hello and welcome to our second blog! This one is all about exploring the theme of returning to work following parental leave. We hope you like it!
If you are thinking of going back to work (or have recently returned to work), although we recognise the experience is intensely personal and different for everyone, here are some tips from us here at tiddlers & nippers that we think could be useful in helping to make the transition a little easier….
- Have confidence in yourself. Remember that you were amazing at what you did before, and you will be amazing again! The only thing that has fundamentally changed about you (apart from your new addition/s!) is that you have a whole host of new / freshly honed skills that you can now bring to the table that will be useful to your employer / workplace. For example:
- Networking & Relationship Building – remember all of those NCT coffee’s, meet ups at parent / child groups etc.! All those interactions with new people, talking about new topics and building relationships and friendships!
- Researching – can you recall those frequent late-night baby feeds spent searching the internet for solutions to sleeping / feeding problems, or looking for the best baby products to buy!
- Learning New Information & Concepts – if, like us, you read a few (or lots!) of baby books, just think of all the new topics you now understand and can speak eloquently on! Not to mention the medical knowledge you may now have about pregnancy, childbirth and nursing!
- Negotiation – nothing builds this skill better than negotiating with a toddler having a tantrum!
- Multi-tasking – changing nappies whist simultaneously brushing your teeth and ordering your online shop? Sound familiar?! Arguably no-one is better at multi-tasking than a parent!
- Being Organised – even getting out of the house with little ones requires the organisational skills of a seasoned project manager! Remembering nappies, bibs, snacks, wipes, toys, changes of clothes…. etc etc!
- Don’t be too tough on yourself, there isn’t a magic formula to making it work, and no-one we’ve met has ever felt they have got it 100% nailed. All too often we can feel guilty that we are not spending enough time either with our children or on our work. Just know that there really is no such thing as work/life balance, it is more important that we feel like we have the right sense of work/life blend and that there will be times when one or other parts of our lives need to take priority, we should feel empowered to make the decision as to when those priorities are and act accordingly.
- Give yourself a break; the pace of working life again can feel daunting at first; just know that your first few months will be an adjustment period, just like when you join a new organisation or take on a new role, allow yourself those few months to get back up to speed. If you’re going back into the same organisation you worked for before, we bet you’ll find that some things may have changed, but lots of things will also have stayed the same.
- Workplace flexibility:
- If you need it, be open and honest with yourself about the type of flexibility you will need at the outset (although this can, and likely will, change over time as your children grow), initiate an open dialogue with your employer.
- Once you have agreed on the flexibility you need with your employer, be open with your team and colleagues about it. This is important because firstly you have an opportunity to be a role model for others who want to take flexibility (not always for childcare reasons!), but secondly because you will feel less guilty if everyone knows your working patterns and can help you to be successful in them.
- Have contingency plans in place. Think through what will happen if something goes wrong with your regular childcare, your car breaks down, trains are delayed or if you children are sick. This will help you to feel more at ease when you are at work and more able to focus.
- If you do have to commute, if you can, maybe try to use the time for some ‘me’ timesuch as reading a book, blog or the news or even just relaxing with a coffee rather than working.
- Get a buddy / mentor at work who is also a working parent. They can be a useful sounding board or support for you during good times and the also the tougher ones.
- Try not to let others influence what you feel to be right for you. In our experience, lots of people around you will have an opinion about parents who work, some of those opinions are entirely valid and should be listened to, but try to focus on what feels right for you as a family. One of the most important things for children is happy parents, and if that is a parent who works, then that is right for your family. Feel confident in the decision you make and proud to share it with others, you may help them in their decision making, and again be a role model.
- Lastly think about applying the 80/20 rule. Know that no-one is happy at work 100% of the time, if you can feel happy and fulfilled in your work for around 80% of the time, then know it is the right option for you and your family.
We hope you enjoyed the blog! We’ll start working on our next one soon, stay tuned!
Recently returned (or deliberating a return) to work? Perhaps you are planning for your little one to go into childcare so they can broaden their interactions, or maybe you are looking for a little time to yourself to focus on other things…. Whatever the reason, the tiddler toddler tracker may be for you! It's a handy, well thought-out and user-friendly tracker, designed to ensure you feel connected to everything your little one has been up to while they are away from you!