It can be very difficult to get back to work after having and raising a baby. However, if you don’t get back to work, the consequences can be even worse – difficulty in returning to your original career as the result of the job market, and the need to restart training and re-qualify can add on years to your potential career. The most important thing to focus on, then, is to accept that it’s going to be hard to separate yourself from your child, but that doing so within a few years or a year of having a baby is worthwhile in the long run. Some tips for making this transition easier include:
If you have no fixed deadline for when you’re going back to work, use your free time to check job sites and keep up to date with the field that you’re working in. Speak to friends in the same situation, and see if they can recommend any approaches. If you’re unsure about when you want to go back to work, keep in touch with your workplace by email, continue to receive newsletters and journals, and arrange a meeting with your line manager to discuss how you’re going to return.
Begin with Part-Time Work
A good idea, if you can, is to begin with part-time work. Doing so will ease you back into a working routine, but will still give you some time to arrange childcare and spend time with your children. Having a routine that’s flexibly matched with a partner’s can also mean that you can take the time to work out the best schedule for the week and the weekend.
Try to Work from Home
Being able to work from home, or working part of the week from home, can be excellent if you want to spend more time with your children. However, working at home can be difficult if you get easily distracted, and you might find yourself working more unsociable hours just to get things done.
Hire an Au Pair
One option if you want to create a more flexible set up for child care is to hire an au pair. Cheaper than nannies and daycare, an au pair is typically a foreign student that lives with you and provides light child care, as well as helping out around the house. An au pair can particularly free up time during the school run in the morning, and can cook meals before you get home from work. Please note however that an au-pair is not allowed to have sole charge of a child below the age of 2 is only allowed to work 25 hours per week and do two evenings of babysitting.
Accept That It’s Going to be Difficult
No one who’s spent day after day with their baby is going to find it easy to go back to work and be separated from them. The first few days and weeks will be particularly hard, but you and your baby will adjust over time. Not going through that initial stress and putting it off can be regretted later.
Try to contact other working parents for tips, and look into joining groups and forums online where you can post about your experiences.
It’s important to be pragmatic about where you work, and what your time restraints are. If you find that you are juggling too much, or if you’re unfairly being given extra duties, speak to your manager about changing your homes, or consider transitioning into another career if opportunities are there to be taken.
Rob has used BusyBee AuPairs to help him and his wife return to work. He is a father to four girls and when he manages to get some spare time he can be found blogging about the different aspects of family life, from birthday parties, dealing with fights, and organising family time together.