After years of crushing the most rewarding job ever, raising your children full-time, you’re about to return to the workplace. You feel conflicted. Transitions may not necessarily be your thing.
Don’t worry! We’ve compiled eight tips to support your workforce re-entry with an emphasis on minimizing stress. Remember that becoming a mom in the first place was an epic transition. You handled that, and you can totally tackle going back to work.
- Research Day Care Options
Before you put together an updated resume and start considering jobs, do what you do best: Consider the kids first. Make it a priority to be completely comfortable with your day care choice at the get-go. Take your time and research options in-depth.
Start with a uniform list of questions for site visits so you can compare responses. Seek word-of-mouth recommendations. Ask for permission to observe. Getting the feel of a center can be just as important as your checklist of requirements.
- Consider Employment Goals
What are your immediate employment goals? Are you shooting for a full-time position in a career projected for retirement? Do your short-term intentions center on supplementing income while maintaining priority of your child’s schedule?
First and foremost, remember that you are returning to the workforce as a mom. Your most recent position has been that of homemaker. Perhaps a transition back to the workplace might be less stressful all around if you consider employment in the ever-expanding field of child care. In this scenario, both you and your child will operate under similar programming timetables during initial adjustment periods.
- Prepare for Emergencies
Wherever you end up working, make sure there’s a plan in place for unexpected sick days, doctor appointments, snow delays and center breaks. Discuss with your spouse, family and friends who might be available for pick-up under what circumstance. Compile a shared list of backup possibilities. You’ll rest easier knowing — one way or another — your child is covered in the event of an emergency.
- Find a Big Calendar
If there’s ever a time to streamline family communication, it’s now. With multiple schedules to consider — including transportation issues — you’ll be grateful to know it’s all written down in one central hub.
Designate a different color pen for each family member. If you have older children, make sure to hang the calendar at a height they can easily view. Color-coding may sound obsessive, but it encourages individual focus and keeps the big picture from getting too overwhelming.
To that end, it also helps to be mindful of not overscheduling. Give yourself permission to keep one or two nights a week completely plan-free. Hold your resolve, even if something tempting comes up. In the long run you’ll all be grateful for the break.
- Share the Load
As a stay-at-home mom, you’ve likely been doing most of the household chores. That’s about to change. Divvy up laundry, cleaning and shopping tasks. Assign older children age-appropriate duties, such as putting away toys and wiping counters. Discuss with your spouse how you might alternate shopping and laundry responsibilities.
You may not be ready to assume the financial commitment of regular housekeeping service, but consider hiring an agency once or twice a month for heavy cleaning. Especially during times of transition, every little bit helps.
- Plan Meals
It might be valuable to prepare a weekly menu and subsequent grocery list. Even if you deviate from the plan, your kitchen will be well-stocked for alternative meal choices. Try to think in terms of cooking in bulk. You’ll have plenty of leftovers and fixings for packed lunches if you double up recipes.
Consider researching make-ahead meals and one-pot wonders. The less time you spend in food prep during crunch times after work, the better!
- Alter Your Mindset
For years, the children have been the center of your attention and your home was managed single-handedly. It’s helpful to focus on learning to trust others with homemaking tasks and allow that they will not be accomplished exactly as you would have done them. Try to keep the big picture in mind. Your husband may not fold clothes so they fit easily into bureau drawers, but he is folding laundry.
Can you also alter the perception of what you might be able to accomplished in any given day and roll with it? The way you see and define yourself is about to expand meaningfully. See if you can maintain positivity even when things get sketchy. Both you and your family are experiencing significant growth. Respect it!
- Take Care of Yourself
You know this to be true. In the transitional dance of trying to be a conscientious employee, perceptive mom and still-there partner, the last thing you’ll focus on is self-care.
Now more than ever, you need to eat well and put yourself to bed on time. Recruit the family’s help for this. Can your older children read you a bedtime story? Why not ask for healthy snack suggestions and offer to make them together? Your co-chefs will love the opportunity for alone time with you.
Maybe the best outcome of transitioning from stay-at-home to working mom is the chance it gives your family to work as a team. Now — more than ever — you’ve got the home team