Making the decision to return to work after having a baby can be one of the toughest you’ll make. Some Mum’s feel that financially it’s something they will have to do, whilst others want to go back to maintain their career.
Getting the balance right could be trial and error, but making sure it works for all the family could take a bit of juggling.
When Should I Return to Work?
Before going on maternity leave I was given the company’s policy on entitlement to leave and pay, and then you have to decide when to return to work.
When I had my son, I went back to work after four months of maternity leave. He was only three months old, and while I was only working on a part time basis it was just way too early. As I just wasn’t ready I left the company which put a huge strain on us in regards to income. However, when he was nine months old I began working again. I was more comfortable with him being older and becoming more independent.
Twelve years later, my baby girl was born and I made the decision to take the full year off.
This time I was lucky enough to ease back into things by working from home to begin with, and this actually encouraged me to go back early.
How long you choose to take off work will depend on you’re financial situation and your personal feelings. Some Mum’s enjoy having the time off to spend with their little one, but some miss the adult company and simply want the break away from dirty nappies and Cbeebies!
If you have a good relationship with your manager, you may be able to negotiate or alter your job role to suit your needs better.
If you previously worked on a full time basis, reducing your hours could make the transition run a little smoother. Working fewer days or shortening them down will give you and your baby time to adjust to the changes. When once it was just the two of you, suddenly baby needs to get used to spending the days with someone else and possibly in a new environment.
Think through your decision to cut your hours though, if one day to want to go back to full time. Your employer may not be able to offer those hours again for you in the future.
Making it Easy For Baby – Childcare Options
Before you go back to work, you will constantly think about who is going to look after your baby. You can find more information here on childminders, nurseries, nannies and au-pairs or more information on finding and managing childcare.
If you are lucky to have a family member who is willing and able, or you are sharing the childcare with your partner, then you don’t have the stress of going out there and finding someone. You’ll have the benefit of knowing the person well, and it’s a familiar face for baby.
If you need to seek an alternative then do your research well in advance. Search what is available to you in your area and always go with your gut feeling. Use some of your time on maternity leave, to search for local child care services. Send out some emails and arrange to make visits. It’s easy to stress out when you feel the first one you see isn’t what you want to go with. It may take a while, but you’ll know when it’s right. Arrange some settling in sessions to see how you and baby copes, so everything is in place when the time comes for you to get back to work.
Check out childcare costs and any entitlements you have with help towards those costs. If your company offers childcare vouchers then you can pay into the scheme from your salary, pre-tax, which can save you money in the long run.
Author: Emma Harvey, Emma is a working mother with a 12 year old and a 9 month old. She works in the care sector and has just returned from maternity leave as a trainer. She writes and blogs in her spare time. Read more on Emma’s own blog: HubPages