Mums share advice for Stacey Solomon as she returns to work after giving birth

When you’re surviving on four hours sleep, wearing a milk-stained top and hoping both you and your bundle of joy can make it through a baby sensory class without crying, it’s hard to imagine heading back to the office.

Life has changed in so many ways – and yet, your place of work has rumbled on without you.

Presenter Stacey Solomon recently shared her own concerns about returning to work after maternity leave.

Since giving birth to her fifth child, Belle, in February, the 33-year-old has shared all too relatable content of the trials and tribulations of new motherhood.

Speaking in her latest video, she acknowledged the juggling act that new mums perform.

‘I’ve got my first job back next week so I just really want to get into good habits so it’s easier.

‘I can’t do work, [the] school run, the kids, breastfeeding, it’s just impossible,’ she said.

Her sentiments are echoed by Emma Roberts, 40, who is mum to, Jude, six, and knows the feeling of try to spin many, many, plates.

Emma, who is founder of Dear Mama, tells ‘I think as mothers, we forget that we aren’t superwomen, and we try to juggle so many things.’

Emma’s son, Jude, was born early at 24 weeks, and is severely disabled. At the time, she was working as a nanny and sleep trainer. She explains: ‘I felt so guilty going back to work, but I had to for my own mental health.

‘But it was hard having so many things to think about. As mums, it’s becomes easy to let life run away with us, and before we know it we are shattered and finding it hard to function. It can easily lead to burn out.’

With that in mind, Emma says her top tip for Stacy would be to prioritise self-care.

‘I have to be very aware of looking after myself,’ she explains.

‘I make sure that every day I take time to walk my dog, I have a monthly massage and I plan things to look forward to. 

‘I would tell Stacy – and all mums – to take the opportunities to eat well, relax, sleep, and spend time with you the people we love.’

Her sentiments are echoed by Stacy Moore, 42, who is a psychologist and mum to two boys, aged 10 and four.

She says: ‘Just because you might feel a sense of freedom when you’ve dropped the kids off at nursery or school, remember time for work is not the same as time for ‘you’.

‘This needs to be factored in. I made the mistake of thinking my schedule was sorted as I had childcare arranged to allow me to go to work, but then would come home to my other full time job of childcare – and was still doing night feeds.

‘We need to input time for ourselves too – even it’s just once per week. Reflect honestly on what your weekly timetable demands and see what might need to shift. Without any reasonable rest, burnout can easily take hold.

‘And don’t forget to take your annual leave! You can do it all in one go or use a few days each week over a longer time period to be able to ease yourself back in.’

And when it comes to overcoming imposter syndrome, Stacy recommends taking a trip down your career memory line.

She says: ‘Reread your CV, and remind yourself of all you have achieved professionally before becoming a mum. It’s always more than we immediately recall.

‘We can so often be focused on what we have missed, but finding a way to feel more confident about our skillset, previous transitions, and what we have to offer the workplace is good practice.’

Stacy says mums can easily fall into the trap of being ‘grateful’ to be wanted back by their employer – but we need to shift that mindset.

She says: ‘Reviewing your CV reminds you what an incredible professional you are at your core.

‘And we need that reminder in the transition phase, because there will inevitably be a few wobbles with us having to remember (or train in new) work systems and processes.’

Mum-of-one Jasmine Marsh, 31, also says it’s important to remember that your priorities will change when you return to work.

When Jasmine returned to her job in publishing after having Esme, two, she couldn’t initially be as present at work as she once was.

She explains: ‘A big shift for me in the early days was that I suddenly had to call in sick more – whether that was because I was ill, Esme was ill, or both.’

Jasmine says she struggled with feeling guilty. ‘It’s a phase everyone goes through, but the first couple of times I called in sick, I felt really awkward and guilty – especially as it was so soon after returning.

‘I tried to juggle working whilst taking care of her, but it just didn’t work, so ultimately I had to take care of what was most important, which was Esme.

‘You can’t be ill yourself, have an ill baby and work at the same time, but if you’re guilty of that, you need to give yourself a break.

‘If you’re not well, nothing else works!’

Another key piece of advice is that maintaining a work life balance is more important than ever before.

Lucy Baker, 47, has three children aged 13, 10 and four, and says for her, this tip was a game changer.

She says: ‘Put boundaries in place. Make sure you know what you can cope with and be clear with those around you – including your employer, suppliers, clients, family, childcare provider – what those boundaries are.

‘Write them down. Print it out and stick on your office wall.’

Lucy says defined boundaries can only help you. She adds: ‘I didn’t do this with my first two children, but it’ll make your work life so much easier, and the transition back to work so much better.’ 

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