Every mom is different; some will want to go back to work as soon as possible after having children, and others will want to wait years before thinking about going back to a career. No matter when you choose to go back to work (if you choose to do so at all), you need to be ready. Going too soon will be detrimental you both you and your child. Here are some of the things to consider before heading back out to the world of work.
Before children, going to work wasn’t something that needed a lot of preparation and thought; you walked out of the front door and headed for the station or into your car, for example. When you have children, it is a different matter.
Depending on how old they are, you might have to fit in a visit to a nursery or childminder first, or perhaps work out how to drop them at school. Then there is pick up time; will they make their own way home if they are old enough, or will you need to be there? If they are very small, how will you be able to be there to collect them?
This all needs to be worked out before accepting a job. You may need to talk about flexible working, working from home, or part-time hours if childcare is proving difficult in terms of either money or logistics.
If you have taken a long time off work, you might be feeling as though you need to brush up on your skills. You may have looked at the jobs that you want to do and discovered that they require additional qualifications. This can be solved quite easily by taking an operation management degree online. Take the course at times that suit you and can work around your children, and you will have a brand new, impressive qualification to show employers on your resume.
If the job you want to do requires experience rather than qualifications, start slowly. Take a part-time job and build up your confidence until you feel ready to take the next step. Even if the money is not as high as you would like, gaining the experience is what counts. This will also help you to get used to being at work and not with your children all day, and you will know whether you enjoy the experience or not.
Even if it might feel like it, you are not the only mother who is also working. There are millions of other women just like you out in the workplace, and they will all have similar mixed emotions about it. Try to find support with these women, and you will be able to air your worries and find answers to your questions; you might even be able to help someone else too.
Going online is a great place to start. There will be plenty of forums or groups made solely for exactly this situation, and you can chat to people who understand and who will guide you through the first initial steps of getting back into work.
Don’t forget to look around your workplace too once you are working again. There will be other mothers there, and speaking to them about how they manage their childcare and more will help you greatly.
Choose The Right Time
Going back to work too early is a bad idea, even if you think you have to do it. It is far better to wait until you are ready so that you can enjoy it more. If you go too soon, the feelings of guilt and tiredness and even self-doubt will be too strong, and you will feel as though you have to quit again. Go at the right time and these feelings, although they might still be there, will be much less of a problem.
Whatever you do, choose the right time for you. For some, this will be as soon as possible, for others it will be as late as they can leave it. Still, more won’t go back to work at all, or not until the children have left home. There is no right or wrong; it is your choice.
Talk About Flexible Work
If you see a job that you think would suit you, don’t be afraid of asking about flexible work if that is something you think would benefit you. If you have the skills, knowledge, and qualifications for the job, and you can show that you would be a true asset to the company, then the employer should certainly consider this option. Flexible work includes ideas such as:
- Part-time working
- Late starts/late finishes or early starts/early finishes
- Job sharing
- Working from home
- Compressed hours (working longer hours over fewer days)
Don’t feel as though you have to take a job even if it isn’t right for you. If the employer says no to flexible working, look elsewhere because you would be miserable in the job if you did take it, and that would have a direct impact on your family and home life. It’s just not worth it, especially when there are many more progressive employers who understand why flexible working is how the future of the workplace is going to be.
Remember that flexibility should work both ways, and if you are expecting your employer to be flexible, there will be times when you need to be flexible too. Working together like this will make everyone happy.
Know Your Rights
Knowing your rights will help you to find the right job and be happy working in it. Make sure you research what is and isn’t allowed regarding your children because it could be that you can ask for more than you think.
This becomes even more vital if you are considering having another child. What rights would you have regarding maternity leave and pay? How long would you need to work somewhere to get the benefit? All of this is important to know so that you can plan your career and your life simultaneously, and enjoy both as much as possible.