Planning a return to work and worrying about managing the whole parenting-plus-work scenario? Mumsnetters who've made the successful transition offer these tips to get you through.
Getting childcare sorted is key to the rest of the returning-to-work process.
- Book your childcare early, ie when you've plenty of time to look round properly and find a creche/childminder etc you're happy with.
- Make sure you have a back-up plan.
- And have a back-up plan for when the first back-up plan goes belly-up.
Smoothing the transition
These Mumsnet-approved ploys will ensure you're physically and mentally ready:
- Try on your work outfits and make sure you have tights, shoe polish and accessories. Make sure everything still fits, or invest in some new basics if you are not the shape you were when working before.
- If possible, have a couple of days with the baby in childcare before you go back.
- Use any accrued holiday to build up to full time.
Being back in the office
If you feel like crap on day one - honestly, things will improve. Your baby will be just fine, as long as you're happy with the childcare you've arranged. It's you who will need to adjust.
- Be prepared for the fact that you'll feel like you've done a day's work before you even get to work.
- If you do not get back into the swing with colleagues, keep an open mind and discuss it.
- Remind your bosses of what makes you so valuable to them.
Juggling family and work is the job of both parents (even if you're not with the dad anymore).
- Discuss what you both want for your kids, then working out the best way both of you can contribute to that and how you'll share responsibilities.
- It's not just a mum-thing. Men can be stay-at-home parents, can work part-time, pick kids up from nursery/childminder/school, too.
- Prioritise family time at weekends, remembering that 'No' is a complete sentence, and refusing to feel guilty about anything.
And remember, the golden rule is:
Don't talk about work all the time at home and (probably more important) don't talk about your kids all the time at work.