So your maternity leave is coming to an end. You’ve got your childcare sorted, your schedule is planned out and you’ve had a return to work chat with your boss. Now what? How to transition from full time mum to working mum? It’s all in the organisation. Here are some tips to help you get organised and back to work.
Prioritise your work/ life balance
This can be one of the trickiest things about returning to work. But it’s all too easy to return to the daily grind and many mums find it stressful trying to juggle parenting and work successfully. Remember that a natural routine will come eventually, but you might not find it at first. But if you prioritise the need to find a balance, and be mindful of ‘clocking off’ when you’re at home you might find it all a little easier.
Maintaining a healthy work/ life balance is important because it will help you to feel at peace with your decision to return to work. Take no notice of news reports that blame working mums for this, that and the other- remember that YOU are setting a good example to your children by showing that mums can and do work outside the home, and that you are following your own dreams too. But take care to leave work at work, and home at home if you can. It’s not easy, but it can be done!
Make sure you are 100% happy with your childcare arrangements
Take your time choosing childcare for your baby so that when you do return to work, you aren’t laden with guilt over leaving her. Make sure you take time to settle her in before you start too, so that any potential issues can be worked through before you’re back at work. And keep communication channels open with whoever is looking after your baby- the only way to ensure you can be really happy with going out to work each day.
Delegate tasks at work and at home
Don’t be tempted to take on extra work to prove that you are ‘still up to it’. There’s no need and it will only stress you out and leave you exhausted when you return home. Likewise, remember that now you’re working again, the household chores and responsibilities need to be shared once more. Don’t feel you need to do everything- delegate tasks so that you end up with some free time too.
Get ready the night before
Make sure your bag is packed for work before you go to bed. And then make sure baby’s bag is ready too. Some mums like to hang clothes for the next day out ready and some even set the breakfast table before they go to bed too. It can be the little things that let you grab extra minutes in the morning and prevent you from running around like a headless chicken before you leave the house!
Do your groceries online. Bank online. Pay bills by direct debit. All mundane tasks that can be done online should be done online! Don’t waste valuable family time.
Put yourself first now and then
Yes you work hard, at home and at work. So YOU deserve a break too, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. A relaxed mum at the weekend is a happy mum through the week so if you can take an hour or two then please do!
Remember why you love working
This can be a tricky one, especially as lots of mums feel they return to work due to financial commitments rather than enjoyment. And while now may not be the ideal time to go job seeking (unless it is for you, in which case go for it!), there are still ways that you can enjoy your new role as working mum. Cherish the good things that happen while you’re working. The chance to regain some independence. Your baby’s face when you return home. A hot cup of tea!
Being a working mum IS hard work, but with a little bit of perspective and a lot of organisation you can make it work for you. Good luck!