Going back to work after having kids can be exciting, stressful, and guilt-inducing all at the same time. Here are some ideas to help you adjust to the change. It’s important to understand that it won’t always be easy, even if you work remotely, but once your find a routine you may feel some relief.
Be Patient With Yourself
When you’ve decided that going back to work is the best thing for you (or necessary), you may be eager to get started. If you were on a short maternity leave, you may not feel ready. You might feel a lot of emotions, and that’s normal. Be patient with yourself when they come up and talk to someone about them. Seek support.
If you had previously left your job for an extended period to have kids, you’ll likely update your résumé and begin searching for new employment right away. This might leave you feeling overwhelmed. Even if it’s just been a short time, you’ll discover that being a new hire is much more difficult than you would have expected. You’ll need to consider not just the work you’ll do at your job, but also the hours you’ll work and the money you’ll earn. Many parents prioritize work-life balance whenever they can.
Rushing into anything may result in a mistake, and by the time you realize this, you could well have gone through a lengthy onboarding process and disrupted your family’s routine just to learn that the job isn’t for you.
It’s much better to wait and bide your time until the ideal – or as near to ideal as you can get – job comes along. Applying for jobs selectively and thoroughly will ensure that when you are contacted for an interview, you will be certain that it is worthwhile to go due to the prospective position offered and how it will impact your life.
Find Good Child Care
Consider making arrangements for day care ahead of time if you’ll be returning to work and will need it. Putting off making a decision will only make you more stressed and less confident in your choice to go back to work. Your work life will be more fulfilling and rewarding, and you won’t look back on your decision to return with regret if your child care arrangement is one you like.
Ideally, you would interview and even test out a variety of nannies, or research a variety of day-care and kindergarten facilities. There should be a wide range of activities for the child, from outside play to free writing activities for kindergarten.
The sort of day care you use will be determined by your own preferences as well as the cost and your work schedule. It’s possible that you work from home, and the job is flexible enough to enable you to drop off and pick up your children from day care, but you’ll need assistance for a matter of hours after they get home. Alternatively, if you work outside the home and have a daily commute, you’ll need something with longer hours or find a solution with someone who is trusted to pick your kid(s) up. Determine what you need and put it in place as soon as you can.
Set Clear Boundaries
When you become a parent, your priorities will likely shift. It’s possible that in the past, you’ve put in more hours than you had planned to at work.
This may not be possible if you have children, and even if it is, you may no longer want to do it. If you want a decent work-life balance, you’ll need to establish correct boundaries first. For example, you’ll have a defined workday, and you won’t be required to work overtime unless it’s scheduled well in advance and you have a support system in place. If your workplace is at home, you won’t check any job-related emails or texts after work; instead, you’ll spend time with your family.
It is critical that you establish clear limits with the people you work with and communicate this to them as soon as you can. If you don’t, you run the risk of reverting to previous patterns of behavior, which may be very difficult to break.
It’s just as vital to manage expectations as it is to establish boundaries at work to create a decent work-life balance. Avoid saying yes to everything and then cramming it into an already-packed schedule if you’ve been asked to do something. Similarly, don’t instantly say no because you believe you know what’s necessary and that you won’t be able to do it.
Asking questions is the best course of action. Find out whether a task is important and when it is due. Consider whether anything else you have planned can be delayed. It’s great if you’re up to the task and your schedule allows it, but if not, at least you gave it some consideration before declining. A healthy working connection with the people around you and a sense of satisfaction with your job and the way you do it can help you maintain a good work-life balance. It’s important to prioritize your tasks. Tackle the tasks that are most urgent and important and delay any that are not as urgent or important when you are overwhelmed.
When you are a working parent, it’s easy to get torn and feel guilty. However, if this is what you want to do, then it’s the right thing, and with some forethought and planning, everyone can be happy. With more and more businesses starting EAP program or hiring company chaplains, it would be worthwhile to ask for advice within your place of work and put any necessary precautions in place. Opening up with your colleagues will help to create empathy between you and them and make your transition back to working life easier. As long as you don’t rush into anything, you can be happy and successful in every area of your life.
Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.