Having a baby and welcoming them into the world can be something that is really exciting, but it is a whole new experience, bringing a lot of change. One of the things that will come around quickly, is making the decision of what to do once your maternity leave is nearly over and if you will go back as normal, change your role or hours, or not return at all. For many people, it is going to be the financial side of things that makes the decision for them. But for others, there can be feelings about personal identity that can come into play, and wanting to get back into a regular routine (as well as getting lunch breaks) could be a reason for returning. Regardless of the decision that you make, it is a pretty normal feeling to be anxious when this time comes, and there can even be some of the mum guilt. But if you do decide to return to work, here are some things to think about, as well as a few things to make the change easier.
Schedule at Home
Having a solid schedule at home, and a predictable routine, will be really important to make the transition really smooth. It will help both you and your baby, as well as others in the family and friends know what you will be doing and when. So several weeks before you are heading back to work, set yourself a routine, and then try to stick to it as much as possible. You could schedule in things like mealtimes and naps, as that can help your little one to have a feeling of security and stability. There will be things that need to be changed a little, and some days won’t work to the plan, but having a schedule will help to keep you organised and in control.
Expectations with Employer
It is so important to talk to your employer or HR department if there is one, as you need to be clear about your expectations before you go back. Talk about the return, what your workload will be like, and the hours that you will be working. Returning as normal might be best for you. There are some parents, though, that will want to change their working hours. For example, could you work three longer days, to then have two off, rather than five shorter days? As childcare places like Muswell Hill Nursery show, their opening hours can be long, meaning giving you plenty of time to work longer hours if needed. To make the returning process less stressful, you should also clarify specific needs that you may have before you return, such as time to pump breast milk and so on.
Expectations with Childcare Provider
As soon as you know that you will be returning to work, you need to make childcare plans with someone you trust. When you have chosen, clearly communicate your plans, such as working hours, as well as what your expectations are of them. Talk about your child’s schedule, leave relevant information, and so on. Check their policies on sickness and things too (if you choose a nanny, for example, you’ll need a backup plan when they’re sick).
**This is a collaborative post**