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Online Negotiating Maternity Leave & Transitioning Back to Work Course: A look behind the Series

We sat down with the instructor behind the new online course designed to help new mothers negotiate their maternity leave and transition back smoothing to work. Course creator Neneh Diallo hopes the class with instruct women on how to negotiate what works best for them and their specific employer and other strategies for work-life balance. She is launching it as part of the new Moms With Dreams University, an online platform that empowers mom with life and work skills. 
Crucially, this mom of three, including twins, will instruct students on how to create work-life balance, identify and overcome that dreaded and omnipresent “mom guilt.”  We know many veteran moms which there was a course like this around when they were transitioning back to work.  If you’re a new mom, first time mom-to-be in the working world, or even a seasoned mom, first time in the position of having to transition back to work, you’re in luck.
Diallo gives us some insight on how the online course (which starts this Tuesday, October 7 and cost a very reasonable $299) came about and its goals for students:
When did you come up with the idea for the class? 
When I was about to go on maternity leave with my first child I had no idea what to expect.  Of course I had questions about how I would be a mother, how I would interact with her.  What my new life would be like.  However, it dawned on me that I had no clue what that life would be like once I went back to work. 
 I remembered my older sister went back to work six weeks after delivering her first child.  I thought that was ridiculous!  You are just getting into your routine and bonding with the baby and then snap! – time to go back to work? I had to think about that.  
So I sat down and came up with a plan that I thought would work for me and my boss.  I had to make sure that this was a win for him as well.  He couldn’t feel as though he was losing an employee – and being that women can be perceived as “changed” and “unfocused” when they become mothers, I had to make sure he knew that I had put some thought into it.  
When I returned I was the first one who started to telecommute on a regular basis once a week.  That was unheard of in my organization.  
Since then, women about to go on maternity leave have come to me for advice on how to transition out and back into work.  They seek advice on how I was able to balance my two worlds – I also got a double promotion when I returned from maternity because I had a work plan that demonstrated my work and my worth.  
Other women wanted to know my secret, so now I’m ready to share it with a wider audience and show them how they can do it all.  Since then, I’ve had twins so there’s a plan for that to!
What will the typical curriculum look like? 
The first week will talk about negotiating skills.  So many women don’t negotiate well because we feel like we don’t deserve to ask for what we want.  I share techniques that will help women feel like they can ask for what they deserve and not feel guilty about it. Students will also get tips on how to get the work-life balance that works.  
And let me say this up front – ‘balance’ doesn’t exist.  It just doesn’t.  You have to prioritize and decide what is going to get done now and what can wait for later.  
We’ll also discuss strategies to stay relevant in the workplace.  Let’s remove the “mommy brain” dialogue and refocus your supervisor to recognize you as a valued, contributing team member and make them respect your boundaries.  There are so many women I know who go home after working 10 hour days, take care of their kids and husbands and then log on again from 9-11pm.  So guess what happens? Your boss will start expecting that of you and sees that you are available at all times even when you should probably be spending that time with your husband, reading a book, or watching Scandal!
What is the typical student you anticipate, like who is the course designed for? 
One would assume that this course is just for new working mothers.  However, I must say that seasoned moms can also take this course because life really does change when you have more than one child.  Your goals may change and your expectations on yourself ans a mother and worker may change too.  
After the birth of my twins I now had four children with completely different needs.  I had to adjust my work schedule. I had to set new parameters around when I would be available.  
And I made a career switch because I knew that my current career was not suitable to my new priorities and a change needed to happen.  And I was able to get everything I wanted while staying with a company whose mission I still wanted t be a part of. This course if for new and seasoned moms will walk away learning more about themselves and what they want than they even realized. 
How does one register for the class? 
To register for the class, students need to sign up on http://bit.ly/ZhMAnm . It is an easy to use platform for live presentations. 


Tell me about your qualifications to teach the class? 
I am a trained executive coach. I received my training from Presence-Based Coaching, an International Coaching Federation accredited institution. And more importantly, I’ve received my Ph,D as a mother of four kids 🙂
Can someone sign up after classes have begun?
The goal is for students to receive live instruction, but if someone can’t start until the 2nd class and they want to register, they would receive the recording for the first class.
What has been the reaction response been?
Women are excited.  They’ve told me that they have never heard of a class like this being offered and that it would be a great resource.  
I encourage you to go sign up! http://bit.ly/ZhMAnm   

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