Whether you're a first-time mum or a seasoned veteran, going back to work and leaving your little ones can be tough.
It's a stressful time and even the most composed of mums can feel flustered at the thoughts of going back to work.
These are some tips to help you and your family prepare for the big adjustment.
1. Research all your childcare options
An au-pair or nanny? Family member or a crèche?
Think carefully about which is the best option for you and your children.
Ask other mums for advice and opinions but remember the choice is ultimately yours.
Don't be afraid to make changes if you feel your first option is not working out.
2. Check your tax credits
If you are a single parent, you may be able to claim extra tax credits.
3. Look up your entitlements
Some companies offer flexible working hours or days to accommodate childcare needs.
If your work will allow you to job-share, work from home occasionally or work different hours, it could make all the difference to your schedule.
4. Go through your working wardrobe
Try on your work clothes in advance of the big day.
There's nothing more stressful than finding your old reliable work shirt won't fit anymore!
Buy whatever new items you need and check what needs to be repaired or dry-cleaned.
Try on your work shoes also, make sure they are comfortable enough.
5. Talk to your children about the changes
If your child is old enough to understand, explain to them where you'll be and who will take care of them.
There will probably still be some tears and confusion in the first few weeks but keep reassuring them and they should be just fine.
6. Introduce gradual changes in the routine
Rather than spring a new routine on your kids, try leaving them with your partner or a family member for longer periods.
If you're employing a child-minder, invite them over to meet your children in a casual setting.
This will allow them a chance to build a rapport with your children and make both parties comfortable.
7. Be prepared for changes at work
If you haven't worked professionally for a few years, you may need to learn new software or new skills.
Check in with your old colleagues or if it's a new role, ask someone to help you find your feet.
If you're returning to an old job, ask your boss for a brief meeting beforehand to clarify if your role and responsibilities are still the same.
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