I’ve made it through three weeks of work and I’ve suvived! No tears, no children left at the wrong place and absolutely no I idea how I’m still standing.
With it being my second time around, I decided to draw on my experiences from returning to work with Boy1. It was a bit hectic with a mish-mash of childcare arrangements, but I did take away a few lessons. So here’s what I reminded myself to do:
- Pack the night before
Whether it’s your laptop, a clarinet or spare nappies, do it. Then you can rest easy knowing it’s done. A ten minute job at night will take half an hour in the morning.
2. Expect the unexpected
After spending so many months at home, this is pretty obvious, but it becomes so real when work is thrown into the mix.
Get up earlier than you think you need to. Even if it’s just 5 minutes, it gives you time to double and triple check everything is done and packed before you leave the house.
3. Leave work ON TIME
This might sound hard to do, but try to get into the habit of doing it, especially if you have to rush to collect little ones from childcare. Getting out on time and picking up on time means less stress and less tears, believe me.
4. Don’t answer (too many) queries on your day off
If you are are able to return part time, remember your salary will be part time too. You’ve taken a day off to spend with your child and you’ve sacrificed a chunk of your salary for it! Set expectations from day one, making it clear that you are not at work. Don’t be rude about it, be professional. Let people know they can call you in an emergency but not just because they can’t find the stapler. Believe me, people can solve problems without you there! Do this from day one, or you’ll set yourself on a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ll be bitter that you are working extra hours unpaid, your colleagues will think you are moody, and your child will wish they were back at nursery.
5. Build a support network
Hopefully during your mat leave you’ve been able to build some kind of support network of a emergency contacts. Friends, family, neighbours, other parents who are willing to help in case of emergency. Having a few people to turn to can be a weight off your mind.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
If the dishes are done for just one night, don’t worry. If your child’s top isn’t ironed within an inch of its life, it’s really not an issue. Things won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t matter. Just keep going and keep trying. And if all else fails, a big cuddle makes it all better. Go to bed and start again tomorrow. Just remember, you’re doing a great job.