When it comes to going back to work after an extended break – whether that is through certain circumstances or even after having a child, then it’s a big decision that only you can make for yourself when you know that the time is right for you and for your family.
However, since this is a big decision then there are going to be things that you may need to prepare for that you perhaps didn’t consider before and that perhaps weren’t even an issue when you were working as a single person without any children, so in this post we are going to help you to make this transition as easy as possible on you and your family by sharing with you some of the things that you may want to consider to prepare for before going back to work after an extended break.
Feelings of guilt
Mama guilt is one of the most common feelings that mothers experience when going back to work after having a child, and the funny thing about this is it doesn’t matter if the child is a few months old or even a few years old and is already in school, most mothers will experience this feeling and it’s important to realise that there’s absolutely nothing to feel guilty for when you go back to work – you’re essentially doing what you feel is in the best interests of your child and your family, and the fact that you’re able to provide for your child and show them that sense of responsibility that things have to be worked for in life is absolutely nothing to feel bad about.
You may listen to opinions of others who perhaps think that mothers should only be at home with their children, but at the end of the day, they don’t know what your circumstances are and they have no right to dictate to you or project their beliefs on to you about what’s right for your child. Your child will be fine and will grow up to be a healthy adult who’s well adapted to society regardless of whether you stay at home or go out to work.
You may feel anxious
Anxiety when going back to work after an extended break is definitely something that you should expect, and it’s perfectly normal.
The reason why we experience anxiety is because we are afraid of the unknown, and this can come in many shapes and forms – we think that anxiety in this context perhaps only happens to school children on their first day of school, but anxiety is something that we can carry throughout our whole lives as adults, and if you’ve been out of the workforce for a very long time, then it’s natural to feel some anxiety and feelings of anticipation around this.
The important thing here to remember is that you will adapt just as you adapt to everything else and that you just need to be gentle with yourself and take your time to ease back in slowly and you will pick up your pace before you know it.
You may need to update your skills
If it’s been a long time since you’ve been at work, then you may need to do some refresher courses on things that are relevant to doing your job well.
This can be vocational skills or it can even be doing a full degree again to make sure that you’re able to carry out your job effectively – depending on the industry that you’re in, this is something that you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth doing.
However, you can also speak to your employer about the best options for this going forward and perhaps they can even arrange for you to do a course online through a university that can be done part-time and your in your free time.
There are now many institutions and online universities who cater for people who work busy schedules and need to brush up on their education by working around their family and other commitments, so you can find places like https://online.exeter.ac.uk/programmes/masters/ma-education that will be able to assist you in finding a course that’s right for your needs, and they will help you to brush up on the skills needed to be able to go back to work and do your job.
You may need to be more organised
If the last time that you were in the workforce was before you had children, then you should definitely be prepared for some changes. Long gone are the days when you only have yourself to get ready in the morning and take care of yourself to make sure that you get out of the door on time.
This is not going to be the case when you have to also make sure that the children are ready and that they are being dropped off at daycare or are on their way to school by the time you get to work, so you may have to be more organised with your time and even practice things like time management techniques and batching so that you can manage your time more effectively and get everything done without feeling like you’ll never have enough hours in the day or are just stressed out constantly.
You may realise you no longer fit in this job
One of the things that most people are not prepared for when they go back to work after an extended break – especially after having children is that they realise that they simply don’t fit into their job anymore. They perhaps had ideas of when the time in their job was different and were idolizing that time in their lives from the past, but now they feel that they just don’t align with that job anymore, and that’s perfectly fine – it’s not the law that you have to do one job for the rest of your life, so if you’re starting to feel that way then it’s important that you acknowledge that feeling and are honest about it with your employer so that you can then start to look at different ways that you can find a career that actually suits you.
You may need to arrange childcare
Depending on how old you children are, and if they’re already in school, then you may need to arrange things like childcare for them. The problem with childcare is, depending on where you live is it can be very expensive, and often times it works out to be more expensive than actually what you’re going to earn from your job, so it really doesn’t make sense for one parent to go back to work.
However, there are different ways that you can look for childcare options. Of course, you can speak to your family, if for example grandparents live nearby who would be able to look after your little one for a few days per week, and there are also people who will come to your home, such as au pairs or nannies to live in your house and take care of your child.
You can also speak to your employer about this, since many companies are now opting for a more family friendly image and are implementing things like childcare vouchers and even on-site childcare facilities which can make the transition much easier, especially when you have very young children.
You may be limited in how many hours you can work
Even though you’re going back to work, you may not be able to go back completely full time or work the hours that you want. It can either be the case that perhaps someone else now has your job and you need to take a slightly different role, or even you may find yourself in a job sharing situation. It could also be that just because of your family situation, you’ve not been able to get childcare for certain days or certain times during the week, and that you may have to cut down your hours at work.
This doesn’t need to be a problem since you can always work your way back up and take on more hours as your children get older, but it’s definitely something to be prepared for so that you’re not disappointed by it if you’re thinking that you will go back to exactly the same type of hours and situation as you were in before.
You may be working in a slightly different role
Since all companies change over time, then the roles within those companies will also change, and if you’ve been out of the workforce for a longer time, you might find that things have changed over the past years, and this can even mean that the role that you will have may have adapted to suit the times, such as you may be using different technology – things like social media and email you may not have been using before will be included in your role and this is definitely something at that you should take on board when going back to work.