Posted on August 2016 By Speller International
Barbara Bertes – SAP BA/ Change and Training Consultant
Returning to work after time home with your child can hold mixed emotions – what were you most apprehensive about? What were you most looking forward to?
Returning to work is a personal choice for every mother. Some mums like to stay at home longer and go back to work after their child starts primary school. Some like to take the standard 12 month maternity leave, and some even start their own home business to be close to their child and have that flexibility.
With my first, I received a call for returning to a project with a client that I had previously worked for. I immediately jumped at the idea, because Christos was 11 months old, and I was mentally ‘dying’ to return to work. And, of course (this may be a little vain), to get back into my corporate clothes. The interview was on a day that I couldn’t actually get anyone to babysit, so when the Project Manager told me not to worry and bring him to the interview, I thought this was definitely starting to look positive. So, for the first time in my life I went to an interview (dressed in my top notch suit gear) and, dressed my son in his ‘interview’ gear (baby chinos, a shirt with a killer smile and hair style). Turns out, he put on his usual charm, and I landed the contract.
It ‘was’ hard returning to work. But, as I sit and wonder about this. I have to ask myself looking back – was it really hard? Not really. Was it absolutely worth it and had I made the right choice? Absolutely.
Returning to work, for me was regaining my identity. Of course, I now was a mother – a proud mother at that. But, for me it was important to not lose sight of what and who I was. I loved my career, and worked hard for it. So for me, the biggest thing to look forward to was working on projects and gaining experience, meeting new people and all the rewarding things of consulting. I was most apprehensive and anxious of how someone else would look after my child. But, turns out that quickly diminished as the weeks went on and we all settled into a routine.
At the end of the day, it was working out and everyone was happy. If it didn’t work the way I had hoped, then I would have found a solution for everyone to be comfortable.
With my second child, I went back to work (part time contract work) a lot sooner as the opportunity presented itself, and I wanted the work/ life balance sooner.
As I said it’s a personal choice and you do what works for you and your family at this time. Don’t be scared, take the plunge and see how you go. If it doesn’t work out, then change your situation and do what needs to be done to get you through.
What challenges have your faced?
My biggest challenges as a mum is performing my absolute best at work and performing my absolute best at home. As a consultant my challenges are as anyone in this position would face. Deadlines, pressures, relationships and so on. The way I deal with this pressure is always prioritise and set myself goals for each day. I ensure I work through priority lists, and ensure I communicate with my peers and superiors so if I do need the support, it’s is provided and we all work towards to end objective.
My personal challenges are coming home to cook and clean for my family, and put the kids to bed on time. I wont lie to you, I sometimes sit down to eat dinner at 9.30pm, not always – but sometimes. Its all part of being a mum. It will get easier, but now with an almost 4 year old, and an almost 8 month old, its sometimes craziness in our household. The only thing is that it is tiring, and I do end up being sleep deprived (because I am obsessed about watching my shows until late and don’t get enough shut eye), but it’s so worth it. When I look at them staring at me with their sparkling eyes, everything I do is for them and being exhausted is a distant memory.
What is your best piece of advice to a returning to work parent?
Don’t feel guilty about returning to work- you are doing this for your family and for yourself. Being a happier ‘you’ makes you a happier and better parent to your kids. Enjoy your work/ life balance, and do what works for you and your family. Always.
What are some tactics you can share with mums returning to work – in terms of keeping organised at home?
The easiest and most effective thing I do is always cook and prepare meals that are nutritious but simple to get us through the week. I make a list of favourites that we love and I repeat these every now and again. I also ensure we always eat dinner as a family, and talk about our daily news and events. Even with our 8 month old at the table, it helps him be part of our routine. Then we have a play and family time, and our bath and bed routine. It really works for our family and ensures everyone knows the rules in the house. Keeping organised and sticking to a schedule really helps during the week.
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