said Oksana Kartavenko.

Follow the regime

And remember about the mode, now you are in a new role. You need to combine family and work processes, and at the same time not burn out, leaving time for your personal affairs. In order not to fall off your feet from fatigue and stress by the end of the day, you need to follow the regime, balance - rationally use the time for sleep, food, work, rest, physical activity, go to lunch on time, be able to accept help from other people. Then the adaptation will be easy, and the work will bring satisfaction and joy.

How to get out of the decree - useful tips 

  1. Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone and do not lose touch with the outside world - develop, follow what is happening around, be interested in the news, read more, keep in touch with your manager and colleagues, follow what is happening at work. Explore the market, stay up to date with the latest trends.
  2. Look for new opportunities.A decree is not a forced confinement at home, but a valuable experience.Find time for online courses, lectures, communication with professionals, distance education.
  3. Analyze your priorities, financial situation, competencies and skills and make a decision - to return to your old job or move to a new one. Remember that the employer evaluates, first of all, the professionalism of the employee, and not his marital status.
  4. Consider your strengths. The decree teaches effective time management, concentration, composure, responsibility and multitasking.
  5. One of the most important questions. Think about who the child will be with during your working day: relatives, a nanny, a kindergarten.
  6. Pick a comfortable schedule. Perhaps the first time is to go on a part-time job. Assess if the company you work for can offer you flexible hours or shorter hours.
  7. Do not forget about your rights and ask what benefits the company provides for families with children.
  8. Mode is everything. In order for adaptation to be painless, and work to bring satisfaction and joy, you need to strike a balance - rational use of time for sleep, food, work, rest, physical activity, go to lunch on time, be able to accept help from other people.