09 June 2016

Is It the Right Time to Go Back to Work After Childbirth?

Having kids changes your life. There’s no getting away from that. It will change your outlook, your body, and even your inner strength. But the way it changes you is unique. No other mother will feel the same way as you or be affected by parenthood in the same way. That’s why it is so difficult to know when the best time is for going back to work. We’re all in different jobs too, so it’s a tricky question to answer.

You may not be sure that now is the best time to head back into your job. There may be pressure from your workplace or career progression. Maybe there is a social pressure building up that sways your decision one way or the other. Perhaps the biggest pressure on you right now is a financial one. It can be expensive to raise children. Without your full salary, it could be difficult to cover all your bills.

Many mothers want to return to work so they can reclaim some of the life they had to leave behind when they had their baby. This is a normal reaction to a huge change in our lives. We miss our colleagues and friends at work. We miss being productive and earning rewards from success. We can also worry that our career aspirations may have to be abandoned. It is possible to get back to work and continue up the career ladder. But there may have to be some sacrifices.

If you are still nursing your baby, this can be difficult to manage when you spend the day away from her. Pumping is something many women prefer to do in private, but there is rarely any privacy in the workplace. You may feel it is necessary to give up breastfeeding. This can be very upsetting for you. Moving over to formula may not be something you are ready to do just yet.

You will also miss your baby for the hours you are away from him. This doesn’t get easier with time, but there are benefits for both of you. Interacting with other children at a daycare can be good for little ones. Many child carers are well equipped to provide nurturing activities that promote healthy development. As parents, we can’t always do that for our kids alone.

Managing your home could be more tricky if you head back to work. However, many of the residential house cleaning experts you can hire will do a great job. This will save you having to give up your quality time with your kids when you get home. Laundry services and housekeepers can also help you make every second of your home time count by saving you from the household chores. Grocery deliveries can help you avoid having to head out to the store, too.

There are many ways you can juggle your home life and your working life. Of course, it isn’t always necessary for you to return to work full time. You may be able to take on part-time hours. This can be handy at Christmas to buy extra gifts. Or maybe you could do some hours working from home. Working from home is possible thanks to online working systems. However, it isn’t necessarily practical if you are also caring for your child at home at the same time. They can be distracting and demanding of your time. It can lead to stress and poor work performance. It is quite difficult to juggle.

So, how do you know if it is the right time to return to your job? Everyone is different, and that feeling of certainty may never come. Sometimes you just have to try it out and see how it goes. If you need the money, you could consider other ways to earn that fit in around your child’s nap times. Home working on the internet may allow this. But you also need to remember that if your child is young enough to need naps, you might need that nap time to rest yourself. Raising kids is exhausting!

You are entitled to take your full maternity leave. Your employer may not be able to hold open your exact role, though. While you are guaranteed a job when you return, although it may not be identical to the one you left to have your baby. This is a big consideration for some women. If this is something you’re worried about, it may be worth considering employment elsewhere. You may want a role with greater flexibility so you can reduce the amount of childcare you are relying on.

Of course, there is no rule that says you ever have to go back to your job. When your maternity leave expires, you might choose to hand in your notice and become a stay at home mother. Many parents find that the early years are important to them as a family. They want to be the ones raising their children and nurturing their development. It can be financially tricky to manage. It can sometimes be quite lonely. But your kids will never be that age again. These are the years you can choose what you want to do.

Even when they reach school age, there is still no legal requirement for you to return to work. After all, there will be odd days when your children are feeling sick and need to stay at home. Plus, summer vacation is long! Someone needs to take care of the children for several weeks. You may even choose to school your children yourself at home. Many parents are having success with this challenge. Children can still continue on to college and other educational establishments if they choose to.

As parents, we do have choices. But sometimes those choices can involve sacrifices. You may have less money coming in if you don’t work. Or you may miss your children when you are at work. Guilty feelings come with the territory of parenting. You can’t always let that influence making a decision that you know to be the best option for your family. When did you go back to work? Let me know in the comments below!