Preparing to Go Back to Work Full Time with Young Childrenby Emma Longden
Juggling work and being a mum is undoubtedly a struggle, and one that so many are going through. I have worked full time, part-time, for myself and from home over the past decade since becoming a mum, and I am about to start a new job which means going from working 20 hours a week and being able to do all the school runs, to working 40 hours plus a commute and needing to hire a nanny or childminder for my children. As I prepare to make this transition for my family, I wanted to share some of the issues that I am coming up against when going back to work full time with young children.
Ok, so obviously the main issue, when going back to work full time as a mum is trying to make sure everybody is where they need to be, wearing what they need to wear, at the right time. In my current part-time job, I have been doing the morning school drop off, going to work, leaving and picking the kids up on my way home. This time there is the added issue of somebody else needing to pick them up from school, and potentially needing to use the school breakfast club in the mornings as well. There is going to be very little time in the morning to get everything done, so getting organised the night before is going to be key! There is some travel involved with my new job as well, so it is going to be vital to keep everything in a planner so I don’t drop the ball on anything.
The children were really happy for me getting this new job, and are excited to be getting a nanny or childminder, but it doesn’t stop the ever-present mum guilt and the worries about not doing the right thing for the kids. I know that this is too good an opportunity for me to miss out on, but it is still hard, especially when you also face judgement from other mums for going back to work full time and not being able to pick the children up from school anymore.
It isn’t just the school run I have to negotiate, the younger two children also go to swimming lessons weekly, so I will need to factor this in when arranging the childcare for the afternoons, as I won’t get back from work in time to take them. Then there’s the other appointments, playdates, school trips and parties to work around as well. It is going to be a challenge!
Something you don’t have to factor in before having children is working out whether your salary is enough to cover all the expenses of childcare, and whether, in fact, it is financially viable for you to work full time, as it hasn’t been for me until this point. I will be earning enough more each month to be able to cover the additional costs of somebody else looking after the children whilst I am at work, but only because they will all be in the same school this year. Childcare is definitely expensive!
Finding Time for Me
Finally, although I am of course going to want to spend time with the children after I finish work, and at the weekend, it is also important for me to remember to make some time for myself too. Self-care is so important for your mental health, and being able to switch off and unwind or head out with friends of an evening is just as important whether you are working full time, part-time, or not at all.
Negotiating work full time, as a mother, is a minefield, but it is also an exciting new chapter for me and my children, and something I am looking forward to immensely. I have always strongly advocated that being a mum is not all I am, so I am looking forward to furthering my career, after letting it take a backseat for a few years, and showing the children what their mummy can do outside of being their parent.