Welcome to the SA chapter of the Mindful Return Maternity (Parental) Leave Course
You don’t have to choose between being a good mother and building your career
The Mindful Return Maternity Leave Course sets you up for success and gives you the tools to confidently navigate going back to work after baby. (Yes, even in this post-pandemic world.)
What goes through your mind as you sit in your new-born’s nursery / your bed (for co-sleeping parents) at 2 am?
How hard will it be to be apart from my new baby when I go to work for the first time, especially post pandemic?
How will I manage juggling hybrid work requirements with a new-born?
Will I be able to fall back into the same rhythm at work after being out on maternity leave?
What if I’m working from home with my child, and my co-workers hear or see my baby? What will people think of me?
Will my baby feel abandoned, and will we lose out on this bonding time together after I go back to work?
Should I go back to work fully (if I have the option), or ease back in, or use hybrid work options if available?
Am I really cut out to do this whole working mom thing?
These thoughts are completely normal.
After all, you have just been through the single biggest life-changing experience. You created life. And now, you’re tasked with figuring out how to balance your old patterns with caring for a new bundle of joy.
This is a beautiful time, but if you’re like most moms, you have some (or a lot of) anxiety over what the future holds.
Know that you are not alone, mama. The secret to facing or silencing these fears and gearing up to return to the office lies in how you prepare for your new role as a working mom. We’re here to help.
Introducing: Mindful Return
Mindful Return is a programme designed specifically for working (inside or outside the home) parents who have gone through the transformative experience of having a child. Sound like you?
This programme will leave you feeling calmer, empowered and more connected than ever before. Through it you’ll feel encouraged and inspired to start this exciting new journey. You’ll learn how to negotiate for flexibility at work, plan complex logistics and manage the anxiety that comes with juggling your different roles. Throughout it all, you’ll be surrounded by a community of other working moms ready to offer insight and answer questions.
This Mindful Return SA Chapter is tailored for working moms based in SA.
To join the global course, go to the global course page. Check out the FAQ below to help you decide which course suits you best.
It’s a powerful experience you can’t get anywhere else.
It starts here!
Sign up for the Mindful Return weekly email list and get our free guide, 99 Questions to Ask Yourself Before, During, and After Maternity Leave.
“As I complete the course modules, from one day to the next, I feel more empowered and confident. I started this course feeling very much out of the loop work-wise. I felt like I would be out of my depth on my return to work. I genuinely am in a very different head space now.”
-Aneesa, first-time-mom, lawyer
So much more than an online class
Mindful Return is more than just an e-course. Yes, we help you iron out the inevitable wrinkles that go along with returning from parental leave, but there’s so much more here.
Created by working moms
Mindful Return SA was created by three working moms, Lori Mihalich-Levin, Stormme Hobson, and Noloyiso (“Nolo”) Tlali.
Lori, a Washington, DC-based lawyer, and mom of two, founded Mindful Return in 2014 after her first-hand experience of the challenges that come with returning to work after maternity leave.
Lori and Stormme “e-met” while Stormme was on her own journey to find resources dedicated to supporting working mothers. Stormme and Nolo have known each other since completing legal articles together and reconnected as mothers balancing parenting and work life as employees and subsequently as entrepreneurs. The idea of creating a dedicated course for the SA community felt like the obvious next step.
Using their personal and professional experience of working motherhood, Stormme and Nolo adapted the course for SA, and they now lead Mindful Return SA.
The SA chapter launched in May 2022.
A community of support
In addition to receiving expert guidance from Stormme, Nolo, and Lori, you’ll also be inspired by the community of other moms who have walked or are walking in your shoes. Ask private questions. Get real answers. Having other working moms to lean on for support will leave you feeling like it’s possible to lead, grow and thrive in your new role!
“I took the course because I was worried about how my return to work would affect my six-month old baby and how I would cope with both home and office work. I am happy to say that the course was (and continues to be) super helpful: The course content, pace and questions are truly well thought out.
Professionally, I’ve gained so much insight on the valuable transferable skills motherhood is equipping me with, so I feel empowered and more confident about returning to work as an improved worker (not liability). I also greatly value the long-term strategies I’ve picked up for navigating the complexities of returning to work after maternity leave.
Personally the awareness that I’m not alone (thank you fellow Mindful Return Mamas!) has been hugely helpful. The opportunities to interact via the thoughtful questions and/or calls to action after each lesson have helped me make more decisive actions and stay motivated throughout the four-week course – as opposed to solo/self-paced online tutorials.
I feel like this course should be more widely advertised to ensure that more returning-to-work mothers are aware of it. It’s really valuable. Thank you so much Lori and Anya!”
(Chibi T., Research Scientist, and first-time mom to a six-month old)
What you get
Mindful Return is a four-week online class that you can take in your athleisure wear or robe and while nursing your new-born. It’s designed for your lifestyle during maternity leave, which means we keep things casual, comfortable, and convenient while helping you build your confidence and maintain a calm mindset.
After the four weeks, you’ll be able to:
Get into the right state-of-mind to have a calm, peaceful experience when returning to work
Brainstorm practical solutions to all those worrisome logistics
Turn your maternity leave into a leadership opportunity at work
Enter a supportive community of new mamas who are returning to work around the same time as you
In addition, here are the classes you’ll get access to:
1. How to Return to Work with Confidence
2. Working with a Mindset of Gratitude
3. Adopting a New Perspective
4. Coping with Overwhelm & Anxiety
5. Baby Steps Toward Self-Care
6. Building Good Relationships with Your Childcare Provider
7. Understanding Work Flexibility
8. Sick Days, Snow Days, and the Land of the Unexpected
9. Nourishing Your Baby – Breastfeeding, Expressing, Formula and Beyond
10. Putting Food on the Table
11. Using Your Leave as a Leadership Tool
12. Grow Your Team
13. Focus on Your New Skills
14. Set an Example
15. Avoiding Isolation
16. Creating and Living in Community
17. Build Your Community: In-Person and Online Options
18. Your Village: Partners and Parents and In-Laws
19. Sharing Good News
20. Keeping the Course Alive
Choose your session – SA course
Note that the course price of R3000/person will appear in USD ($199) on the course registration page. This amount will be converted directly to Rand when you enter your credit card.
[Also: To join the global course, rather than the South Africa Chapter, register via the global course page.]
“It’s no secret new parents are pushed for time. But if you’re wanting to get started on your job successfully after you come back from maternity leave, then Anya and Lori will help you. Taking this course is a great option for every parent. It gives you confidence and provides recommendation for any problem you might come across during your new life with a baby. I took this course during my second maternity and it was also very helpful. I wish I had known about this course before.” (Alina, mom of a four-month-old and a six-year-old, hotelier executive)
At R3000/person, Mindful Return costs about the same as a 90-minute massage or an hour of therapy, and the results last much, much longer. Participation includes:
Indefinite access to (1) all the course materials, and (2) private Facebook and LinkedIn Mindful Return Alumnae groups.
A 15% coupon for your partner to sign up for this SA course for working moms or the global course for working dads. Or use it for a friend and buy a second Mindful Return course at a discount, perhaps to give as a baby shower gift?
Many employers cover the cost of the Mindful Return courses! Ask yours if Mindful Return is part of your employee benefit package. (And if it isn’t, ask if it can be added. We can help you make the case.)
Know you’d benefit from this course but have financial hardship? Please fill out and submit the Mindful Return Financial Assistance Application to be considered for a full or partial scholarship for our upcoming programs.
If you have any additional questions, please e-mail Stormme Hobson at email@example.com and/or Noloyiso Tlali at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I learned how to view my maternity leave as an opportunity to learn new skills as a mother and apply them to my job.”
Lori wrote the book on returning to work after maternity leave
This book is available for you to read while waiting for your baby to arrive or during a marathon nursing session.
Dig into the pages to learn more about the intricacies of life as a working parent, so you can feel better prepared and more confident in your new role.
When should I take this course? When I’m pregnant or in the process of adopting? On parental leave? Back at work?
The mamas who have taken this course say the best time to take it is when you are out on leave, three to six months before your planned return date. That said, anytime is a great time to dive in. The course helps pregnant women, and women who are in the thick of the adoption process, to prepare, and it helps mamas who are already back at work to survive the chaos. When in doubt, sign up for the earliest session you think makes sense, and you can always take a later session at no additional cost.
If you are currently pregnant or getting ready to adopt a baby, learning and getting ready now will help you plan ahead and give you a support network to make your return less daunting. If you are already on leave – but perhaps trying to avoid thinking about going back – now is the time to get some reassurance that you can do this in a peaceful, radiant way. And if you’re already back, you could probably use some extra positive voices helping you get through the day. This course is for all of you. Check out the course testimonials to see how mamas at each stage describe their experience with the course.
What if I’ve already read Lori’s book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave? Will I still get anything out of the course?
Yes. Both the book and the course cover similar material and focus on the same four themes: mindful mindset, logistics, leadership, and community. There are important differences, though. Key features of the online course that are not found in the book are: (1) writing and journaling prompts at the end of each lesson, to encourage you to dig deep into the material; (2) the amazingly supportive community of other new working mamas who you’ll meet during the course; and (3) the SA course contains revised and additional materials specific to the SA that are not mentioned in the book. There is also additional reading material in the book that is not included in the course.
Does it matter how long my maternity leave was?
No. The lessons in this course will be helpful, whether you took six weeks off, six months, or a year.
What is the difference between the U course and the global course? Which one shall I take? Can I change between the SA and global courses?
We very much believe that both courses are universally applicable. The Global course has moms joining the course from all over. Lori Mihalich-Levin (the course founder) and a course alumna moderate the course from the US. The SA course is co-authored and co-moderated by Lori from Washington DC and by Stormme and Nolo from Johannesburg, SA. Closely following the structure and wisdom of the global course, the SA course reflects the legal and practical aspects of being a working mum in SA (e.g., parental leave, flexible working, or breastfeeding at work), it refers to SA-based resources and creates an SA -wide community. So, if you are based in SA or are moving to SA soon, or your leave policies are closer to the SA approach of statutory parental leave, the SA Chapter is for you. Otherwise, register for the global course.
If you are joining the course through your employer, you can choose whichever course is more suitable for you, irrespective of where your employer is headquartered. If you are moving countries through employment, you can switch at any time. If in doubt or if you have already signed up for one course and want to move to the other one, contact Lori at email@example.com, Stormme at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Nolo at email@example.com.
This isn’t my first return to work after maternity leave. Will I still get anything out of this course?
Absolutely. Every return is different, and perhaps there things that could go better for you the second time around. Case in point: After Lori had her first baby, her return went relatively smoothly; after her second, she had the feeling that 1 child + 1 child = 85 children…and that’s when she thought she was drowning.
It was her second return that inspired her to create this course. If this isn’t your first return, you’re invited to join the community as a voice of experience – you will have great tips to add to those in the lessons. Find out what second-time-around mamas have to say about the course here.
How much time should I plan to spend per day on the course?
Once the course starts, it’s recommended that you spend about 15-30 minutes a day reviewing the course material and answering the prompts. You can easily spend more time reading your fellow mamas responses and responding to their comments, but about 20 minutes will ground you in the material. That said, this course is for you – to do at your own pace, and work as you are able. The more you put into the course, the more you get out.
Is there a particular time of day I need to log in to the course? And can I participate from a mobile device?
Any time of day is a good time to log in, read the lessons, and see what other mamas are writing. And yes, the private and secure online platform used for the course (Ruzuku) is accessible via mobile devices. Whether you log in during your commute at the beginning of the day, while your newborn is napping, or while you’re feeding your little one in a rocking chair at 3am, chances are, another mama will be following along with you, posting comments at the same time!
Will I hear from anyone else during the course?
Lori is the author of the majority of the course content. Stormme and Nolo adapted the course for SA and authored several lessons. You will also have several brilliant opportunities along the way to hear from some fantastic guest teachers who bring decades of expertise as mothers and professionals.
The following inspiring women graciously share their writing and advice in the course:
- Sarah Rudell Beach, Executive Director of Brilliant Mindfulness LLC and author of the Left Brain Buddha Blog
- Shawn Fink, founder of The Abundant Mama Project
- Dr Megan Hughes-Feltenberger, clinical psychologist
- Alexandra Hughes, Life and Leadership Coach for Mothers
- Amy Jacobsohn, leadership coach
- Dr Coleen Kivlahan, family medicine physician and Professor in the Department of Family Community Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine
- Kristin Lane, Assistant Director at KinderHaus Child Development Center
- Dr Kerry O’Brien, biology teacher at St. Albans School
My schedule is so unpredictable – what if I fall behind with the lessons?
This course is designed with the chaos of a working mum’s life in mind. It’s easy to pick up where you left off and go at your own pace. The weekends are always good times to get caught up, too, because there are no new lessons on weekends.
Will I have access to the course materials after the course is over?
Yes! You will have indefinite access to the course materials, on our course’s private Ruzuku page. There will also be an opportunity to stay in touch with your fellow returning mamas after the course is over.
How much does the course cost, and what methods of payment do you accept?
Joining one of the SA sessions of the four-week, 20 lesson course costs R3000. All major credit cards are accepted for payment (in all currencies) through the Ruzuku course website using Stripe (like PayPal, only easier to use). Though the course price will appear in USD ($199), it will be converted to Rand when you enter your credit card. If you know the course would help you, but find yourself struggling financially, contact Stormme at firstname.lastname@example.org or Nolo at email@example.com to discuss financial assistance options.
Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here? E-mail Stormme and/or Nolo directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Choose your session – SA course
Stay in touch
Even if you’re not ready to sign up for Mindful Return yet, we want to keep in touch with you. Sign up to learn more about what it takes to be successful as a working mom, and receive regular tips, guidance, and support from Lori Mihalich-Levin.