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Dealing With Failure: A Guide for Parents Returning to Work

Returning to work after a hiatus as a parent can be both exciting and challenging. As parents, we often strive for perfection, but setbacks and failures are an inevitable part of life. Instead of being discouraged by failure, we can choose to view it as an opportunity for growth and learning.


In this blog, we will explore effective strategies for dealing with failure as parents returning to work, helping you navigate the challenges and emerge stronger.


1: Redefine Success: Before embarking on your journey back to the workforce, take a moment to redefine what success means to you. Often, we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves, which can lead to disappointment when things don't go as planned. Embrace the idea that success is not solely defined by external achievements, but also by personal growth, balance, and well-being.


silhouette of lady with hand raised in victory against sunset

2: Embrace a Growth Mindset: Cultivating a growth mindset is essential for dealing with failure. Understand that setbacks are not indicators of incompetence but opportunities for improvement. View challenges as chances to learn new skills, gain experience, and develop resilience. Embrace the belief that with effort, perseverance, and a positive mindset, you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way.


3: Learn from Failure: When faced with failure, take the time to reflect on the experience. Identify what went wrong, what factors contributed to the setback, and what you can do differently next time. Embrace the lessons learned from failure and use them as stepping stones towards future success. Remember, failure is not the end; it's a valuable teacher guiding you toward growth and improvement.


4: Seek Support and Networking: Returning to work after a break can be overwhelming, but you're not alone. Reach out to support networks, such as friends, family, and other parents who have gone through similar experiences. Join professional groups or online communities, such as The Returners' Tribe, where you can connect with others facing similar challenges. Share your concerns, seek advice, and draw inspiration from their stories. Building a strong support system will help you gain perspective, stay motivated, and bounce back from failures more effectively.


5: Practice Self-Compassion: Parenting itself is a challenging role, and returning to work adds another layer of complexity. It's crucial to practice self-compassion when facing failure. Be kind to yourself, acknowledge that setbacks are a normal part of life, and avoid self-blame or negative self-talk. Treat yourself with the same empathy and understanding you would extend to a close friend. Remember, you're doing your best, and every step forward is a victory.


Learn from failure spelt out in wooden scrabble tiles

6: Set Realistic Goals: Setting realistic goals is essential to managing expectations and avoiding unnecessary pressure. Break down your larger career objectives into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate the small wins along the way, and remember that progress, no matter how small, is still progress. By focusing on attainable goals, you'll build momentum and experience a sense of accomplishment, even in the face of setbacks.


Returning to work as a parent can be a rewarding and transformative journey. By embracing failure as an opportunity for growth, adopting a growth mindset, seeking support, and practicing self-compassion, you can navigate the challenges with resilience and determination.


Remember, success is not measured solely by external accomplishments, but also by the lessons learned and personal development gained through the process. Embrace failure as a stepping stone on your path to success, and let it propel you forward toward a fulfilling career and a balanced life.


lady hiking along long winding path

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