In my professional life, I’m mentoring a young woman with an amazing career. She is accomplished in every way—academically successful, fabulous jobs in the past and now, command of several foreign languages, obvious brilliance as well as good sense. And a new baby. She is on maternity leave, trying to stay linked to her office as well as her life at home. It’s quite a balancing act.
I have suggested stepping back from the office totally and really enjoying time with her baby and husband and doing things for herself that she would enjoy. It is irreplaceable. This period can be enriched with a mindset that it is a Reboot Break.
During this time, extra energy and time can be put into your own renewal rather than the office. Sure, read professional things to stay current, but also read things you like that you haven’t read, get together with friends, have dates with your husband, reconnect with family, write daily reflections in a journal, do yoga, or your favorite exercise. And, if there’s time, you might even get involved in a local community activity or take a class or pick up a hobby.
What about the career worries? Will your career be intact when you return? Yes, it will. What should you tell people you are doing? You are taking a mini Reboot Break. It is time away from work to do special things, like be with a new baby, think, expand horizons, refresh.
“Taking care of a new baby,” you say, “is not a time to relax. I’m exhausted and don’t have time for anything else.” Yes, but if you set your goals and make a plan, you will be more likely to fit in other things. If you are pregnant, you can do this planning in advance. If you are already on a baby break, you can do it now. Set your sights for some things you want to do. Taking your baby along counts—they are never too young for special adventures with you. But, you need time alone too. Give yourself permission to take it.
Here’s another possibility: Extend the maternity leave into a fuller Reboot Break. Co-author Rita Foley asked for extra time off from her corporation before she started maternity leave. Afterward, she went back to work fully refreshed and excited about returning. She watched as many of her friends and colleagues went back right after maternity leave, exhausted and anxious. A large number left the workforce to be at home. She continued in her career with a more balanced life and occasional Reboot Breaks over the years to refresh and renew again.
The bottom line is to give yourself permission to enjoy your break from work and do what is most important. Give yourself and your baby the gift of time.
Written for w2wlink.com