Deciding when to go back to work after having or adopting a baby can be a very challenging thing. Whether you've already informed the work place of dates you will be returning and sticking to those said dates, or change your mind weeks before you're supposed to return, a lot changes when you welcome motherhood.
Sometimes, you realize that your family may not be in the right financial state for you not to go back to work. So, you decide to find work sooner than you had planned. Regardless of why, when and where you go to work, there are some things to remember when you do decide it's time to re-enter the work place if you've taken a leave. Read ahead for 10 things to remember.
10 YOU WILL MISS THEM
Well, no duh! But, many of us dread the feeling of missing our children to the extent that we may experience; however, it is no always a bad thing. If you have experienced leave and were home with your baby and/or child for a certain amount of time, you do understand the need for a "break". Yes, there are some mothers/parents out there who absolutely love every waking minute spent with their children, but balance is key to a happy life. When you experience going back to work, you may find returning home after a long day to be refreshing- more so than when you were home with your child. It's ok to miss the kid, especially if it makes those moments with them more cherished than ever before.
9 YOU GET A TASTE OF FREEDOM
Oh, glorious freedom! The freedom you had before children but took for granted. Now, we speak generally. Of course there are people who absolutely knew how fantastic it was to work full-time/part-time without the responsibility and care of a child/children in the back of their minds. But, now that you've decided to return back to work, leave that Mom Guilt behind. You get to taste freedom once again. You get to feel a bit more 'human' now that you are able to "get away" from being a full-time parent and focus on contributing to society as a fully capable employee. Congratulations!
8 ROUTINES ARE IMPORTANT
It's vital to remember how important a routine is- for both you and your family. Children thrive off of schedules and it's important to keep to them. When you set your alarm in the morning, ensure you have enough time to ready yourself along with your child/children.
Set it an extra few minutes earlier for some alone-time. Whether that's for an early shower or morning coffee to yourself, you will thank yourself later for that quiet time spent alone- without a screaming boss and/or child.
7 ASK FOR HELP WHEN NEEDED
It's imperative to know that you can not do this alone. Whether it's hired help from a part-time/full-time nanny or a lending hand from your mother-in-law, raising a child is hard; especially when we are expected to go back to work in order to pull in some extra cash. So, remember you can not do this solo. You will need help. Whether you are a single parent of co-parent with a partner, it's important not to feel guilty when you need to hire or ask for help.
6 GET SOME SLEEP
Yes, we understand you want some time spent binge-watching you new favourite series that just hit Netflix. Or, you'd like 30 minutes of interrupted time on your social media just to mellow-out. But, remember what we mentioned about "schedules"? It's important to even schedule out time for you to relax your brain, body and mind- without a child by your side. Ensure you're not loosing some much needed sleep while you do so. Life is a balance, but sleep is so incredibly important to be a happy and healthy parent. Make sure you're getting enough of it when you decide to go back to work after becoming one.
5 BE HONEST WITH YOUR BOSS
Honesty is key. This goes for when you return back to work, too. The more open (within reason) you are with your manager, the more they will understand where you're coming from. You're a parent which means: you may have to take extra time off for appointments. You may not answer texts/calls as late as you did before. You may not even be able to work weekends if you need to be home with your child. Things will change, and this is ok. Everyone's personal life is their decision, but it may effect the way you do work when you return. That is not a bad thing. It just means you're open to adapting to change, and your boss needs to know when things are ok and when they are not. Be transparent and they will appreciate your honesty.
4 SEPARATE WORK/LIFE STRESS
As this rule of thumb is important for every day life before children, it's even more important now. When you become a parent, you end up transferring any energy and stress to your children without noticing.
If you bring your work stress home, your children will feel it. Do you remember when a parent of yours came home upset from their day? Do you remember how it effected their relationship with you? Don't repeat the habit, if you answered yes. Leave your work stress behind. Don't trip on the past, you're not going that way.
3 PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN
In this day and age, many of us work through our cellphones. Whether we're using our personal devices or work phones, we understand a lot of work can be done at the convenience of our fingertips. But again, it's important to remember to stick to a schedule. If this means you purposely have your work phone or personal phone off between daycare pick up and dinner, then so be it. Warn clients, employees, managers and other staff that you will be unable to answer messages between those times. This will help you be more in the moment with your children when you have the time with them.
2 IT'S OK TO CHANGE GOALS
When you return from work as a parent who was previously on leave, your perception of previous values may change. You may realize that you're no longer working for the paycheque and rather focus on your passions. In contrast, you may realize that it's important for you to make more money and work harder for that next raise. Everything may change when you become a parent- even your goals. But, if parenthood does anything it's that it can help you adapt easier. So, it's ok if your career goals change when you return back to work. Go with the flow and do what's best for you and your family.
1 TAKE YOUR DAYS OFF
Often, we have a certain amount of sick days and vacation days. We recommend that you contact your HR or manager to see if you get "paid out" for days unused. And if not- we highly recommend you use those days accordingly. Collect them for a family vacation or "staycation" if you're on a budget. Just make sure you that you get your days off that you deserve. You're a parent now. There's nothing better than taking days off work when you're in good health and have the ability to.