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Going back to work after having a child is tough. You’ve had a wonderful, tiring and eye-opening time while you’ve had leave from work and have been getting to know your new arrival. Tearing yourself away can be emotionally difficult, but the time constraints and practical arrangements that have to be made when you go back to work are difficult too. The most important thing to remember is to make decisions that work for you and your family and put your wellbeing first, keeping in mind that it’s ok to make compromises and you don’t have to be everything to everyone at all times. Here are a few tips to consider when you’re trying to balance your time as a working parent.
Make one weeknight a special night
It doesn’t have to be the same night every week, but setting aside one week night to do something as a family together, even if it’s just watching a film, is really worthwhile. It gives you the peace of mind that you’ll be able to spend quality time with your children at some point during a busy week. You can catch up with their news, it’ll give you a much-needed rest and you can connect with your kids.
Prepare things the night before
This is easier said than done and sometimes the last thing you want to do when you get in, tired and weary from work is to prepare things for the next day. If you decide on what you want to wear for the next day, make sure your child’s uniform and P.E kit are ironed and set out and lunch is made, it can mean you’ll be more relaxed in the morning and everything won’t be an almighty rush.
If you’re lucky enough to have parents or friends nearby that can help you with childcare, then it’s worth seeing if they can help you out from time to time or more regularly, whatever you feel will make a difference. If there’s someone else who can pick your child up from football practice or gymnastics, it means that your children can get involved in activities, as they won’t have to always fit around your schedule. A strong support network can help you and your children to be more relaxed.
Life as a working parent can be more stressful if you’re constantly trying to juggle dates and commitments in your head and your children are springing play-dates and birthdays on you that you aren’t prepared for. So, write things down. It sounds simple, but it can really make a difference. Have a family calendar in the kitchen and try to encourage everyone to add to it throughout the week, so you can organise everyone’s time accordingly.
Allocate your time
Be realistic and only allocate your time to things that really need your attention. Otherwise you’ll end up spending time doing things that aren’t necessary during the week when you could be spending it on more important activities and reasons.
Keep in mind that working and being a parent is hard and it’s okay to get help from other people and it’s okay to admit that it is difficult to juggle the two. Look after yourself and make decisions that are best for you and your family.