The decision to go back to work after having a baby is not an easy one to make, and it’s something that’s unique for every parent to decide for themselves if and when the time is right, so although people will have their opinions – as they seem to on most things these days, it’s really none of their business what you do and what you think is best for your family, so it’s not something you should be concerning yourself with or allowing yourself to get swayed by, because at the end of the day, only you have the right to decide what’s best for your family, and nobody else knows or has to live your life, so they have no right to comment on it.
That being said, even when you’re able to push the opinions of other people aside, the decision to go back to work after having your baby – no matter how old they are isn’t going to be without its challenges because it’s a big decision and a big transition in you and the baby’s life, so it’s not something you’re going to just jump into without even giving it a second thought.
It’s going to take a bit of planning and preparation – not just from a practical point of view, but also from an emotional point of view, so in this post we’re going to walk you through some of the things you may want to consider before going to work after having a baby so that you can be prepared for going back as best as possible.
Mama guilt: Guilt is something that pretty much all people experience at some point in life, but this feeling seems to be an automatic side effect of having a baby and nobody really knows why – especially since the parents who are feeling guilt truly have nothing to feel guilty for and are doing the very best they can with their child’s interests at heart. The dreaded mama guilt is something that comes in waves and will be felt by different people in varying degrees, yet it’s something that doesn’t make life easy at times, and this will be even more common when you make the decision to go back to work.
Part of the reason why mothers especially feel this mama guilt when making the decision to go back to work is because there’s still a lot of people in society who live in the past and believe that a mother’s role is purely at home raising children and doing housework, and whilst most mothers would ideally love to spend as much time with their children as possible, modern life doesn’t always make it very easy since most families are going to require two incomes.
Of course, you’ll also worry that your child will be unsafe or that they’ll somehow feel neglected by your choosing to go to work, but it’s important to remember that children are far more resilient than we give them credit for, and even if they do put on an Oscar-winning performance that breaks your heart when you drop them off at daycare, you’re pretty much guaranteed that they’ll have forgotten about it 5 minutes later and you’ll be more affected than they are.
So, it’s important when dealing with mama guilt to remind yourself that your children are going to be just fine, they won’t be scared, and that you’re doing the right thing by them and your family, and really that’s what matters as long as you’re making time for them when you’re not working.
You’ll need a different schedule: Remember those good old days when you just had to get yourself ready in the morning and organize your own schedule? Unfortunately, when it comes to going back to work after having a baby, this really isn’t going to be much of an option anymore. It’s not that you’ll have to have stressful mornings every day, but you’re definitely going to have to learn to manage your time and your schedule better and differently than you had to pre-child, and although this is certainly isn’t impossible, it’s going to take some planning and getting used to.
Childcare: Unless your children are already in school or grown up enough to take care of themselves for a few hours before you get home, then you’re going to need to have some kind of childcare solution in place for them whilst you’re at work. This can be something you arrange with family members such as parents if they live close by and have the time or you may need to look for a more permanent option, such as daycare or a nanny. The problem with private daycare is that it can often be so expensive that the cost of the daycare is more than you’ll make from your job, so it’s not always something that makes financial sense for parents looking to go back to work. However, the best thing you can do before even considering any of these options is to speak to your employer about the childcare options they may have in place. For example, some companies will offer things like childcare vouchers or even on-site childcare as a way to embrace a more family-friendly company culture and encourage parents back to work.
Education: If you’ve been out of work for a while or have decided to try a new career path, then you may find that your qualifications are going to need some brushing up on, so you’ll have to look into how to approach this. The good thing is, nowadays, you can find plenty of ways to work your studies around your job and family commitments without having to quit – you can also speak to your employer about this since most will be happy to sponsor you for this which means they’ll cover the costs if it’s going to help you with your job. For example, if you wanted to study an Online Master of Science Electrical and Computer Engineering degree, and this is directly going to improve your ability to do your job, then your employer would most likely cover this if they were the one who asked you to do this.
Ask about part-time or flex-time: Going back to work – especially after a baby is going to be a big transition so it’s worth considering your options regarding the hours you want to work. For example, depending on the job you have, you could consider asking for part-time, flex-time or even a few days where you work from home if this would make it easier to adjust to the new schedule. You’ll typically find that most employers will be open to such an arrangement, but you’ll probably have to ask them about it since they likely won’t come out and offer it if they don’t know that people are looking for something like this.
Look at the logistics: When it comes to the logistics of going back to work, it’s going to be something that takes a little planning and testing, so don’t worry if you’re not finding the perfect rhythm right away. This is where your partner comes in, you should both be able to sit down before you go back to work to talk about how you want to organize things and who’s going to be responsible for certain things. It’s not going to be fair if you’re expected to go back to work, do all the housework and all the childcare – there needs to be more balance, but this is something that you both need to communicate with each other before you go back so that you don’t find yourself having different expectations and ending up fighting.
Do a trial run: Going back to work is not something that you might even enjoy as much as you think – sometimes it’s just the idea of going back that you like, so it’s important to understand that this is something that may happen. You could do a trial run for something like a month since this will give you a good amount of time to adjust and see how things go without over-committing yourself and then see how things go from there.
Go back slowly: If you’re happy with your trial run, then it’s a good idea to look at going back to work at a slower pace than if you would be doing if you were still single and child free with only yourself to think about. This is not just for you to get used to, but it also gives your child more time to adjust to the fact that you’ll be gone and make this easier on them – it can give you the balance you’re seeking for and make you feel less overwhelmed and burned out when you’re going back full time to a career you’ve been away from for a long time.
It will take time: Going back to work after a baby is a big adjustment, and you have to be prepared for the fact that it’s going to take you some time to get used to it, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you feel like it’s not working out right away or you feel less excited than you thought you would, just understand that these things take time and that you will get there.