The birth of a new child often results in a mother taking off work for a period of time to take care of the needs of the baby. After that period of time, mothers often consider going back to work and need to determine if it is the right course of action for their personal situation and needs. Mothers who decide to go back to work will need to plan ahead so that the road ahead is manageable and does not result in overwhelming situations.
The decision to return to work after having a child is a difficult one for many mothers. A wide range of factors like financial necessities, the need to interact with adults or a chance to enjoy the challenges of work can all play into the decision. After making the choice that going back to work is the appropriate course of action, a mother should start working on gaining a support system.
Finding support can end up being one of the best decisions a mother makes. Support can include a spouse, grandparents of the child, friends and even an employer. The friends and family can offer a mother who is going back to work more support by offering to watch the child or helping a mother with other needs. A spouse might take on a few more household chores so a mother does not feel overwhelmed with cleaning, caring for the child and working.
The support of an employer is also necessary to plan ahead. Asking an employer about family leave and sick days is an important part of balancing work with caring for a child. Mothers often need to take off work when a child is sick and an employer’s understanding can make a difference in the work-life balance.
Working on Adjustments Early:
A mother who is planning to go back to work should begin making adjustments to the schedule before actually starting the job. For example, a mother should start getting up early in the morning and working on getting the child used to a strict sleeping and eating schedule.
Adjusting to a work schedule is not easy in the beginning, so taking measures to prepare like getting up early will make it easier to make those changes to the schedule. This will also make it easier to get sleeping habits in order before the job comes into the picture.
Child Care Arrangements:
Women should always plan the child care arrangements early. Child care is often a major financial factor in the decision to go to work or remain at home. When child care will cost the same as a woman is bringing in from a job, it is not always worth the stress and potential gains of adult interactions.
Making arrangements for child care before starting a job will give plenty of time to find something affordable or discuss options to minimise the cost. Those who have friends or family that are willing to care for the child might be able to keep formal care situations limited, particularly if grandparents are retired and willing to watch children until they are old enough to go to school.
Women who plan to wait until the child begins school and then work part-time during the school hours might only need to make arrangements for a few hours throughout the week. A child’s age at the time a woman goes back to work often plays a role in the ease of adjusting and the financial expenses of providing supervision to the child throughout the day.
Keeping Skills Updated:
Whether a mother plans to return to work a few months after a baby is born or within a few years, it is important to keep updated with job skills required in the career. Depending on the particular career and the current information about what employers are looking for, staying updated will vary.
Some mothers will want to take training courses to update skills needed for their job while others will simply need to keep up-to-date on the latest information in journals and formal publications. The exact method varies based on what employers are looking for in the job field and the newest advances in the field.
Dealing with Stress:
Stress is one of the most common problems that arises when a women decides that it is time to return to work. While a strong support system and careful planning can help with organisation and time management, the stress can still build up as women try to balance work, caring for young children and household chores.
Dealing with stress starts with taking time to meet personal needs. Working mothers will need to take that time to relax, whether it is taking a bubble bath or reading for a few minutes before bed. Though it is important to care for the child’s needs, the needs of a spouse and the work responsibilities, personal needs should not end up neglected because it helps alleviate stressful emotions.
Mothers should take time for healthy meals, snacks and exercise to maintain a healthy body and keep energy levels as high as possible. A poor diet, skipping meals and not getting enough exercise can result in feeling cranky, exhausted and eventually leads to sickness. It is better to keep energy high with healthy meals and exercise to maintain a busy schedule.
Getting a Job:
Depending on the situation, it might be necessary to look for a new job. Women who plan to take off a few years will want to get a resume together showing previous experience as well as the new skills learned since having a child. The resume is the first thing an employer will see, so it should have updated information.
Keeping up with old contacts and friends will also help by maintaining adult communication skills and providing contacts who are still working.
Returning to work after having a baby is not an easy task. It is stressful and will require careful planning, support and scheduling to adjust to the changes. Fortunately, planning ahead and getting ready will make it easier on the whole family.