After having a baby, some people are happy to become full-time stay-at-home moms/dads. Others are eager to get back to work in order to get a break from the chaos of parenthood. In other cases, people may have no choice but to go back to work in order to provide for their child.
In all cases, going back to work isn’t easy. Having a child is a big change of lifestyle and you may not be able to simply pick off where you left. Here are just some of the big things to consider when going back to work after having a baby.
Know when you’re ready
Whether you return to work several days or several years after having a baby, it’s important that you’re ready. Make sure that you’re in good health – if you’re still recovering from birth injuries or you’re not in a good place mentally, it may not be a good time to return to work (although in some cases, going back to work could help conditions like postpartum depression).
You also need to get childcare arranged. Who will look after your child while you are working? In some rare cases, you may be able to work and look after your child, but you need to be certain that you can focus on your work (and still look after your little one).
Compare childcare options
You may be able to rely on a partner, family member or friend to look after your child while you are working. If this is not possible, you may have to look into professional care.
There are lots of forms of toddler care from preschool services to babysitters. Childcare options for infants are limited, but they still exist (few people will look after newborns and you may find that your baby has to be a minimum of eight weeks old). Take your time to compare pricing, availability and reviews. You may want to spend time getting to know them to form a bond of trust.
Discuss flexible working options with your employer
Many employers are willing to cater to parents’ needs. Even if the company rarely allows people to work set hours, an employer may be willing to let you choose your hours so that you can easily arrange childcare. In office-based companies, there may even be the option to work from home, allowing you to be near your child. Don’t be afraid to bring up these options if your employer doesn’t mention them first.
Ease yourself back in
If you’ve been away from work for a while, it may be unwise to take on big roles or projects straight away. Find a way of easing yourself in gradually so that you’re not overexerting yourself. Some people choose to work part time hours at first in order to get back into the swing of things. Make sure to discuss these options with your employer.