Returning to work: things to consider
Returning to work after having a baby is a deeply personal decision, which is often complicated by not only your desire to do the best thing for your baby, but access to childcare and your family finances.
- Have all the information. Making decisions without all the information is hard. If not impossible. Don’t be afraid to ask what your employer’s policy on returning to work is early. Find out if you’re entitled to work part time, if you can extend your parental leave and if there is a carer’s policy in place. Knowing these things well before you need them will make it easier later.
- If you don’t ask… As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. If your work place doesn’t have defined family friendly policies, ask and see what can be arranged. And don’t forget – your partner might also have options at their workplace.
- Look at childcare early. It may seem silly to be looking at childcare when you’re still pregnant, but those stories of childcare shortages often aren’t exaggerated. Take the time to tour a few centres in your area, ask questions about wait lists and even if you’re not ready to enroll, you’ll at least have an understanding of what’s out there when (and if) you are ready.
- It’s OK to put yourself first. That’s it. You can do that and sometimes, you should.
- Don’t compare. Remember – you know intimately what’s in your ‘pretty much everything else’ bucket, and understand what influences play into any decisions. You don’t know everybody else’s. Comparing your situation to your neighbours, your mother’s group friends, or anyone else, will lead to trouble. Only you know what is best for your family.