Tag: "featured"

Going Back to Work Guilt-Free? - Emma's Story

Going Back to Work Guilt-Free? – Emma’s Story

Before my maternity leave began, I was asked many times if I was going to go back to work. At the time I felt unsure but hoped I would make the right choice when the time approached.

Now I am about to go back, I am still unsure. That’s because whatever I had chosen to do, I’d still feel guilty.

Staying at Home – My Thoughts

If I stay home, I’m relying on my husband’s income which would put a strain on us. Then I’d have to ask him for money – he’d be paying for his own birthday and Christmas presents…

Then what would the rest of the family think? Am I a stay at home Mum or an unemployed person?

I’d also consider the lack of adult company. I could go along to toddler groups, but that involves conversations about babies. I wouldn’t mind that of course, but for how long? My job isn’t particularly challenging mentally, but I still need to do a bit of thinking. However, with baby brain, that makes me nervous.

Going Back to Work – My Thoughts

Then going back to work can have it’s down sides. Apart from the early morning stress of getting everyone up, washed dressed, fed and out of the house on time, there’s the worry of leaving my lovely bundle of joy all day long.

Will the childminder know all of her little quirks? When she’s tired will she just want Mummy? Then there’s the other children who could pick on her. She’s just a baby after all.

Okay, so it’s all about character building and not wrapping her up in cotton wool, but there’s no way I want to miss those milestones. I want to see her first steps.

Make the Most of Maternity Leave

The one thing I made sure I did was savour every day I had with my baby when I was off work. I did things I probably wouldn’t get the chance to do once I was back.

I did every baby group going from Yoga to Zumbini. I even did stuff around the house and garden I wouldn’t normally do.

It can be lonely with a small baby all day long, so I checked out what was going on at the local children centres.

What’s Best for You and Baby

I made the personal choice to return to work part time. That way I could still keep my job with a possibility of going back full time again one day.

As my daughter is getting older, she’s becoming more independent. There’s more to life than hanging out with Mum. She wants to go off and play and learn with the other children. In another year, she’ll be going to pre-school. Then what will I do?

At least going back gives me options. If it works then that’s great. I’ve got a little independence myself, a small amount of income and something else in my life to focus on. It’s all about adjusting and just trying to get the balance right.

If it doesn’t work, then it’s back to the drawing board. I just need to remember why I need a job and why my baby might actually appreciate that 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

Au Pairs: The First Days in Your Home

Au Pairs: The First Days in Your Home

The first few days of having an au pair in your home can feel a bit strange – it’s not easy having someone new in your home. As a working mother you are leaving your children in the care of someone you hardly know, which is also hard. Luckily there are some simple things you can do to help your au pair settle in and feel at ease with your family in their new home.

Make your au pair feel welcome

Your au pair has traveled from another part of the world and is likely to be tired and nervous about their new environment. Make sure their room is ready and perhaps display a ‘welcome’ sign made by your children.

Arrange a few driving lessons for your au pair

Au pairs are permitted to drive, but it’s helpful for them, and comforting for you, if you arrange for them to have a few driving lessons soon after they arrive. You can also let them practise driving a bit. Remember to arrange your insurance to ensure that your car is covered while your au pair is driving.

Come to an agreement about the use of technology

Discuss the expectations that you have of your au pair regarding technology and the use of your internet connection. Bear in mind that your au pair will want to be in contact with his or her family, and will start to develop friendships in the area and will want to communicate with people here and in their home country. Skype is a good option because you can make free calls to other Skype users as well as cheap calls to landlines and mobiles.

Give her or him a few days to acclimatise

Your au pair will need a few days to recover from jet lag, but also needs time to get accustomed to the local area. Let them have some time to unpack their things, spend some time together with you and the kids and take some time to show them around your suburb.

Go food shopping

Take your au pair to the supermarket so that you can show them what foods are available, and to get an idea of their preferences.

Discuss your expectations of the au pair

A good au pair agency will provide you with a handbook that you can fill in with information about the house rules and the au pair’s responsibilities. This helps you as a family to be clear about your expectations and for the au pair to understand what you expect from him or her. Remember that you are establishing a relationship where the au pair will be helping with childcare and will also be part of your family.

During this initial time it is also helpful to show your au pair how you would like things done. This includes whatever responsibilities you expect from them, whether it’s loading the dishwasher, doing the school run or helping with homework.

For more information on how au pairs can help you meet your childcare needs, contact UK-based au pair agency, Smart Au Pairs or visit their website to request a call back. They have years of experience when it comes to successful au pair matching and are ready to help you find your perfect au pair.

Author: Tuuli Liiskmaa on behalf of Smart Au-Pairs. Tuuli Liiskmaa is the owner of the Smart Au Pairs au pair agency. She is passionate about supporting all the Smart Au Pairs host families throughout the au pair placement process right through from their initial consultation to post-arrival help. She goes to great lengths to ensure the best possible match is made between the Smart Au Pairs host families and the au pairs. For more information on how an au pair can help you meet your family’s childcare needs contact reputable au pair agency Smart Au Pairs or visit their website to request a call back.

Top Tips for Working Mothers to Organise your Household and Save Time

Top Tips for Working Mothers to Organise your Household and Save Time

For some women running the household is pretty much a full time job in itself. Throw a couple of kids calendars, a husband and a full time job into the mix and it can get pretty overwhelming when you are a working mother.

Now there are thousands of articles out there telling you what to do to get the perfect work life balance as a full time working mother. I’m not going to do that. I’m simply going to tell you about things that I have found from my own personal experience and professional experience have worked for me, but have also worked for friends.

The things I recommend and why

1. Have a Wall calendar or planner, visible in a well-used communal area. Always add things as soon as you know about them. WHY? Because this gives you a glance first thing to see what the day holds, and will make you unlikely to forget it.

2. Have a good online Calendar. (Google, outlook-there are many fantastic ones out therel). You can sync this with the calendar on your phone and set auto reminders. This works for birthdays too and you can set multiple reminders-one reminder a week in advance and one for the day itself. WHY: We all have smart phones, and we all look at them when they flash or beep. So even if just for a second, that reminder has popped into your thoughts.

3. Register for online grocery shopping, and set up your shopping list. Now this takes time initially, but is great once done. WHY: You can then log in and complete your shop with a few clicks. Obviously there will be things that you want to add from week to week, but these will save in your favourites. This saves tons of time and money-stopping impulse buys and saving you the trip to the store itself.

4. Get to know your post person. WHY? When you know who is delivering your post, you can tell them where you prefer parcels when you’re not home-if they understand you don’t mind things left in the back garden, it means less tickets and less time queuing down the collection office.

5. Have a housework schedule. WHY? If you schedule small daily tasks on most days of the week, and then a clean on one morning of the week, you feel in complete control and the one full day housework can be shelved. Allocate small jobs to the family and put a rota on the fridge. Everyone feels a sense of achievement.

6. Have a gift and stationery stash: Keep a small stash of gifts for both men and women, (I tend to pick these up in offers and sales or if I see something that makes me think of someone I know) and a couple of birthday cards and gift wrap, with a few jiffy bags and a variety of postage stamps. WHY: Everyone forgets a birthday from time to time. The beauty of first class post is that it doesn’t take long. So even if you remember on the day and you get home late, you can select a gift from your stash, wrap it and get it popped into the local post-box on that day and say the gift is on the way. Post is sometimes late. And people are never unhappy receiving another gift a couple days after their birthday.

7. Have a weekly menu plan and prepare as much as possible in advance: Plan your meals for the whole working week. (Something the online shop is very helpful for). This includes breakfast and lunches. If you know what you’re having daily, it means you can just go straight in and do it. After dinner, whilst dad and kids wash up, you can prepare lunch for tomorrow. Keep a backup supply of lunch items too, just in case. Also then set up breakfast. Get the tea cups set in front of the kettle with the tea/coffee and sugar in them for the morning. Fill the kettle ready for morning use. And get the cereals/toast items out and ready to access or chop the fruit and cover ready to eat. WHY? If you spend 10 minutes every evening doing this (while everyone else is in the kitchen with you after dinner anyway) your mornings will just flow, and even if you are running a bit late one morning, it doesn’t matter because everything is good to go. So there are some simple things that you can implement into daily life, that do take a bit of time setting up, but once they are in play, really can make a huge difference.

There are of course methods that can take almost the entire workload from you. You can hire or outsource, both have proven to be very successful in many households. Some hire housekeepers and nannies, but this might not be right for everyone. This is when you might outsource.

Author: Nadia Render. Nadia runs Norfolk Virtual Assistant and offers a range of services remotely. She offers anything from doing the weekly online grocery shop, to booking car MOT’s, renewing insurance and paying bills, arranging appointments; purchasing and sending family birthday cards and gifts, Christmas cards and shopping, (She will even gift wrap). She offers a full support service to working Mums who just haven’t got the spare time for these things (or when they do, they want to be with their children.) She creates a shared calendar for the Mum, where important things are listed and can act as a physical reminder of things so that Mums have one less thing to worry about. Her services start at as little as 1 hour per week. And there are many VA’s out there. She has a network across the UK, so she can delegate when needed.