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Making a ‘Mum-back’ to the Office

…because ‘comeback’ doesn’t sound epic enough all things considering

I’m preparing to return to the office shortly. While I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, the idea of being back at work is a little daunting. Making a mum-back to work is never easy after an extended period of time on maternity leave.

In this two part ‘mum-back’ series, I reflect on the things I wish I knew the first time around.

Click here to read Part 2.

You will feel guilty leaving your child

…and it will never completely go away, but it does become less intense after the first few weeks. Things can be especially hard if your child is clingy at day care drop offs and loses it when you leave leaving this gut-wrenching feeling with you until mid-morning.

I remember the guilt hitting me really hard a few days into my return to work after having my first. I called the day care centre between meetings and they reassured me that my son stopped crying after about 10 minutes and I was completely fine for the rest of the day. It’s the new norm and you have to learn to steel yourself in those initial days.

You’ll lose your style confidence

The realisation that I had “lost myself” in motherhood hit me the hardest when it came to my style. Gone was the woman who would browse through David Jones and spend her last penny on Russh magazine and full price Zimmermann. Somewhere between my second trimester and being eight months post-partum, I lost the joy that I got from fashion. My body had completely changed and my designer wardrobe no longer fit me.

This took some time to rebuild – and the process of finding my style confidence inspired the birth of this blog and my Instagram. I will dedicate a whole blog post to this soon but in short, I realised the importance of building a wardrobe of great quality classics.

You’ll start to really enjoy adult interaction again

Do you know what’s one of the best things about going back to work? A conversation where you’re not discussing feeding, sleep patterns and developmental milestones. Hallelujah! Don’t get me wrong, I talk with my fellow mum and dad friends about all these things all the time – and find it important to as well – but it does get tiring when it becomes the sole focus of conversations… which can be often.  It can make you a little stir crazy after a while and I personally craved conversations with people who didn’t just see me as a mum.

The juggle is real

Gone are those flexible working hours where you message your partner to say you’re stuck in a meeting and you’ll be an hour late home. Day care drop offs and picks ups are shared between my husband and I so there is little flexibility to stay back a bit later to finish something off or if a meeting goes over.

When I returned to work after having my first, I became very efficient during office hours. Having the ability to log on from home also made this easier for me as I could leave on time but would log on remotely after the kids were in bed to finish off a few things.

If anything, having kids makes you more efficient both in the home and in general.

You may feel the need to prove yourself all over again

Not the most encouraging of thoughts, but it can feel that you need to show your worth again and that you are pulling your weight. Workplaces have certainly improved in supporting women coming back to work and we have much to be thankful for to those women who have gone before us (I’m thinking in particular of a woman who was a senior partner at my firm with three young kids – M.L. – who was a leader in modernising the firm’s return to work, working from home and parental leave arrangements).

It can be a bit of a jolt to the system being back in the office but you need to give yourself a bit of credit for all the hard work that you have previously put in to get you where you are, and be confident that you’ll find your feet again quickly.

I really struggled in the first few days of my return to remain focused and concentrate on tasks. I essentially had to teach myself to concentrate again before I felt like my normal working self.

Having said that – don’t kill yourself trying. If you burn the candle at both ends, it’ll be that much harder to get back to your best.

It’s as much for you as it is for the family

Personally, I found being at home could feel relentless. Sometimes it seemed the results of my efforts each day weren’t as tangible as when I was sitting behind my desk.  In fact, if parenting and work were equated, sometimes having a shower and going to the bathroom undisturbed seems comparable to work worthy of promotion.

But as I type this, I know that being full time at home with my youngest is running out and I need to remind myself how beneficial it was for me to go back to work after my first. Work gives me an added sense of purpose. I personally find it very satisfying to use my law brain in the office – in turn making me a happier and better mum when I’m at home. If you’re anything like me, you busted your gut at university and put in those long hours at the office to progress in your career. So, it’s nice to feel like you’re pursuing that path again for yourself, as well as making a broader contribution for the family.

Click here to read part 2 of my ‘Mum-back’ series.

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Dress (here)

Coat (here and here | similar here, here and here)

Heels (sold out | similar here, here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

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Navy & Grey

It’s been sad to hear the recent news of the closure of Karen Millen’s operations in Australia by the end of the month. I am a huge fan of Karen Millen’s tailored pieces that have become workwear favourites of mine and I bought those pieces at the Karen Millen boutique shopfronts. Even more surprising was the news that Karen Millen’s global business was unable to secure a buyer and that they’ve separately sold their online business arm to Boohoo. Whaaaaat? An odd pairing if you ask me. I’m not quite sure what a fast fashion brand will do with a label synonymous for tailoring on the high street and I will certainly be following that progress.  The state of retail is a bit dismal at the moment!

I’m wearing my trusty Carla Zampatti navy jacket here which I’ve had for almost 6 years now (totally justified the cost per wear), Cecilie Copenhagen top that I purchased from Incu, Karen Millen grey pencil skirt, Louboutin Degraspikes and Celine belt bag.

Thanks for stopping by.

Shop my outfit

Blazer (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Top (colour sold out, same style in black here)

Skirt (here)

Heels (sold out)

Bag (here, here and here)

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Camel & Black

I’m due to return back to work soon after my second stint of maternity leave. I’m trying my very best to savour my limited time at home with our youngest but if I’m honest, I’m feeling very unsettled about the changes that are about to happen and have had moments where I’ve struggled to keep it together. Getting him ready for day care, getting myself mentally ready to go back to the office, preparing myself to balance both work and home life – it’s quite a transition. Having done it all before, I’m hoping it will be easier the second time round.  I’d love to hear from any other working mums out there as to how they managed the transition.

I’ve spent the majority of my time at home in knits (and trackies… don’t judge!) and I’m not quite ready to part with them yet! Thankfully, I find knits seamlessly work with the corporate pieces in my wardrobe.

At the moment, I’m loving camel and black paired together and am looking to incorporate more camel/terracotta into my wardrobe.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Knit (H&M – similar here and here)

Skirt (from Cue (sold out) – similar here, here and here)

Mules (here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

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How I Avoid Mindless Casual Dressing


I’ll be the first to admit that I very easily slipped into mindless casual dressing once I was on maternity leave. In my defence, I started my leave when I was 38 weeks pregnant and the size of a house, so sack dresses were the only thing that fit me but once baby left the building, I pretty much gave up on being any form of stylish. You know the drill – tracksuits, oversized (and pilled) varsity hoodies, activewear (with no intention of exercising).

It is so easy to get into a funk when you’re at home for extended periods but having now had two stints of maternity leave, I know firsthand how looking a little polished can really lift your spirits on what can be a monotonous day.

Put in a little effort

It doesn’t matter if you’re just dropping the kids off at school or making a quick run to the shops, if you’re in public you should be thoughtfully dressed. Even if you spend the majority of time at home (ahem I’m speaking to you stay at home parents and freelancers), you should still put a bit of effort into your outfit.

Besides – putting together a casual outfit isn’t really that much harder than pulling on your trackie dacks and a hoodie – but you’ll feel a million times better.

Add some structure

I like to include at least one structured piece – like a pair of jeans or a button up shirt – I find it makes me look more polished. My goal is to still look comfortable and cool, even if I just rolled out of bed!

I make the effort to get out of the house daily with my youngest, usually just a walk to the shops to grab a few groceries or to pick up our older boys from school and daycare.

Take this outfit I’m wearing here – a pair of jeans and a simple knit – which is how I’ve typically pitched my looks whilst being on maternity leave. To spruce up my outfit, I’ve accessorised with a pair of leather boots that are flat and comfortable for our daily walks.  These particular boots are made in a variety of calf sizes, from narrow to wide. I’m wearing the Kestrel style in cigar brown leather, which is cut lower on the leg (so perfectly suited to the vertically challenged like yours truly).

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Knit jumper (similar here)

Jeans (here | similar here, here and here)

Boots (here)

Baby carrier (here)

Baby (not for sale ;))

Thank you to Duoboots who kindly gifted me these boots. 

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Monday Blues

Wearing Scanlan Theodore jacket, Dion Lee skirt, Chanel boy bag and Vince Camuto heels

We had a lovely weekend – a picnic in the park with the kids, a trip into town to have lunch by the harbour and a date night with my husband. I’m now feeling energised for the week ahead!

This is – hands down – my favourite jacket to wear to work. For those not acquainted with Scanlan Theodore‘s magical crepe knit, it’s a heavyweight knit that is form-fitting, structured but extremely comfortable to wear. I love how the peplum detail adds a feminine touch to an otherwise minimal jacket.

I find it so easy to style. I’ve got the matching skirt (which features regularly on my Instagram feed) but it also goes with brighter pieces as well as denim for the perfectly balanced Casual Friday look.

Have a great week folks!

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Jacket (here)

Skirt (old season | similar here and here)

Heels (old season | similar here)

Bag (here | similar here and here)

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Puff & Lace

The sun is setting later and the days are getting warmer – Spring is certainly in the air! It is almost time to pack away the thick knits and coats… not that I used them much this winter!

I’m preparing to go back to work soon after my second stint of maternity leave so I’ve been using my return date as a deadline to get all our home organisation and storage sorted. We managed a trip to Ikea today and didn’t do too much damage with the impulse purchasing! Our local Ikea (in Tempe in Sydney) is 2.5km from entry to exit. Retail therapy? Tick. Cardio? Tick!

I shared this outfit on my Instagram a couple of weeks ago and I am loving how this ivory textured top can be styled for both the office and weekend. The subtle puff of the shoulders and delicate pattern adds a touch of femininity and playfulness.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Zara top (here | similar here)

Skirt – Christopher Esber (old season | similar here, here and here)

Mules (here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

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