Whether you’ve been out of the working world for only a few months on maternity leave or have spent a long time away from the office, when it comes to deciding if you should return or not weighing up the pros and cons can be tough. Statistics show many stay at home moms struggle without adult conversation and lack of intellectual challenges. However, it’s no walk in the park for working moms either. From juggling pick up, drop off times, last minute deadlines and meal planning, to parents evenings, child care costs and department meetings it can often feel like the entire world’s against you!
Flickr Image: Donnie Ray Jones
Sort Your Childcare ASAP
Before you agree to return to work, buy a new suit or even start looking for a new position you’ve got to have the appropriate childcare in place. There’s no point going to an interview, knocking it out the park and then having to turn the role down because there’s no one free to watch your kids. Don’t wait until the last minute to book childcare, depending on where you live many places operate a waiting list and demand’s high. Take your time to find somewhere you, and your kids really love whether it’s a childminders, creche or daycare center. No matter how carefully you plan sooner or later something will go wrong, the creche will have a snow day or the babysitter will get sick, so you need plans B, C, and D.
Flickr Image: fervent-adepte-de-la-mode
Are You Really Ready?
Don’t force yourself to go back if you know in your heart you're not ready but at the same time don’t stay away just because you're scared. Once you’ve decided to return then have all your work clothes cleaned and buy new shirts if necessary. Run through the morning routine to iron out any getting ready issues i.e. getting your professional makeup look right or checking your tights don’t have holes. Get your kids used to going to a creche, or daycare before you start so that they have a few days to settle in, and you can pick them up, come into the classroom or wait outside if necessary. If your bosses are flexible, use any extra holiday or flextime so the return itself feels gradual.
Flickr Image: Paul Hamilton
It’s Going To Be Hard
Don’t expect it to all slide back into place or click instantly but at the same time make sure you stay positive. Try not to worry about your kids, if the child care met your approval they’ll be fine and so long as your phone’s switched on you can crack on with your day. Be aware your body’s going to be tired long before your mind so if you have older kids or teens have them help with the morning routine. Commenters on mummy blogs have offered tips like having everything packed the night before and speaking to your partner about coordinating schedules. If you're struggling then do share your concerns with a trusted colleague or your boss. However, should you need to work from home occasionally, leave early or have a flexi schedule make sure you make up the hours because they’ve re hired or employed you for a reason!