Returning to work after having a baby
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
There is no doubt that returning to work after being a Stay at Home Mum is terrifying. Whether you took the minimum allowance for maternity leave from work, or the entire amount. Or even if you have been a SAHM for longer than this time. As mothers, there is this guilt, this fear, followed by so many questions that we ask ourselves over and over.
Some of us feel that we actually want to return. Get back into our old routine. Feel as close to the pre-baby us again. Have non baby related commitments, goals, achievements . Most of all perhaps, some “me” time as you drive alone in your car to work.
Or you may feel as though you couldn’t be further from these desires if you tried.
The most important message you can consol yourself with, is that - whatever you feel is 100% acceptable AND normal.
So why is returning to work outside of the home so terrifying?
As mothers, before we even add an outside the home job to our lives - we already burdened. Why? Well, we have at least a dozen home jobs as it is. Returning to work, means that this list of duties grows. This can be empowering. Though, this can equally cause terrors when trying to understand how each piece of your new life puzzle will fix together. Especially when it already feels pretty hectic!
Personally when I thought about returning to work, feelings of empowerment were present, though they were outweighed by the doomiest clouds of terror I have ever felt.
During pregnancy, I heard stories of the usual way things went down when it came to going back to work. I understood the majority of mothers in today’s society, birth their baby, take “some” maternity leave and get back to working life.
In my circle of go to mummies, this ranged from mothers whom had only 6 weeks maternity (as per US laws which have recently and thankfully changed in some states) to 9 months maternity leave(as per UK laws).
As it seemed the norm to return to work, it never occured to me that I would in fact question returning at all when the time came.
Now that I am 3 months into my return to work, I have put together a list of suggestions for new mothers to consider when deciding whether to return to work or remain a stay at home mum - if you have this privilege to consider at all.
Working hours (Will I request new hours? Will I be granted flexibility? What if my new schedule doesn’t work out?)
Childcare (Who will care for my baby? Family member? Nursery? Childminder? Can I even afford it?)
Working distance to childcare (How far will I be from my baby? Can I get to them quickly if necessary? Who can pick my baby up if I can’t?)
Night time routine (Who will take on baby night duties? One parent? Both parents? Alternate?)
Do I even want to return? (Do I want to be a working mother? Do I want to be my babies full time carer? Can we survive as a family this way?)
Each parent/family will have different considerations to make. These are just a few of my personal questions. Write yours down. Review them before making any final decisions.
If you have reviewed your Q&A’s and decided that you will return to work, I ask that you welcome your new schedule. To help you do this, I have created a list of tips that will help you transition as smoothly as possible, trialled and tested by me!
If you experience hiccups along the way or forget to do one of these things, let it go. Remind yourself that this is new and takes time to build as a regular routine.
Prepare frozen meals for the entire family
In my household, we prepare at minimum 2 weeks of frozen lunches and dinners for each of us. Paul & I use the prepared lunches during working hours & the prepared dinners as last resorts. Aurora eats lunches prepared by her childcare & fresh dinners with mum & dad and/or prepared frozen meals
Prepare food bags the night before for the entire family
Defrost lunches in the fridge, place all snacks in food bags, fill up any water bottles so it’s easy to grab & go
Choose outfits the night before for the entire family
Pick out entire outfits, including underwear, socks, baby diaper, wipes, rash cream. Iron the needful & hang all items together for a quick change in the morning. Place shoes by the front door to eliminate any searching
Check handbag the night before
Ensure you have all items you may need, such as, chewing gum, hand sanitizer, hand cream, perfume, purse, phone charger, laptop, notebooks, tissues
Check travel time the night before
Understand how long your journey is expected to take & allow 10 extra minutes for last minute baby poops, baby throw up etc
Remember this is new
You are allowed time to adjust to this new routine so let go of any additional pressure from yourself
Remain open for change
Accept that your routine may seem perfect before you get back into work, but in reality you may face some issues. This is OK, nothing is permanent. Write down your issues & review as a family, then with your job if need be
Shut down the guilt
Understand that you are not any of the awful things you may think you are by no longer being a full time carer for your baby. You are teaching your baby confidence in other surroundings, with other people. There are many positives here!
Set small personal goals
Give yourself something small & achievable to focus on. Such as afternoon tea with your best friend after your first month back at work or a family day out to a child friendly farm. This will help you stay focused & look forward to the upcoming days
Look forward to being at home with your baby!
Every day, you will get to return home to your darling baby & this in itself in precious. Don’t waste time worrying as this will consume all of your energy, which you need for dinner time, bath time, bed time. Easier said than done, but one of my most important tips as I personally exhausted myself with worry which made me good for no one!
Wishing you luck and support whether you decide to return to work or not! Each journey has its challenges, loves and envy's. One thing to remember is that we are in this together.
Big hugs & kisses, XO