The Back-at-work Blues & 5 Ways to Cheat it

No matter how ‘fun’ your job is, the first days back at work, after a relaxing time off, can be difficult.

Typically, motivation and productivity are low.

For some of us, the idea of hours straight without the children after so long starts with a ‘yes’ feeling. But as you watch the hundreds of emails roll in and the piles of paperwork awaiting you become visible, you may start to sing a different tune.

Use these tips to bounce back after any holiday, particularly those romantic getaways, the type where you actually got rest and relaxation on (or maybe not that much rest… wink wink).

 

Return to work mid-week

I call this the ‘easing-yourself-in-gently’ technique.

Starting back at work on any day apartfrom Monday, makes the week a little bit shorter.

It also gives you a chance to get back into the work routine and temperament, slowly.

 

Do the hard stuff first

Thanks to human nature, we all want to do the things we enjoy doing most, first. Then you procrastinate about the more annoying stuff, and subconsciously hope it goes away. Most times it doesn’t go away.

The work we like to procrastinate about is boring, monotonous, not to our strengths or just not fun to do. When I was in corporate world, the hard stuff included things like: doing my time sheets (I did client work), archiving work that had been done (involved chasing people), speaking to the client to chase my requests (who else hates bothering other people?).

Well, apparently we should save ourselves the hassle by doing the harder or more boring work, first!

 

Make a list

Create a to-do list. Tick things off your handwritten (preferably) to-do list. You’ll feel like you’re getting things done.

The mind is a powerful tool!

 

Don’t over estimate/ over stretch yourself

Get realistic and work it out, realistically, how much you can get done in those first few days? And then concentrate on doing a good job on those three of four tasks. Only three or four.

If you try to out-do yourself, you might get overwhelmed in the process. I for one hate a long to do list. Apparently, by concentrating on those few tasks that are achievable or that progress can be made on, you get a more satisfying feeling.

 

Schedule a treat

It could be ice-cream, your favourite meal, a catch-up with friends or TV – plan an end-of-the-week treat.

Schedule something for the end of the week, so you have something to look forward to. This will help you stay motivated and make getting to the end as productively as you can, even more worth it (hopefully).

 

Bonus point – just allow yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. Do your best!

It is totally normal to go in the first couple of days and just not be ‘feeling it’. Do not feel bad. Dust off the guilt; chances are your boss (or employees) feel exactly the same way you do.

The objective is to get through the day and if you achieve a few things along the way, too (you will, you will), then GOOD!

Ladies, even reading this now, In January, after my first two weeks back at work has been a lesson. I’m actually already feeling like I need another couple of days of TLC. I have had a cough, now getting a cold, but mehn, things can only get better!

 

 How did you deal with getting back to work after summer holidays or even the long Sallah weekend just passed? What tricks did you use?

Women Supporting Women is Not Always Easy

 

I wrote a shorter version of this post on friendships and success for anyone who has wanted to support a friend making career progressions, but had to deal with their own emotions first. I have been there before, so it came from the heart. Here goes:

Ok, let’s talk truths, there are times when you feel ‘some kinda way’ about your friend’s career achievements because you haven’t gotten to your own place of fulfilment yet, career wise.

I have been there.

After university, when some of my friends were getting top grad jobs, in big renowned organisations, I was still figuring out my next plan. I was sending out CV’s, applying to far away cities, anything to get my leg in the door. I really should have applied and tried to secure internships after my first and second year, but somehow I had convinced myself that everything would be OK. I had been so worried about the future in those years, it made me nervous to even put in the beginning stages of preparation, by trying to get an internship.

I paid for those nerves during my first year as graduate with no job. Once I got a rejection email from a careers fair! Careers fair where you meet employers 😂😭😭. That was not a happy moment.

In those days, I would hear my friends happy career news – it started with job, then next promotion, and my first human emotion was a twinge of hurt about my own situation; I still didn’t have a job.

That experience taught me that you do have to accept this hurt (the human emotion itself is not a bad thing), but you do not have to entertain it (that’s when you throw yourself a pity party and sit at the party for months). I did not do that.

I found it in me to be happy about their news, (if you want it to come it will come) and celebrate with them, like I knew I would want when my time came.

My time came, I got that great job and they celebrated with me too!

But now, I understand the emotions of waiting for your own.

I understand the psychological battles and the warfare going on in your head when you go to celebrate with your firiends, while still worried about your current situation and what your future situation will look like.

So, if you feel like your friend who is not quite ‘there’ yet’, in that career building position she wants to be, is being a bit ‘off’ with you, and you think it might be because they are not in that place that maybe you have come into: be patient, be tolerant, and sensitive, if you can. But remember, nobody wants pity.

And to friend who is not there yet: find it in you to celebrate, you would want the same too. It helps to keep thinking about that.

Women supporting women is not always a candy floss party, as some instagram posts will have you believe. It can be hard and demand from us, what feels like too-much emotionally. But it’s a two way street that can be very rewarding, too, when you’re getting the support & celebration.

I am a Woman Supporter, but it’s not a perfect story! This is one story that illustrates the tensions involved in being a woman supporter.

 

How do you deal with success when friends are not supportive? Or have you been in the position where you had to support your friends but it was difficult because you were still waiting on your ‘own’? Maybe you or someone you know is going through this?

Please share details in the comments below. 

 

Mummy Blogger or Back-to-work for a New Mum?

Let’s start from 2014, the old blog…

When I started writing a mummy blog (the old and now deleted one), it was different. As a new Mum, I was trying to avoid a situation where I could potentially be annoying my friends with daily updates about my baby.

I was obsessed, like any new mum, and seemed to have so many stories to share about my new adventure.

Admittedly, these were not stories about war and bravery, but to me, they were far from boring.

Every little smile was exciting; every new day survived on 3 hours of sleep with multiple feeds and nappy changes in between, was a mountain climbed, every shower – an achievement.

Anyway, I am sure you can understand why I decided to write posts, rather than send messages to my whatsapp groups, about baby. It can be hard to judge clearly, what is adorable versus what is simply ‘adorable to-you’ because, you know, it’s your baby.

Another reason I was writing? I am that person who’s always found it cathartic to write.

Being a new mum can be overwhelming, and that’s an understatement. The weight of the responsibility, the sleeplessness (is that even a word?), the steep learning curve as you’re getting to know baby. In this new world of parenting, I found writing gave me a sense of pride, joy, and achievement (outside of mummy life). Plus the posts were a reminder about all the wonderful things my baby and I were doing.

I was quite content, then this happened…

 

A light bulb moment for me

I was at the bank and that day, the guy at the bank wanted to update all my information. Since, I had nowhere else to be urgently – I think baby was fast asleep being watched by my Mum and I was good for another hour or so, before it was milking time again. I said OK.

He asked questions and I answered, then he got to the part about what I do.

I said I was on maternity leave – in my head this was correct, but he was not satisfied.

“When are you returning to work?” said Mr Banker clerk.

“I’m not sure”.

“Ok, so right now you don’t have a job.”

“No”.

I kept thinking, mummy blogger, I blog. I had been spending hours documenting my journey through motherhood so others can learn and not make the same mistakes I made. Maybe even just one person? But the word refused to come out.

He then said: “would it be fair to say you’re unemployed?”

I found myself nodding. Even though a big voice in me said “No, I reject it”. Haha – it’s the Nigerian ex-Redeemer in me.

“So I’ll put unemployed down here”. The banking clerk was still talking.

I managed a low, almost whispered ‘yes’.

What am I doing – I thought to myself. And so there it was. The man at the bank confirmed what I had struggled to admit to myself at the time. I was unemployed and I needed to decide if I was actually going back to the financial world or really, seriously try my hand at Blogging as a career.

 

Time to do some thinking – looking back at finance

It was time to face the reality and start thinking about my future career.

I had been interviewing in my old industry – finance, but did I really want to change the wheels and do something radical, different? What was stopping me? Beyond the job interviews (I am coming back to talk about this!), where was I going to lay the roots of my next career?

Twelve months before that, I had left my old job, complete with clear career progression path. I left out of sheer arrogance (I see that now) and determination to find myself something that I was passionate about and loved to do. I remember meeting the Head of HR to explain my decision to go. ‘Nothing lined up yet – very unusual’, so she asked me time and time again…

‘what are you doing, what are you doing, take unpaid leave?’ (a learning point – I should have taken the unpaid leave option, just to have. Or maybe not?).

I wanted to go somewhere I fitted in. Somewhere I could do my job and not feel like I had to wear a mask. I did not like smart casual clothes,  hated heels (not compulsory, but when you’re young and managing people, meeting top Executives, it helps). It seemed like was time to go somewhere I could see people who I could aspire to. People who looked like me.

I said a firm ‘no’ to Ms HR.

Decision time – mummy blogger or no?

Now back to reality, I really had a chance to do all I had said I wanted to do. Something really different.

The bank clerk probably just thought he was doing his job, filling a form, but he forced me to admit something. I needed to make a decision to either do the professional job or take seriously the new route. The new could mean being: unrecognised, unrewarded, unpaid (initially at least) and possibly unsatisfied.

That was how over the next few days, I gave myself permission**, to put everything I can, into an area that is so important but the world has become accustomed to telling us is a side-job.

It’s seen as something to do and quickly return to life and work as you know it. Something to fit into your ‘real’ life. But many of us in it know that once you become a Mother, your world changes forever, and navigating that journey becomes a whole new WORLD of its own. You put in support, you delegate where you can, but even when your child is sleeping well, you don’t sleep the same ever again. And if you’re like me, you have this quest, this fire in you, to parent the best way you can. You need tools, you need other Mums (and they need you too), you need clear reliable information. Could I build something?

That day , I somehow decided I was going to mother and I was going to empower other mums too, in their parenting journey.

Mummyfix – the new blog

It’s two and a half years later.  This blog is about doing what I described above. I do have a lot to share (built up from my days of writing) and a lot to learn from you. I’m hoping we will talk and share honestly, our experiences on the parenting hot topics and other topics, too.

There’s other Mummy bloggers and websites, what is different about Mummyfix? It is a community for young Nigerian (and African) Mums at home in Nigeria or abroad.

At first, I thought I was going to just be giving out information. 500 posts on Instagram later, I realised I was gaining a lot of insights from other mums – helpful tips, profound stories. I was gaining friends and online friends. I figured out that Mummyfix is really a collective sharing space for talking about all the difficult, fun, fulfilling, tiring, rewarding days of parenting and life.

 

More from me?

Apart from the regular blog posts, there’s:

(for direct links, hover over parts in italics)

free downloadable guides  – I carefully prepare these based on my experience and official research (click the link for baby shopping list, weaning guide etc)

mummyfix Instagram page – I share videos, other mum stories and ask questions about parenting.

mummyfix circle Facebook page –  A closed page for you to ask parenting questions and we solve them together.

New parent pro course – I prepared a free course with key information on 7 hot topics for new mums. Please email me if you want to join the course.

I will also put in a new tab for early learning, because I talk about it a lot! In the meantime, if that interests you too, check out PoPP Lagos.

I’m glad you’re still here.. I promise, my regular posts are shorter!

I hope you spend some time discovering, reading & sharing  your own nuggets of wisdom too!

If you enjoyed my story or specific posts, share with friends using the button below.

ps: Please share with me below, where in the world you are and the type of posts you’ll be looking out for on the blog. Welcome friends :).

 

 

** with the support & permission of my family, of course! But initially I slept over it, prayed over it etc.

***I ended up going back to work in a new field- early education, but that’s a topic for another day.