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Aug 06 2013

Ready to return to work after baby?

Indian Working Women - Return to work after baby

Image courtesy of Pong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blink and it is time to return to work after baby! It feels as if it all started just yesterday. You know you want to continue to work yet somewhere there is this doubt whether you are really ready to join back. You have no clue how to assess the readiness.

Breaks are very common in a working woman’s career. And the right time to return to work after baby has always been a very difficult decision for a working woman.
As with any other crucial decisions in life, the more you talk to a wide variety of people, the value-add of a discussion to help in actually making the decision may be exponentially decreased! Some or the other time though, at an individual level one needs to take the decision.

There are some factors based on which you may be able to get a better evaluation of the readiness to return to work after baby. Often there are many factors which need consideration. Following may help you in evaluation and ease the decision making.

Health

Childbirth takes a toll on a woman’s body. Sometime new health issues arise during or after pregnancy. Make sure you pursue these and know all the dos and don’ts by talking to your doctor. Learn what health measures you can follow to cater to your health even after you join back.  In my opinion the mother’s overall recovery is also very important. Before you hurry back to work, assess your health. If the recovery is good it will actually add years to your work life.

Support System

Good health recovery will actually add years to your work life.

They say “It takes a village to raise a child”. The support network of friends, family members and neighbours plays very crucial role in returning to work.

In India, it is very easily possible to request and to get help from neighbours and friends. Working with small babies and toddlers at home is really exhausting. Just a few minutes’ help by someone can be a great respite. Being able to ask for help and accept it graciously is a helpful trait to have. Just make sure you can completely trust this person with your child though.

Grandparents are usually our most preferred option for the main childcare need.
If this is not possible for you due to some reason, do not lose heart. Explore all available childcare options. Resist to join back with a temporary arrangement though. Understand that without a proper support system in place you will increase your own stress while managing the day-to-day grind.

Time

“It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop” – Confucius

Like never before, the time factor is important now as there will be extra demand on your time.

Some types of work are possible to be done on part time basis. Some organizations also offer part time work options. Some organizations are offering working from home options. All these will be good to know. Get proper information from respective departments before you go on the maternity leave – irrespective of whether you think you will need it or not.

Chances are that you may not find a super duper ‘too-good-to-be-true’ option. Understand that the organization is not out there for charity either. There will be some rules and regulations. The pay and growth opportunities may not be as lucrative in the part time work as in full time. The work-from-home policy may specify some upper cap. Realize that these are some possible ways in which you can certainly ease the demand on time.

It is ok if you opt to readjust your priorities ‘for a little while’ to ensure you get to continue your work. Also if such policies are availed at right time, it may save a lot of stress to you and the child too.

Finance

Give it time. Babies and toddlers are too small to understand the concept of career and as to why Mamma needs to work!

Today, working women contribute a significant portion to the family’s income. And being on break certainly rocks the boat. The main financial concern can be whether the spouses’/family member’s income be enough if the duration of break is increased. As it is the expenses in earlier few months are way too above average.

Saving upfront for this phase may ease the decision making process and can give some breather. This becomes essential if you shoulder many monthly financial needs or say you have EMI’s going out from your earnings too.

As a rule of thumb, if you are planning a 6 months break, always try to save for 8!

Know a much better way to tackle finance needs during maternity breaks? Please share with us too!

Understand what to expect

Just because it’s the day in the calendar to join back does not mean the entire life automatically aligns to it. One has to work towards it. Evaluate how many constraints which made you take the break are now no more existent. Consider the following cases-

  • The scene at home may not be drastically different when the child is one month old or six months old. However things may be lot easier with children above 2-3 years of age. Five year olds have their own routine and understand many more things. Joining back when you have a one year old and joining back when child is much older have different magnitude of side effects. Being emotionally ready for them will surely help. It will be easier with each passing year.
  • Some children are outgoing and good at expressing themselves. If your child is already coping well to your absence, feel free to go ahead and join even if it is little earlier so far as the rest of the world is concerned. If not so, give time. Babies and toddlers are too small to understand the concept of a career and as to why Mamma needs to work!
  • Explore the childcare options you are comfortable with well in advance and not just a month before returning to work. Before you join, be doubly sure of the childcare option you have finally selected. And yet know that it will not be a long term option. You may need to change choice as per future needs as it unfolds. If knowing it makes any better, it happens to everyone.

 

Did you go through similar situation? Did your decision to return to work after baby included the above factors and/or considerations or some more? Share with us the tips and ways you used to evaluate your readiness to return to work to help a larger audience. Never know it will be the best tip for someone out there.
 

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