5 ways to support parents going back to work
Returning to work after maternity or paternity leave can feel a bit like a balancing act*. From managing your emotions on being separated from your little one for the first time (if you work from the office) to mustering up your professional persona. We’re parents too, here at Kendamil, soo we’ve been there and felt it all.
We understand how important it is to have the right support during this time. So, we’re offering our help with some advice to ease you back to work in the most efficient way!
💬 Talk to your line manager 💬
Before you make your transition, have a chat with your boss or line manager about easing back into your work routine. Trust us, this makes a world of difference.
Your manager can help ease any concerns or fears you may have, help make your new routine a little easier for you, and perhaps even give you allotted time and space to manage your new-parent duties (ie: if you need flexible hours, if you need space to use a breast pump or if you need to leave early/ come in late due to nursery or childcare).
Top things to discuss:
- Make sure your boss is up to speed on REALISTIC goals. Don’t over-promise anything and make sure you communicate how you’re feeling about getting back to work.
- Your new hours (if you’ve adjusted them). Flexible working hours are a common option for new mums and dads who want to ease back into their job. Job-sharing, compressed hours, change to part-time and remote working are also some great options.
- What you need to have prepared beforehand (especially important if your job is high pressure).
- Any concerns you may have prior to starting.
- Regular check-ups and 1:1s might also be beneficial.
👶 Have childcare planned! 👶
You don't want to leave anything to the last minute - so planning out nursery/ childcare* times, schedules and pick ups/drop offs in advance is a lifesaver here.
It’s also REALLY important to make sure your little one is used to being away from you, before you go back to work. Taking short outings (grabbing a coffee or taking a trip to your local store are great) works really well - plus they give you a bit of a break from getting too overwhelmed, which is always a bonus when you have small children!
If your child is too young for nursery, having one reliable and consistent childminder, nanny or family friend is very useful. This gets your child used to spending chunks of time with this specific person. So, you’re not going to be biting off more than you can chew by going back to work AND putting your little one in a situation they’re not used to.
- Make a schedule. A note on your calendar or diary might help.
- Consider flexible hours, so you have time to pick up and drop off your little one (or relieve your childminder of their duties for the day!).
- Have snacks and food prepared for your nursery/ childcare pick ups.
- Have snacks and food prepared for yourself!
- Chat to your childminders well in advance if you need to make specific arrangements, ie: keeping your little one for longer or adjusting their scheduled times to accommodate yours.
👚 Get organised the day before. 🧺
Leading us onto our next topic, make sure you’re fully prepared and organised the day before. This can help to save time in the mornings and keep that stress and rush at bay!
Top tips for the day before:
- Prep your lunch! Both yours AND your little ones!
- Make sure you have your work clothes planned out. This saves SO MUCH time!
- If your little one is going out to nursery or childcare centre, pack a ‘childcare bag’ for them. This will usually contain an extra pair of clothes, some extra bottles, expressed breastmilk or formula and some of your little one’s favourite toys. Prepping this bag in advance saves you lots of time and effort on the day - making your morning routine so much easier! Need some inspo? We got you covered!!
- Plan out your commute (if you’re commuting) the day before. Are you taking a car or bus? Arrange your timings accordingly and try to get ahead of any public transport delays.
🚗 Practice going to work and taking your baby to nursery in advance. 🚗
This will help you figure out how long everything takes so that you can be fully prepared for your first day back at work! It will also help you identify what you need to bring for nursery too.
- Plan out your route from nursery to work and back.
- Accommodate your schedule for rush hour traffic!
- Take note of how long the journey takes, and plan your routine accordingly.
For more support check out our ‘Childcare Tips’ blog with our resident baby-guru, Lauren The Nanny!
💼 Prepare responses to colleagues. 💼
We know it can be an emotional first day back, so having control of what you plan to say will help you a lot, so you’re not so overwhelmed. Being open and honest with a few colleagues you’re close to can make all the difference.
- Reserve some time (such as during lunch) to chat to your colleagues - remember they probably missed you and want to know how you’re doing!
- REMEMBER: you don’t have to answer any questions you aren’t comfortable answering! Your private life is your own. Shut down any questions you aren’t happy to answer with a firm, polite reply.
💙 You’ll be fine! 💙
Above all, remember that you’re not the first and you’re certainly not the last to be going through this new transition. Be patient with yourself! Here are some of our favourite ways to manage self-doubt and anxiety during this tricky transition:
🌟 Be kind to yourself. Don’t expect to be perfect, immediately. It’s okay to feel a little inexperienced, rusty, vulnerable or low during the first few weeks. It’ll pass.
🌟 Expect to miss your little one!! Separation anxiety is to be expected and totally normal. Let yourself feel all the emotions - better they’re out than in!!
🌟 You may feel excited! Reports of parents being excited to return to work are more and more common - especially in women*. And that’s totally normal! There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re anticipating your return back - you’re allowed to have other passions and feel empowered as a working individual.
🌟 Talk to a trusted colleague about how you’re feeling. Especially colleagues who’ve been through this exact same experience. They might be able to help nurture you back to work.
And, above all, remember that this tricky transition will pass. You got this, KendaFam!!
👩 Our customer service team are fellow mums and dads, too! 👨
Need some bespoke support for your return to work? Or some advice on what to say to your manager? We got you. Our customer support team of mums and dads have helped thousands of parents - and we’re here for you!
And speaking of more support…
Why not check out our other child-support blogs? We have all you need on forging your own path as a parent:
- How to manage ‘overwhelm’ as a parent
- How to overcome ‘comparenting’
- The top 5 ways to respond to parenting criticism