Just the other week I wrote a blog about the fear of going back to work after the festive period and how I was very bizarrely and ironically missing that fear. I wrote that I was just desperate to experience that ‘back to work’ feeling, keen to get back into a routine and anxious to make some new year’s career resolutions. However, just a few days later and the panic started to set in… why? Well because I went to have a look around a nursery. Yes a nursery.. that place you send your baby when you go back to work. Eak!
As I walked in the door the panic started to hit me. One day THIS YEAR, i.e. in 2018, I am going to have to bring Amelia here and then leave without her. Actually drive off without her in the car seat. Knowing that if I look back in the rear view mirror I won’t see her little face sitting in the back.
Now don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the nursery. It was great in fact, but the thought that I wouldn’t be with her for a whole day filled me with utter dread. It actually made me feel sick. How could I leave my little baby with strangers whilst I go and sit in front of a computer all day and carry out client meetings? How the hell am I ever going to be able to concentrate knowing she isn’t with me?!
I know it has to be done. I have chosen to be a working mum and it’s the right decision for me, but that doesn’t make the whole thing any easier. And yes I know it will get easier with time, like all things do, but that doesn’t mean the first few days aren’t going to be torture.
Luckily I can breathe a slight sigh of relief as I have a while to go till she has to go to nursery and I have to go back to work. Hopefully I can use this time to prepare (if that’s even possible?), but I know that not everyone is this fortunate and some mums, and dads for that matter, have to go back sooner. This includes my American friends who don’t get the luxury of longer maternity leave periods.
With this in mind I am looking for tips and pieces of expert wisdom from all those parents who have been through this. Is there anything we can do to make this easier? Can you tell us anything to help prepare us?
Comment below, DM me or contact me via my social sites and I will continue to update this post as and when the advice comes in. Thanks in advance to all you wise mummys and daddies out there who can help us newbies!!
Top tips from those in the know:
- Choose your nursery and make your back to work plan with your boss early on. What days you will work, timings, working from home etc. So it doesn’t play on your mind and 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. Good luck.
- It’s always going to be emotional leaving them at nursery for the first time. Good idea to get used to small sessions away from them – eg leave them with grandparents/relatives and get on with work preparation or do a ‘keeping in touch’ day at work. Make sure you choose a nursery that lets you do ‘stay and play’ sessions so you can see how your little one gets on!
- Consider other options, such as a nanny. Many working parents prefer a Nanny for the first year or so, because it gives them more control over what happens day to day with their baby keeping them in their home environment and also more flexibility with time (Nurseries tend to charge you by the minute if you’re late!)
- Another option to cut costs is do a Nanny share with one of the NCT mums or 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 organisation 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 Gumtree are also good places to look for people but do your due diligence.
- And when they do finally go into nursery or childcare, get everything ready the night before – lay out your clothes, your baby’s clothes, and pack your baby’s nursery bag. Be prepared for whatever clothes you send your babe in to get trashed (send two full changes in their nursery bag) and make sure you have industrial quantities of stain remover in stock at home! On the plus-side your babe will get to do all of the messy play at nursery that they probably don’t get to do (or at least not much!) at home.
- Be prepared for your child to be very tired after nursery for the first few weeks as they adjust to having to get their daytime naps in an exciting new environment, and also it is a certainty that your child will get cold after cold and probably also conjunctivitis (joy!) in their first few months at nursery – I suppose everyone has to get an immune system from somewhere!
- In the eventuality that they get ill, which they undoubtedly will, sort out with your partner who does pick up when the nursery calls so you are not scrabbling around last minute.
And a lovely piece of advice to conclude from a fiend with three little girls: “It’s hard going back to work but also I think worth it…for me anyway. I like to think I’m setting my girls (in particular) an example that they can work and have a career as well as be a mum. It hard leaving them, but I do think days at work help you to really prioritise quality time when you are at home.”