As many of you know, I went on maternity leave last year after giving birth to my beautiful little girl Juno (who is now a proper toddler...how did that happen?!) I returned to my job at Phase this year in February and since then have been trying to learn the art of juggling parenthood and work, learning much in the process. I have been exhausted at times and probably looking a lot more dishevelled than before (priorities and standards change) but overall, I have really enjoyed being back with the Phase team and doing a job that I absolutely love. Here are some of my reflections on my return to work...
I have the benefit of working at an organisation where there is constant conversation and focus on the word “Wellbeing” and never in my life has this been more needed. With the increased demands on my time and energy, it has become essential that I put into practise all of the things that we have preached for the past couple of years at Phase. And I can honestly say that taking the time to look after yourself really does make a difference! For me it looks like being super organised in the evenings to prepare everything in advance so that I can give myself some “me” time in the mornings which I use for prayer, journaling or exercise. This sets me up well for the day and is also giving myself the best of me, rather than waiting until the end of the day when I am probably too tired to bother. This daily discipline means I can function as a present and attentive mum at home and as a (mostly) effective and passionate professional at work.
I am also finding it really interesting to learn all about all the stages of development that a child goes through before they turn into the sulky teenagers that we normally encounter in school. In fact, I am beginning to discover a number of similarities when dealing with toddlers and teenagers; the biggest being that whether it’s at home or work I am dealing with people who have explosions of emotions that they don’t know how to handle! How I respond to a toddler tantrum and an emotional young person might look quite different but essentially my role is the same in each situation – to help them to identify, accept and express their feelings.
Another theme I see at home and at work is around trying to build resilience - a word that we use a lot at Phase as we believe this is a key skill to develop in young people. I am trying to learn what it looks like to encourage this from a really young age, so that my daughter grows up with the emotional skills to cope with whatever life throws at her and is hopefully better prepared for the emotional rollercoaster of adolescence.
So, in short, this time of transitioning back to the world of work has involved lots of learning; learning how to look after myself, learning how to apply my lessons at work to being a parent, and learning how to make use of my new mum skills in the work environment (multi-tasking being a key one of these!)