Going back to work after maternity leave is bound to raise some practical issues. Issues such as finding good quality child care, dealing with child care expenses, getting adjusted to a new daily routine and managing additional workload. Oh and also still being a Mum and juggling work into the mix.
Before you decide to make the transition and return to your office/professional work space, take the time to understand that you will need some time to adjust. You may suddenly feel that you have two huge jobs to handle and absolutely no help. This happens in most cases because the load of domestic duties is typically left up to the woman. Therefore, the first step that you need to take is to sit down with your partner. Have a discussion on distributing domestic responsibilities in a fair way for the future. Can your partner bath the baby while you get dinner ready? What tasks and activities do you need to do during the week and who will be responsible for them? In my household my hubby does the dishes and I do the laundry.
A great way to manage your work and home together is to try and find a flexible job. One which allows you to work on your own time and does not necessarily require you to be present in the office for a fixed number of hours or days. Modern employment has changed dramatically. It’s not difficult to find employers who are willing to offer such flexible positions. Or if you are returning to your workplace that you were at before Maternity leave – can you discuss with your Supervisor about flexible hours and work conditions – can you adjust your hours or work from home?
Around the house
As far as the home front is concerned, you would need to plan certain things in advance to avoid stress and confusion. Shopping and having meals planned for is a big one. Meal planning while working and juggling a family helps immensely. Knowing you have the ingredients for various meals to prepare after work helps relieve stress. Also you could bake some dinners and store them in the freezer so that you always have an instant microwave heated meal at your disposal. Putting meals into the slow cooker can also help enormously. It will mean having a meal ready when you arrive home. Also saves you having to cook when you get home!
Finding a reliable child care facility (if the other parent is working too) can be challenging. To trust someone else to care for your baby can make most Mums very anxious. Try to find a childcare that is used by your other mummy friends. If you are looking for recommendations on child care you can also ask in the Darwin Family Life Community Hub facebook group. This is a great group to connect with other families in Darwin. There are many options for child care including long daycare centres, family daycare and grandparents/relatives if they are also in Darwin.
The transition back to work after being on Maternity leave can be a challenge. Just remember you are not alone. Take it one day and one week at a time. Easing back into work part time if permissible is a great way to slowly learn how to adjust to the new schedule of balancing work and family life.