Returning to work after a long absence can be one of the most challenging things a woman faces. The emotional hurdles of leaving her children can compound the normal working-day stresses.
There are a lot of questions that a mother has to answer before she can get into a good routine on the job. Finding the right answers is key to making a successful transition back into the workforce.
Here’s a look at ways to address those questions in a way that strikes the right balance between work and family.
Start With The Right Job
Before anything else can fall into place, a working mom needs to find a job that will work with her lifestyle. One obvious choice is telecommuting, which enables workers to stay at home and work a flexible schedule that makes child care a little easier. But that’s not necessary when the kids have started school.
Other employers recognize the work-life balance needed by families today and build some flexibility into their jobs. Eagle Home Mortgage has successfully recruited working parents into various loan officer positions. Their industry is ideal for family-friendly jobs because most of their clientele are families who are looking for a lender who can work with their own busy schedules.
Other options can have an intense, but short work week that allows time for travel and other pursuits that you might otherwise think would be sacrificed with a return to work.
Have A Plan For Household Functions
One of the big sources of stress for moms returning to work is the struggle to keep up all the housework. While it’s true that there won’t be as many dirty dishes or messy rooms with the kids (and the mom) out of the house for most of the day, there will still be the routine things that have to be done.
Before returning to work, track your daily household work. You may surprise yourself at how much you really accomplish during the day. Then sit down with the whole family and plan out how everyone is going to pitch in when Mom goes back to work. (Accept that the kids may not dust as well as you.)
Think of meals, too. There are lots of options for pre-planning meals that minimize prep time through the week. Use your weekend to get some of the work done so that work nights involve simply putting something in the oven.
Know How To Cover For Yourself
No matter how well you plan things, you’ll still have those occasions when you have to work late, go out of town, or otherwise be absent from the family. The anxiety this represents for moms is huge.
The key is to have a plan in place beforehand. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants when something happens, have a system already figured out. If Mom has to go out of town until late tonight, Grandma is option #1 for picking up the kids, then Mom’s BFF Melanie, and so on. Know the availability of your backups and whom to contact first.
And when work requires overnight travel, have a plan to make the reunion extra sweet when you get home. Bring a gift for the kids, or make plans for a special meal your first night home. A lot of the sadness your kids experience will wash away when Mom has a way to get a big smile when they get home!
Going back to work has the potential to do so many good things in your life. Self-esteem, extra money, and good lessons for your kids can all be found. The most important thing is to manage your return to work in a way that maximizes the good and minimizes the bad. Striking the right balance will make your career a success for everyone.