Then returning to work after some time away can really test that stagnant part of your brain again. So it is an excellent idea to keep the work and career parts of your brain fit and healthy while you are on maternity leave.
Being at home with a small baby is one of the hardest things that a
person can do. It requires no end of physical strength and energy, resilience
and patience, problem-solving and multi-tasking skills, and the
level-headedness and negotiation skills of a bomb-diffusing expert.
But there are parts of your brain that don’t really seem to get a
workout during this time. And for many women who are used to being
intellectually stimulated or working in a fast-paced job, adapting to this
completely different role can be a difficult one.
Then returning to work after some time away can really test that
stagnant part of your brain again.
So it is an excellent idea to keep the work and career parts of your brain
fit and healthy while you are on maternity leave.
There are a few reasons why you might find this helpful:
It will be less of a shock to your mind when you do have to wake it up
again to return to work
Most women find using this side of their brain to be enjoyable and
It looks better to your employer, or to a new employer if you are
It will keep you busy during long periods when your baby is sleeping,
feeding or having tummy time
It will keep you abreast of any changes to your industry
after yourself and your baby first
Now we definitely don’t want to put extra pressure on you, so if you
are just managing with your baby (or trying to manage a baby), please don’t
think you have to be super-career-woman at the same time.
Maternity leave is supposed to be exactly that; leave. Time away from
work to look focus entirely on your baby. So if your focus is 100% on bubs,
that is fine. You do not have to take on any more.
But many women find this isn’t enough
and can be a little bit lost focusing entirely on the baby-world. For those
who want to work on their career path while they are on leave and who find this
keeps them from drowning in nappies and Peppa Pig, doing a bit of professional
development can be an excellent idea.
up with changes in your industry
Many professionals are required to undertake professional training or
experience every year to stay registered in their current profession. This is
very true of industries where new developments are always happening, such as
health, teaching, and legal professions.
Others aren’t required to as such, but it looks much better for them if
they do keep up, including professions such as IT, marketing, finance, and e-commerce. Anyone who has come from an
industry of working with computers or social media will find changes can happen
very, very fast.
Once your baby has settled into patterns of eating and sleeping, which for
most will be around4-6 months, you might
find you are at a bit of a loose end sometimes. Between 6 months and 2 years, most little ones will have a couple of sleeps a day, and I certainly found when I was
a mum home with my baby that I wanted something else to do.
There was never nothing to do I
admit, but I wanted something more challenging than endless bottle washing and
bleaching of tiny items of clothing.
#3 Talk to
Have a chat with your employer or
your HR person about anything you can do. They might be happy to fund some
online training you can do from home, or even have a bit of paid work you can
take on while you are on leave.
This enthusiasm will impress, and you might make a little money while
you are doing it.
development that can help any industry
Even if your current employer doesn’t have anything for you to do,
there are a few types of training that help almost all professionals to develop
their skills and increase their range of capabilities.
Consider looking into one (or more) of the following:
Dealing with challenging people
Multitasking or time management skills
Writing for business
IT software updates like Microsoft Office, MYOB, and Xero
Virtually all courses are now available virtually. Through providers
such as Open Colleges as well as directly through most universities and TAFEs
you can enroll in postgraduate courses or study them in part to improve your skills.
Whatever your career path, there is guaranteed to be some further study you can
do through a registered training provider
that can help you upskill.
and online conferences
There is a world of training online that you can tap into, most of
which is free or very low cost. YouTube
can be a place to start; there are instructional videos on here teaching
everything from tying knots to knotting ties (plus a few more topics which are
probably more relevant to your career than these two!)
You can also subscribe to services such as Skillshare, which for an
annual fee allow you access to unlimited video training and webinars in all
sorts of skills and interest areas.
Again, talk to your employer to see if they will foot the bill for
this, but if not, it still might be money very well spent for you. Plus, you
could get a few days break from your baby.
If you are not a member of a professional association in your field
consider doing this now. It can be an excellent source of information and a
great way to stay connected and in the loop. If there are conferences available
they would usually be advertised through these associations.
You could even network on a local level by going to meet-ups, either
for a specific professional group or
perhaps just for women in business or working mothers.
Social media groups are another brilliant source of both information
and connections. Search for support groups in your specific field, and once
joined you can ask for advice about training you should be doing. With so many
minds within reach, your peers across the globe are bound to have suggestions
for areas of study, specific providers you should connect to, or influencers
you should follow.
#10 Book Club
Look into new books that you think you should be reading in your field,
and then either join or set-up a book club with some peers to read this book
together. This is another thing that can
be done entirely online. Get ideas for books you could target through your
ex-colleagues, professional associations, and
online support groups.
your own group
If there is no established professional group you can join to get help
on this, why not create your own? You can set up a group page on Facebook for
free, and then send invites to people you think might be interested.
You could start a blog and update it weekly with new information about
your specific industry; this will keep you up with changes, keep your brain
active, and will look awesome to your potential employers when you go back to
If your blog becomes popular and you really like doing it, you can look
into monetising it and then you may never
have to go back to working for someone else again!
Many mothers have taken the untapped portion of their brain while on
maternity leave and spun this into their
own start-up business. You could freelance your services through websites like
Upwork.com and Freelancer.com or set up your own online business selling handicrafts or importing products that you know
other mothers would love.
Almost every mother has discovered a new product which saved their
sanity when their baby was tiny, why not channel your enthusiasm for this
project into an e-commerce store selling
Some ideas for online stores include:
Maternity or breastfeeding clothes
High-quality baby clothes or
Organic baby skincare
Cotton, hemp or bamboo products
Food products, like readymade meals, baked goods or allergy-friendly
Wooden or unique toys
Educational or mindfulness toddler products
For some ideas of mothers who have taken their maternity leave and
created a business empire from it, check out the following:
Natasha Stewart, Founder of Business Jump
Kelly Jamieson, Founder of Edible Blooms
Louise Pannell and Cassandra Wheat, Co-founders of Chorus
This website gives you access to career development professionals and
many online resources to help you seek your own career advancement. This can
include things like career planning, job search,and
resume skills, as well as options for further study.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.