Guest Post from Holly from PitterPatterPither.com
Well we are now well and truly into 2018 and every day that passes I am reminded that this year I have to go back to work. This year I have to leave my daughter in some form of childcare. This year I have to let go and let someone else look after her… and I have to tell you, I am absolutely dreading it.
My name’s Holly Pither and I live in Oxfordshire in the UK. I write a blog called PitterPatterPither about the trials and tribulations about maternity leave. I always knew I wanted to be a working mum. It’s the right decision for me personally. But that doesn’t make leaving my little baby daughter in childcare any easier. And yes I know it will get better with time, like all things do, but that still doesn’t take away from the fact that the first few days are going to feel like I have lost my left arm, and my right for that matter.
I am fortunate though. I have some time before I have to go back. In the UK, we can get up to a year off work (not all of it paid mind you) but I know how lucky I am compared to my US mummy friends, some of which I have interviewed on my blog. I really do feel for you guys having such a short period of time off with your baby, it must be so hard going back so soon.
This got me thinking about how I might start to prepare myself now to hopefully ease my panic down the line regarding sending my daughter to childcare and me going back to work. As such, I decided to crowdsource some tips from other mums on this topic via my social accounts and my blog the below is what we came up with:
1-Do multiple visits. If you are going down the nursery/ daycare route, go and check it out a few times at different times of the day to get a real sense of what it’s like. Do not rely on brochures, word of mouth or online reports alone. Go with your gut on this one.
2-Don’t forget that a nursery/ daycare isn’t the only choice available to working parents. Consider other provisions, such as a nanny or childminder. Many working parents prefer these for the first year or so, because it gives them more control over what happens day to day with their baby keeping them in a home environment and also giving them more flexibility with their time. However consider your options carefully, what if the childminder is sick for example? And don’t forget that if you employ a nanny, it’s your responsibility to arrange pay slips, pensions, sick leave and so forth.
3-Another option if you want one on one care but are tight for cash might be do a nanny share with any mum who works similar hours and lives close. It’s great because the babies get a little playmate the same age and with a bit of organization they do work out really well. Look at your local Facebook mums page and see if anyone is advertising there or ask for parent recommendations. Netmums and Mumsnet are also good places to look for people, but do your due diligence. There a lots of resources online to offer advice.
4-Discuss your back to work plan with your boss early on. Go over what days you will work, timings, working from home etc. This will hopefully mean it won’t stress you out and affect quality time with the baby. Then once it’s done, forget about it, and enjoy every minute as you won’t get this time back again. This is especially true for my American mom friends given your time off is so short and precious.
5-Before you go all guns blazing into your new routine, it’s a good idea to get used to small sessions away from your baby. For example, leave them with grandparents/ relatives and get on with work preparation or have some ‘you’ time. Make sure you choose a nursery or childminder that lets you do ‘stay and play’ sessions so you can see how your little one gets on for that extra reassurance.
6-The night before your first day, make sure you get everything ready. Lay out your clothes, your baby’s clothes, pack your bag (if you are still breastfeeding, don’t forget to pack your pump) and double check your baby’s diaper bag. Be prepared for whatever clothes you send your baby in to get trashed (send at least two full changes in their bag) and make sure you have industrial quantities of stain remover in stock at home.
7-In the eventuality that they get ill, which they undoubtedly will, sort out with your partner in advance who does pick up when the nursery calls so you are not scrabbling around last minute. Have a military precision crisis plan in place. Sure this may sound overzealous, but you will thank yourself for having a solid plan in place should anything happen.
8-Don’t book too many activities during their first week in childcare, both you and your child will no doubt be exhausted. Ensure you have some quality family time at the end of the week and don’t try to pack too much in.
I hope some of the above prove helpful if you are due to send your little one to childcare any time soon. Going back after maternity leave is never going to be easy, but the more prep you do in advance and the more you feel on top of things, the easier it will be.
I’m sure you all have a load more tips too which I would love to hear. So please do comment below or connect with me. Bye for now!