Thursday, 20 October 2016

Returning to Work - How can you do it

Image credit Eric Froeling via Unsplash

Making the transition from mum back to career woman can be tough. Maternity leave can vary in length, and every mum has a different take, or comfort level. For some women, returning to the work force is a real eye opener. A lot of employers still don't offer flexibility to working mums, which can put pressure on the household when it comes to childcare. Also many women find themselves entering the work-force at a lower level or pay grade than they left.

If you're thinking about returning to work, here are a few tips to help make the change feel a little bit smoother.

• Have a strong childcare plan

Before you do anything else, it's important to sit down and work out a plan of action. Talk to your partner and family, and divide up. It's also useful to calculate the costs of daily or weekly childcare, but also to budget for any emergencies. You can have a solid plan, but accidents do happen and plans shift. So prepare yourself for every eventuality.

• Network

If your current or previous employer won't offer you the flexibility you need, try and find someone who will. This does mean looking for another job, but it could be better in the long run. Meet up with other mums in the same position. Start a mummy club, to meet likeminded women, and try and find the time to attend local women in business meetups. After all, it's not always what you know, but who you know.

Image credit Dai Ke via Unsplash

• Work from home

If you want to test the waters before returning to full time employment, you could try freelancing from home to earn some extra cash. You can set your own hours, and also learn some new skills whilst earning at the same time. There are lots of web based opportunities for mums who have good writing and computer skills. It will also give you the opportunity to test how ready you are to be back in the office. Be aware, you're responsible for your own tax and the hours can be unsociable. If you're not sure what you want to do, then Volunteer. By looking at maternity leave as a career break a world of opportunities can open up. Get in touch with organisations you're interested in and offer your skills. If you're interested in a local charity, and have communication skills then offer them. They'll be grateful for the extra hands, and volunteering can be so much more rewarding when you're using your skillset.

• Be realistic

If you're genuinely not ready to return to work, be realistic with yourself. Don't feel like you have to bend to the pressure or fit in with what the other mums are doing. The fact is, some women just aren't ready when they think they are. Do what comes most naturally and don't be hard on yourself if you don't succeed right away. Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world and when you're ready to take on more, you'll be ready.

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