Going back to work is stressful for most mothers. Whether you’ve been on maternity leave or you’ve been a longstanding stay-at-home mom, you’re going to go through a big life transition. Here are some tips for re-entry moms to make the transition smooth and stress-free.
Arrange Reliable Childcare
Your children will remain at the forefront of your mind while you work. Knowing they’re in good hands will make it easier to focus on your job. Find reliable childcare that fits your work schedule, budget, etc. If your spouse is going to stay home with the children, make sure your schedules coincide. Contact other friends and family members who will be willing to watch your children during emergency situations. Have a plan for every possible scenario, and you will feel more confident about returning to work.
Gradually Go back to Work, If Possible
If you have a change to slowly transition back to work, take it. Perhaps you start as a part time employee before shifting to full time work. At minimum, keep your schedule light for the first few weeks on the job. It will take time to get your mind back into work mode and establish new routines. Give yourself as much time as possible to make those adjustments.
Meal Prep before Returning to Work
As a stay-at-home mom, a large portion of your day is spent preparing meals for your family. You might not have that kind of time when you get back to work. Plan ahead. Look for recipes that you can prepare quickly. Make some casserole dishes that you can store in the freezer. On busy work days, you can count on those quick and easy meals. You can continue to do this as a working mom once you have a handle on your schedule. The prep work now will simply ease your stress during the first few weeks.
Be Realistic with Your Daily Schedules
If it takes 30 minutes to get your kids ready for school, don’t allot 40 minutes for your entire morning routine. You must be realistic about the time each task takes. If you only have 20 minutes to make dinner, plan meals that will fit in that timeframe. If your commute is 45 minutes on a good day, give yourself an extra 15 minute buffer. Being crunched for time will increase your stress and anxiety. You can easily avoid that with some preparation.
Keep Your Work Time and Family Time Separate
It’s important to establish a work/life balance. When you get home from work, stop thinking about work. Don’t check your work emails unless absolutely necessary. Put your work phone in another room. Focus all your attention on your family and yourself. This will do wonders for your mental health.
Be Proud of Your Former Job (Stay-at-Home Mom Is a JOB!)
Don’t be embarrassed about being out of the workforce. You’ve been raising a human being! Celebrate that and all the hard work you’ve put in over the years. You know how to multi-task with the best of them. You can function on two hours of sleep. You see things from a unique perspective now. That’s an asset, not a liability.
Want to Talk to Someone about Your Stress?
Heron Ridge Associates offers many counseling services for parents. From couples therapy to co-parenting counseling to anxiety therapy and more – you will be matched with the best counselor for your unique needs. Share your stress in a confidential setting, and learn personalized solutions to address it. The better your mental health is, the easier it will be to tackle big life transitions. Your therapist will be there every step of the way. Contact the location nearest to you to get started.