Pre-kids you could march into a boardroom and command attention, you could coordinate multinational projects and be the life and soul of the office. You could also do all of this with a smile on your face, a banging hangover and very little sleep. After kids, the only thing that’s the same is the very little sleep part… You’ve been out of the game for too long and the self doubt has crept in and the confidence has crept out.

This is inevitable. Before, work was your number one priority and what you did there and how you did it defined you. Now, a baby shaped hurricane has entered your world and pushed aside most other aspects of your life. Your brain is full of questions like ‘How many ozs of milk is baby having now?’ and ‘Did I pack the spare top in the nursery bag?’ Gone is the previously essential information such as; who to speak to in marketing when Denise is away and basically every password you’ve ever used. You can’t socialise with colleagues the way you used to as you have to dash straight home and the waistband of your trousers isn’t quite sitting right the way it used to. So how do you get your groove back?

Esther Stanhope ‘The Impact Guru’ (And busy working Mum) recommends you prioritise 3 things in your quest to get your confidence back when returning to work after maternity leave. She’s been there, twice, after leaving a fast paced celebrity studded workplace only to return 10 months later feeling ‘frumpy, dumpy and full of self-doubt’. Esther knows exactly what to do to find you again.

1) Prioritise You. You’ve probably heard this a thousand times but happy mum = happy baby. All we want is our children to be happy, but this doesn’t need to be at the expense of our own happiness. So put yourself first. Counterintuitively, putting your children’s needs first doesn’t make them happier. If you want to work, or progress in your career but you don’t for your children, it will make you stressed out, depressed, bored and damage your confidence even further. Being a Mum is hard enough without having to be a Mum who isn’t feeling fulfilled. So go for it - put yourself first guilt free!!

2) Prioritise Help. We’ve all met supermum ‘I’ve done 3 loads of laundry, cleaned the windows inside and out, had a kale smoothie, taken the girls swimming, baked a quiche and it’s only 9am and now I’m off to work.’ Good for her, we all wish we had her stamina but you know what, she’s not winning any awards for this. She is the only one holding herself to these ridiculously high standards.

Normal, mere-mortal Mums need help when returning to the world of work. Sort out child care or a cleaner and preferably both. Yes nurseries and childminders are eye wateringly expensive but they have to be seen as an investment. It’s a temporary step back in finances for the long term gain of earning more in the future. Similarly hiring a cleaner is an investment in your time. As a working mum you will be juggling so many plates, let someone else take at least one so that you can focus on the others. If you really can’t afford either then get resourceful. Find a group of mums in a similar position and have a childcare rota or cook for each other once a week.

3) Prioritise Time. No one’s time is more strained and precious than the working mothers. People not in charge of children, swan into the workplace with a coffee and a croissant, looking immaculate and have a little moan about the weather. Working mums burst into the workplace at least 10 minutes late (Despite having been up for at least 4 hours by this point…), sweating, hair and makeup everywhere, having driven all over town dropping kids at various childcare arrangements. But does it have to be like this?

Esther has turned many mothers lives around by advising them (from person experience) not to run meetings back to back - block in even just a few extra minutes before and after appointments or block out 60 minutes but schedule the meeting for only 45 minutes. This makes a world of difference because this turns you from ‘harassed mother’ into ‘Queen of the workplace’ as it gives you time to:
- Get there first, command the space and be in control.
- Make your meeting more succinct and impactful in the shorter 45 minutes.
- Go to the toilet and check hair and makeup.
- Breathe and come across as confident and in control.
(Just by breathing slowly for 45 seconds you can rid your body of cortisol – the stress hormone)

So when returning to work, make sure you prioritise You, Help and Time to show the workplace that you’ve got your groove back and you’re better than ever.

Remember - you’re still that person you used to be. She was awesome then and she’s awesome now!

To find out more about The Impact Guru and to watch Esther’s free video ‘tips to make you shine’ sign up at

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A former 'Live' BBC Producer, Esther's helped big personalities, international celebrities, and politicians radiate charisma & quickly engage with an audience (She's interviewed the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, and Alistair Campbell). She now helps global organisations win new business by bringing personality to their pitches and presentations. Clients include Deloitte, HSBC, Barclays, International law firm Squire Patton Boggs, FirstGroup and Mumsnet.

Esther also speaks at company away days, conferences and Women's Networking events. about personal impact, confidence and charisma. She's a regular at Mumsnet Workfest - helping women get their Mojo back when they want to get back to work and she's inspired 100's of women in business to raise their profile by speaking in front of audiences.
Check her out on Ch4's Celebrity Wife Swap