Survival tips for being a working mum
Working mums: planning is key
Being a parent isn’t always easy - being a working parent presents a whole range of fresh challenges. You’ve spent the past few months managing sleep patterns and feeding times - now you’re hoping to carry on doing all that and go back to work.
You will have childcare to organise - be it a creche, childminder or relative - and that means a whole new routine for you and your baby. Take your time deciding on who is best to care for your baby. If you are both happy with the child care arrangement, it will make the transition smoother.
Going back to work can be very rewarding but you need to outline clear objectives with your employer. Your job may not have changed but chances are you have. You are probably less eager for overtime or unwilling to stay late if it means you miss bath and bedtime. If you are working part-time, you need to ensure you are not cramming five days’ work into three (remember, you are only getting half the salary) and you may need to delegate some tasks. And it may sound easier than done but try to focus on the job while you’re there - the quicker the day goes, the sooner you get home to your little one!
Being a working parent can make you worry about not spending enough quality time with your child. Just make sure the time you do spend together counts. Turn off the gadgets and enjoy some quiet cuddles after a long day apart. Arrange a trip for the weekend when you’re off - it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, even a walk in the park can be rewarding. It’s all about spending time together and making it count.
There are three key things to remember
Be organised: Without forward planning, you’ll find that juggling work and baby is ten times’ harder. Batch cook in advance, at the weekend if needs be and freeze portions - that way you can defrost a meal while you’re at work and will only need to reheat when you get in. Do the same with baby’s meals. It could also be worthwhile investing in a slow cooker - leave the casserole simmering and have it ready when you come in from a long day. Do the same with clothes - sort out the night before what you are going to wear, pack baby’s bag for childcare and if there are lunches to sort, try have them prepared - anything that will save time and tantrums in the morning.
Be realistic: Life is not the same as pre-baby. With every small person comes big responsibility and it helps if you set realistic goals. Easy-cook dinners are one way to go - don’t set yourself up for a fall planning a complicated beef stew on your first day back. If you can afford it, maybe get someone to do a few hours’ housework or ironing while you’re at work - there’s no better feeling than walking into a clean house after a day’s work - even though with small kids it rarely stays that way for long!
Be kind: To yourself that is. You may have been able to fit in the gym to or from work in the good old days but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t now. Taking the stairs at the office and walking with the baby is a great exercise and often just as effective. And some days you will feel exhausted and teary - take a deep breath and remember that whatever time you do spend with them is precious. Leave the housework and sit down for a nighttime cuddle with your little one - you’ve earned it.