PARENTS

Tip Of The Day: How To Survive Returning To Work After Maternity Leave

11/03/2011 23:24 | Updated 22 May 2015

It can be a real shock to the system when you return to work after having been on maternity leave. Some women are totally ready to go back, whilst others feel split loyalties and would rather have stayed at home with the baby for a little longer.

Here are ten top tips from the experts at Imagine Co-operative Childcare to surviving your first week back at work:

1) Even the most organised mothers can forget things. After all, babies require a substantial amount of stuff and it can be easy to miss something. To avoid this, make a comprehensive list of all you need in the week building up to the big day and you will be sure not to forget anything when the day arrives.

2) You can never be too prepared for rush-hour traffic, accidents, and trips back to the house for forgotten items, so do a practice run and get a feel for how long you will need. Give yourself enough time to take it easy and get all your jobs done, as feeling rushed will only add to your anxiety. Being prepared for the first day will make it feel less like the worst day.

3) You may have already decided that your first few days back will be the most stressful few days of your life, but try and reserve judgement till you have given it a chance. The work/home balance might be an unexpectedly nice change.

4) Make sure your child is comfortable in the company of other people. Giving your child over to a stranger on the day you return to work can be a traumatic experience for you both so build up to it with outings to the child care provider and with other people who are unfamiliar.

5) Remember that sleep is the best remedy for stress, worry and sickness, so make sure to get an early night before your first day back.

6) Before you return to your position, discuss the option of taking a salary sacrifice from your wages with your employer in return for childcare vouchers which can help spread the cost and ease the financial burden of childcare. Most employers offer a service such as this, as it can be bespoke to either a small or large business. Imagine Co-operative Childcare vouchers have been a huge support to working parents for over five Years.

7) Have faith in your child care provider. No doubt it was an agonising decision choosing the perfect one so trust in your choice and let the professionals do the rest.

8) It is difficult enough having one day off work unwell in terms of workload, so 6-12 months may seem like the un-climbable mountain. However don't be daunted, just prioritise ruthlessly and be sure to get the key tasks done so you are up to speed. Tie up the rest of your jobs as you ease back in to your role.

9) Don't feel guilty. It's one of the most important things you will learn. Having your youngster in formal care means they are being stimulated by interacting with other children their age.

10) By the end of your first week you will feel a mix of emotions but above all you should be proud. Leaving your child for the first time is one of the hardest things you will have to do as a parent. So reward yourself for achieving such a goal. Do whatever makes you feel special, guilt free and with a smile.

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