Life as a stay-at-home mum can be tough-going, but as with so many other things, we tend to reach a certain ‘comfort zone’ once we get into a routine. We can fully relate to how daunting it can be, then, to re-enter the workplace after taking some time out to focus on your children.
It’s hard to go from being a ‘stay-at-home’ mum back to a ‘working’ mum (double the workload, and all that), but there are ways to make it easier on yourself – and the key is in the preparation.
So, with that in mind, here are some key tips to make the transition that little bit more seamless. Just remember, mums; be gentle on yourselves.
1. Turn to your support system
As with any major life change, it’s really important not to go through this transition alone. So, turn to your loved ones for that extra little bit of support, advice and positive affirmation you need to make this a success.
Family and friends – especially your fellow mums – will be a great source of support and care during this time, and will give you that extra motivation in moments of doubt and vulnerability.
2. Arm yourself with experience
We mentioned your mum friends above – not only will they have your back when you need it the most, but those who have made the transition from stay-at-home to working mum will be an invaluable source of knowledge.
Make a date, grab a coffee, sit down and thrash it all out. Ask for her warts-and-all account, including the highs and the lows, and how she dealt with the experience. Not only will this prepare you mentally and emotionally, but it could be really valuable if you hit a speed-bump along the road.
3. Upskill, if you need to
Once you have made the decision to go back to work, it’s important to research exactly how you are going to make that transition. If you are heading back to the same industry, will you need to up-skill? Or if you are planning on changing professions, will you need to re-skill entirely?
While this may seem like a daunting task, it could make all the difference when it comes to making the return to work as seamless as possible. There are dedicated organisations that can help you along this process, among them the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
The HEA runs an initiative called Springboard+, aimed at up-skilling and re-skilling job-seekers for sectors that are looking for staff. The programme - which offers courses at certificate, degree and masters level - has been credited with helping many people get back into the workforce. Win!
4. Ask for help if you need it
We’re talking emotional and physical help, here – after all, that’s what a loving and dedicated support system is there for.
It is very likely that you will need help when it comes to childcare and maintaining the home, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.
If you have a partner, sit down with them and figure out how you can make your schedule work. Also, make enquiries regarding Government schemes that will provide financial aid during this transition.
5. Don’t put yourself under pressure
Last but certainly not least, be kind to yourself, Mum. This is a really big decision to make, and there will be highs and lows.
The important thing here, is to be kind and patient with yourself, and not to heap on the pressure. Arm yourself with as much research and knowledge as possible, and lean on your loved ones for that extra encouragement. Remember; baby steps!