Many mothers find it tough enough just coping with the readjustment and daily demands that come with having a baby that going back to work seems impossible.
However, many mums do manage the transition back to work and although it’s not always easy and there may be some challenging moments, there are plenty of things that you can do to prepare yourself and your child for the new arrangements.
If you’re planning on returning to work, you may find these tips helpful.
1. Go easy on yourself
Some mothers feel guilty about returning to work and putting their children into care. Try and shed any shame or guilt and keep reminding yourself that you are worthy. You probably will actually feel fulfilled by returning to work and will be a better mother for it. Be kind to yourself, nurture your soul and cut yourself some slack. Unrealistic expectations like having an immaculate home, not allowing the washing or ironing to pile up, throwing the perfect dinner party or having a supermodel body are just that - unrealistic. Try and free yourself from negative thoughts and don’t pay any attention to judgmental or critical comments.
2. Get organised
It can be tricky finding the time to get organised and put structures and routines in place, but it will pay dividends. Routines help children feel more secure and can encourage better behaviour, plus they make it easier for everyone. Other things you can do to ease the transition include preparing meals for the freezer to give you more family time when you get back from work, setting out your work clothes and packing your child’s bag the previous evening and preparing lunchboxes the night before. This will also make for a less frenetic and potentially upsetting start to the day.
3. Meet with your employer before returning to the workplace
It will be less daunting returning to work if you have a clear understanding of what’s expected of you. If possible, meet your boss beforehand and discuss how you can best balance your work commitments with your family life. Establish what’s expected of you and if and where adjustments and concessions can be made (on both sides) to achieve the best outcome for everyone. Is your employer flexible about hours? Can you do any work from home? Know your rights and be clear on your needs and expectations before you go back to work.
4. Do some practice runs of your morning routine
Doing some practice runs of getting your child up and ready whilst at the same time getting yourself ready for work - all within time constraints - will help enormously. It’ll give you an opportunity to see if your planned routine comes together and give you time to make any adjustments.
5. Develop a support structure
Setting up a support network of trusted friends and family will stand you in good stead. There will be occasions when you need some help at short notice or a shoulder to cry on and if you’ve nurtured your supportive network, you’ll always have someone to rely on.
6. Choose your childcare centre carefully
Handing over responsibility of looking after your child isn’t easy and you want to be absolutely sure that you’ve chosen the best caregiver or early childhood centre. You need to be 100% confident about your decision and so you should start researching your options very early on. There may be a waiting list - especially if the centre has a reputation for quality care and premium facilities - and you don’t want to have to make compromises because you’ve left it too late.
The childcare centre has to suit you and your family. For example, nutrition may be an important consideration and you may want one that prepares fresh, healthy meals every day for your child. You may want a centre that welcomes parental involvement (perhaps you want to be sent regular updates from the educators to reassure yourself that your child is in caring, trustworthy hands) or one that offers expanded opportunities for your child like yoga or incursions. Do your research, ask questions and get in early!
Whether you’re choosing a childcare centre because you’re going back to work or because you simply need some time to yourself, it pays to invest time and effort in finding the right one for you and your child.
Nido Early School has a growing network of highly sought-after early education centres around Australia with a reputation for excellence and innovation, specialised care by skilled educators and a supportive and enriching environment. The centres are inspired by the internationally acclaimed Reggio Emilia approach to early education which aims to develop children as individuals within the group through exploration and discovery. The centres offer a greater range of opportunities for engagement and self-guided learning such as educational incursions, which are all designed to stimulate a lifelong love of learning and exploration. If you’re interested in finding out more about Nido Early School or to find the centre close to you, please visit www.nidoearlyschool.com.au.