Mixed, but mainly positive!

General Details
Network:
Working mother
Profession:
Law
Type of leave:
Shared Parental
Number of years professional experience:
6-10 years
Length of leave:
2-3 months
Type of experience:
Mixed
Work pattern on return:
Standard full-time
Message I went back to work after 3 months, did 2 days a week for a further 3 months, and then went back to full time. My organisation offers 3 months leave at full pay, then 3 months at 70% pay, hence my decision to go back 2 days a week for that second period of 3 months.
But it was also the right time for me. I felt a bit of pressure from all the other mums in my area who were taking a minimum of 9-12 month off completely and would give me big sad concerned eyes when I told them I'd be returning after 3. But absolutely the right choice for me - I would have gone mad staying home any longer and felt really grateful to be able to take that much time on full pay. The defining characteristic of what helped my family through this time was a husband who was delighted to be a stay-at-home dad for 18 months. He kept our family going while I worked, travelled, and battled post-natal depression.
Returning was fairly straightforward work wise. My team had reallocated my work while I was gone and most of them were happy to give my projects back when I returned. I also thought the 2 days a week period was really helpful in easing me back in. My manager didn't mind which 2 days I chose, as long as I got my work done. I could keep things rolling along but nobody expected me to take on massive responsibility or travel immediately. On that point - I started travelling again for up to a week at a time when my baby was six months old. Again, having a stay-at-home partner made that possible.
Good luck to all the families!!
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