Top 5 tips for returning to work
Anxiety, guilt, and maybe a tiny bit of relief! Returning to work can be an emotional time. Here are our top tips for surviving re-entry.
Whether it’s your first baby or your fifth, making the move from full-time mum back into the workforce can be tricky, and lead to all sorts of emotions.
Here are our top ways to ease the pain of this transition, and make a successful and guilt-free return to the workforce.
1. Sort out childcare
It sounds obvious, but it’s easy to leave this to the last minute and find yourself with limited options. So if you know your return-to-work date, get onto this as soon as possible.
Ask other mums, neighbours and your maternal nurse for advice; your options may range from childcare centres through to relatives and friends. In some parts of Australia, waiting lists for childcare can be well over 12 months long; some people put their baby on lists before they’re even born!
Once you’ve chosen an option, ease into it in the few weeks before you go back to work so that the transition is smooth and your little one is comfortable in their new environment. Whether your bub is 6 week or 12 months or older, there will often be a period of separation anxiety – for both of you!
When your baby is being cared for, use the free time to sort out your work wardrobe, go shopping, or just have a nap.
2. Get cooking
When you get home from work, you’ll have limited time to prepare meals. Get your partner involved and cook meals in big batches that you can freeze. Pasta sauces, lasagne, stews and soups all freeze well, and make mid-week dinner time a breeze.
Another great time saver is to order groceries online for home delivery. Reducing time-consuming chores gives you more time to spend with your baby and partner. So – for the first few months at least – let yourself off the hook with some household jobs that can be put off until later, when you’re back in the swing of things.
3. Keep up one-on-one time
When you’re at home – whether it be in the morning, later in the day, or on weekends – prioritise spending time with your baby. Don’t worry if it’s only a 10-minute story or a short play, or just a quick snuggle, the quality of the bonding time is far more important than the quantity.
4. Check in if you want to
If you’re feeling anxious, or you’re having a bad day at work, don’t feel bad about picking up the phone and checking in on how your little one is going. It can make all the difference to how you’re feeling if you know that your baby is happy and doing well.
5. Enjoy yourself
Once you are established back at work, and have your work and childcare routines sorted, you’ll probably find yourself actually enjoying some time away from your little one. It’s perfectly ok to enjoy little moments of me-time, even if it’s just going to the toilet by yourself or having a lunch break and some adult conversation. Don’t feel guilty; you ‘re allowed to have a life too!