This page will be a repository for all the tips and guidance I have received over the past nine months. In it you will find tips from mums who have been there and done that, and got the t-shirt. I’ll update it on a regular basis, so check in now and then to find out what’s new.
Lucy Edwards, Editor at a PR agency, and mum of two: “I never realised the importance of my precious time with the children. My best advice when returning to work – and most likely not full time – is to choose your non-working day/s wisely. Group support as a new mum is so important, so pick the day/s that suit you and bub that gives you both the fun and importantly social contact for you. Don’t be quick to give up your groups such as toddler groups, swimming whatever the session to conform back into work mode and days that suit the workplace. This is the time you never get back, if work values you, they will realise the benefit of happy mummy / happy employee.”
Becks, full time working mum of two boys (3 and a half and 14 months): “I think it is really important to establish ring-fenced, sacrosanct, ‘me-time’ for the primary carer from as early as possible, ideally daily. While it might not seem important in the early days of parental bliss, it really is important for your own mental health – just one hour in 24 for you and you alone, doing whatever you fancy but without your child(ren). There is a tendency to think that your partner’s work is more important because you are on maternity/paternity leave, but maternity/paternity leave is 24/7 work if you allow it to be – you need mental resilience. I say this as I suffer from not having done this (3 and a half years in); my best friend has watched me and on the birth of her child agreed it with her husband that she would have an hour each day – she went to the gym or for a swimming before he went to work. She really believes it has helped. Looking after mum is so important.”
I asked flex_in_the_city (London based employment lawyer) who is passionate about flexible working and a keen mummy Instagram user about how she manages work and childcare and she said the following to me: “Being a mother is a full time job, even if you have the childcare the mental load is still there.”
She goes on to say: “I am now far more efficient than I was before. I’ve decided that I also need to be more efficient in other areas of my life too, in particular in looking after myself. I plan to start running to/from the office and start taking my lunch breaks. I am thinking I could use that time to take a little mental break, whether it is going for a walk, having a beauty treatment or going to the dentist. I am thinking I might also change how I cook my meals for the week. I do love to cook, but the reality is that at the moment I don’t have the time or energy to find something that is quick easy and nutritious. I haven’t figured out the answer to this yet, but I am open to ideas.”