I'm a senior software developer at my company. My boss has always been really happy with my work and we've got on really well. I've always got good performance reviews and been confident in my abilities.

5 months ago I had a baby girl and I took 3 months of maternity leave. Over the past two months I have really struggled to work at the same level of efficiency and productivity that I did before. The sleep has been getting better, but I still am getting very interrupted sleep. My daughter is usually waking up for a feed at least once a night.

I'm really not performing as well as I used to. A lot of the work I do is mentally very intensive and I have been noticing that I'm just not as quick or as sharp as I used to be. I need to write stuff down more often now and take notes otherwise I forget things. This has really had an impact on my confidence. I'm worried about my progress and I am really stressed that I'm not doing good enough work anymore. I've been very worried that my boss will notice my decrease in performance and that I'll lose my job.

How do I approach my boss and explain myself? I think this is temporary and that when my sleep gets better I'll do better but how do I explain my lower performance in the meantime?


3 Answers 3


I don't see anything in your post indicating your boss thinks you are doing a bad job or has expressed concerns about your performance. It sounds like these are your concerns, and not those of your boss.

If he/she has not said anything yet, I would not recommend talking to them. Now, if your boss starts making comments about sloppy work, saying you look tired, etc., then you can have a candid conversation. But until then, keep chugging away and enjoying new parenthood.

  • +1 If you aren't confident in your abilities, it doesn't inspire others to be confident in your abilities either. A manager should understand a minor dip in performance due to welcome a new baby in the world.
    – jcmack
    Commented Oct 26, 2018 at 22:12

I think this is temporary

Yes it is, it only lasts for a few decades.

But you get used to it. Having children does impact on your concentration just as it impacts on all aspects of your life. Everyone knows that and as long as you're trying your best no excuse is needed. So attempt to separate your family life from your work as much as possible and it get's easier over time.

Don't bring it up and use your child/ren as an excuse unless absolutely necessary. It can become a crutch which is never a good thing for your personal growth or work ethic.

All the ladies working for me have had children, the ones I appreciate the most are those that just get on with things workwise without making a drama out of it unless they have to. I know full well what a newborn entails in terms of loss of efficiency and sleep. So do most people.


Since your manager hasn't complained about your performance, there are three possibilites: Either he or she thinks your performance is fine. Or they are aware that you have a young baby who needs your attention, and they are cutting you some slack. Or both.

How do you approach your boss? You don't. If nobody else says "your performance is bad", then you should definitely not start bringing it up. It's not something that would ever benefit you. If co-workers make negative comments, you put them in their place. If someone said "You are slower than you used to be" you don't say "I know, I'm tired all the time", you say "You better speed up a bit yourself before you make comments like that". If your boss says something, you don't say "that's because my baby wakes me up in the night all the time", instead you say confidently "I think I'm doing just fine".

Performance of a senior software developer is notoriously difficult to measure. If you are at 90% or 80% of your best, you will be just fine. Don't put yourself down. And if others try to put you down, never let them.

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