Getting Ready To Go Back To Work
RETURNING TO WORK:
Being a working mom can be the ultimate juggling act, but some forward planning and back-up plans can help to keep things on an even keel.
No mom really knows how they’re going to feel when the baby comes – whether going back to work will be too hard, if you’ll actually end up missing the daily bustle or whether finances will dictate the result. If you are returning, then one of the first things to consider is the childcare route you will take.
Research your options as early as possible. Would a creche, childminder, nanny or nanny-share suit your family’s needs best? Each has their pros and cons – for example, a creche might be more expensive but provides more socialisation and reliability if a carer is sick, whereas a childminder or nanny could offer more one-on-one time but may want you to take set holiday times to coincide with theirs.
Additional considerations need to be discussed too, such as what happens if baby is sick and needs to be collected early; is there a family member or friend you can rely on in an emergency; should you put baby in childcare locally or close to work? Now is the time to explore these options by visiting, interviewing and asking around for other parents’ recommendations. You will then be able to make an informed decision when the time comes.
In reality, even if you are confident in your childcare choice, you will most likely feel anxious or guilty about returning to work. Rest assured, this is completely normal! This is a time of change for you and your baby, but one which can often be very positive.
Returning to work
When the time comes, you will need to give your employer at least four weeks’ written notice stating your intention to go back to work. On your return, you are entitled to the same job with the same contract and terms of employment – if that job is no longer available, your employer must provide you with another suitable role that is of equal standing. Being on maternity leave should not affect your employment conditions, benefits or salary. If you have any concerns or feel you are being discriminated against on your return to work, contact Workplace Relations
If you decide not to return to work, or feel it’s not right for you once you have returned, then you must give notice to employer in the usual way under the terms of your contract. Depending on your job, you may also want to talk to your employers about scaling back your hours, job-sharing or working from home.
Making the transition
Many mums find a series of ‘settling in’ sessions are a great way to get your baby used to his or her new childcare. Organise with your childcare provider that you will be doing this in the week or two prior to you returning to work, then bring your baby and start with just an hour. Build the time up over the course of the week or two, so that when the day comes, you and your baby know what to expect.
It’s also a good idea to plan your morning and evening routines, even if only for the first few weeks. Jumping out of bed, a quick shower and out the door to work with breakfast in hand may have been your pre-baby routine, but now you will need to factor in getting baby up and dressed, a morning bottle and perhaps breakfast, as well as packing both yours and baby’s bag for the day.
Undoubtedly, this is a time of change for you, your baby and possibly the family as a whole. It will take time to adjust to your new daily routine, so do give yourself plenty of time to acclimatise.