The baby was 6 weeks old when I visited. Baby is healthy, thriving, exclusively breastfeeding and doing all the things that babies do at 6 weeks old. Living in a lovely and the most comfortable and well-presented home. While admiring the baby, mum tells me that she is going back to work and asks me, “how do I prepare? Can you give me advice on returning to work?”
Great! Baby is only 6 weeks old and you’re thinking of returning to work already. This is the story of most of my clients and this is where I get excited and glad they asked me. I then question mum the following questions:
- How old will the baby be when you return to work?
- What are your feeding plans?
- What support do you currently have?
- Do you work away from home or at home?
- Where are you financially?
And so forth…
Thinking about going back to work can stir a million emotions. “I don’t want to be away from my baby for too long,” “I don’t trust anyone else with my baby” or “I need to go back to work, I have no money.” Whatever the reason for going back to work know that you are not making the wrong decision. You are actually doing the best for your baby or what do you prefer? You and your baby going hungry? Or going to work and coming home to spend quality time with baby?
Get over it!
Sometimes society makes you think you’re doing the wrong thing by going back to work which can make you feel like you guilty of doing wrong by your baby. But you know what society does not live in your home. It is better for a mother to be working, healthy and happy than for her to be stressed and depressed because of family circumstances. To help you get over ‘the guilt’ remember a baby is more likely to thrive in a positive and healthy environment.
So if your income allows you to buy milk, keep the lights on and provide your baby with clothes on his back then I am all for it. You’ve got my support.
Plan, Plan and Organisation
Now we are over the guilt let’s get ready. Okay, so if you know me it’s about planning and organisation. Yes, I know you’ve probably heard it a million times. Mate, that’s because it’s TRUE! When you become a mother remember it’s not only you anymore, you can’t just jump out of your bed and go to the gym or social club. For the next 30 years, it’s you and your baby (note the joke… 30 years, haha 😊).
Where to start?
Now I wouldn’t say that this is for everybody most people work differently. However, if you don’t know where to start the below tips will give you some idea of what you need to do to help you prepare for your soon to be working mum life.
- Now you need to first get yourself a diary, family calendar or a board where you can jot things.
You are now going to have many things to do and think about. A tired brain and body won’t get you very far and memory can decrease. This is common amongst many mothers! Still, not only will you be able to jot a to-do list you will be able to refer to these resources when you feel lost or when you’re not sure what to do next.
- Speak to your employer?
Now what you do is kind of work backwards. Have you got a return date, if yes mark it down? Figure out your hours, shifts times or days you will be working?
Think about your routine before and after work for example what time do you have to wake up, leave your home
- Build confidence – take advantage of your ‘keeping in touch days’ this will help you keep up to date with whats going on. Also, speak to your colleagues. Your keeping in touch days will allow you to sample your routine beforehand.
Quality childcare is vital for working moms. Preferable if you have family speak to them and find out if you can obtain that way if not then your search for quality child care is important.
- House help/cleaner
If you can afford to get a housekeeper/ cleaner who can help you clean the house leaving you with extra time for your baby/kids.
- Save time
When you become a mum you need to be able to save as much time as possible so that you don’t spend much time on things that can be done in 30 seconds. Below is a list of activities where you could save time!
- Meal plan – cook on your days off and correctly store as appropriate. You want some easy recipes!
- Online shopping
- Express breastfeeding milk while you are feeding (that’s if you are still planning to continue).
- Sleep and routine – Ensure you start weeks in advance.
- Prepare your clothes the night before
- Make sure you are coming back to your Job, for example, you are going back to the same contract.
- Think about flexible working and talk to your manager at least 1-2 months prior going back to work.
- Read up on your right and what you are entitled to.
- Ask for phased return for the first few months. You should be able to do this by using your annual leave or reducing your hours on a temporary basis.
- Review your life and career goals before you go back to work.
All you can do is your best. Please note you do not need to undertake all the tips but knowledge is King. These are tips to help you with your thinking process and to do what is best for you.