Updated: Aug 22, 2021
You've just got used to this parenting malarkey when all of a sudden it is time to start planning your return to work and join the Working Mums Club.
For some mums this cannot come soon enough, but for others it brings a lot of anxiety and poses the million dollar question: How can you boss it at being a mum and still be top of your game at work?
There is no 'one size fits all' solution however, there are ways in which you can make both jobs work.
Talk with your employer
Before heading back to work, it is important that you and your employer have had a chat about your return and any changes that may need to happen. Choosing the right childcare will be largely influenced around work, so make sure you know before you get childcare in place what you will need.
It is also important that once you are back to work, that you communicate with your employer if you feel that you are struggling to keep up with everything. A phased return may be useful if your work allows so be sure to find out.
Finding the right childcare
I would not have had the career I have had, without mums heading back to work and one of the biggest worries they face is having the right childcare.
Finding the right childcare can be tough, but a good idea is to ask for nursery and childminder recommendations from friends and others in your local area and then book in visits so you can get a good feel for each place.
If you are looking at having a Nanny, again, asking locally for recommendations is a good start - word of mouth speaks volumes. There are also various online sites you can look at, but always make sure that you look for a DBS check, credible references and what experience and qualifications they hold. A Nanny that has worked long term for a family shows not only commitment, but also that they have plenty of experience with various age groups and that they have been highly valued by their employer.
You could also use a nanny agency who will have done all the checks necessary, which can make life easier for you and offers you some reassurance, but be prepared to pay for their service.
Stop feeling guilty
Once you have your childcare sorted, get on top of your mum guilt. Mum guilt arrives along with the baby and is something that you will never fully be rid of, but heading back to work is not something to feel guilty about.
There will undoubtedly be bad days but there is no reason that you can't be successful in both jobs, you just have to accept the choices that you have made and look for the positives to you being a working mum.
Having a family calendar, so that you can keep track of what everyone is doing and when, is super important and will make your life easier. Also, syncing your work diary to your personal one will help avoid clashes.
Making sure bags are packed and lunches are made the night before helps save time in the mornings if you are needing to drop off to childcare.
Having a Nanny often means you don't have to worry too much about bags and lunches etc but do make sure that you and the nanny are on the same page when it comes to duties. Having a handover book is very helpful so that you are aware of anything that has happened in the day, or of anything that you may need to provide and also so that you can jot down any requests for the nanny. This saves time in the morning but also won't eat into your nanny's evening.
Plan time for yourself
You are no use to work or your family if you are burnt out, so scheduling in some time for yourself is important. In my experience, working mums are the worst for not looking after themselves, they are dedicated to both their jobs, which is great but it always leads to burn out and subsequently being unable to fulfil both their roles.
Fit time in to exercise, read a book or meet up with friends and try to eat well and get enough sleep.
Plan fun family time
You may feel that you don't have enough time to spend with your family ,so making the time you do get quality and fun is important. It doesn't really matter what you do, as long as you are doing it together, ensuring that you are away from your emails and not talking about work.