Going Back to Work...
The most common question that I was asked after giving birth to our two children, each time, was "How do you feel about going back to work?" I replied each time with a smile, possibly gritting my teeth, by saying I do it for them. Our children are one of my biggest reasons why initially I returned to a traditional working schedule and they remain high on my list of values and top reasons as to why I now work independently as an entrepreneur.
I can imagine that for most mothers that it is not easy to return to anything that takes your attention away from the most precious and joyful gift ever received. However, it is also possible to imagine that working women are not just fulfilling some mundane duty for the sake of earning a dollar. It is quite possible that she was and remains a woman with goals, dreams and career aspirations, she happens to also want to be a mother. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women with children under 18 make up about 70% of the labor force. This means that women are perhaps finding careers and positions that inspire them creatively and are working for other reasons beyond mere obligation. This notion is supported by the labor statistic that states that more than 40% of women in the labor force held a college degree in 2016 as compared to 11% in 1970. This speaks volumes to the idea that women are balancing the joys of motherhood and career more regularly now than ever before.
I admit that I have dealt with anxiety concerning returning back to the workforce following the birth of our two children. It is scary and unnerving to disrupt such a precious bonding period. I even had feelings of doubt and guilt, wondering whether or not I was a good mother because I opted to return to work. However, the support system that I had was amazing. I truly believe that support is key when making the decision to return to work after giving birth. Mothers should identify their resources, people and places, that can offer reliable/trusted support during her return.
Another option for moms wanting to have more control of their time and schedule is business ownership. According to the 2015 research found by MOMpowerment.com women own roughly 36% of small businesses in the U.S. This means that there is a massive amount of moms who have decided that they want to work from home and/or work with the flexibility of being able to control their schedule. I am definitely all for being a "Boss Mom." It has come with its challenges, however I am able to make it to important events and care for our children on sick days without asking permission to do so. I encourage moms to make the decision that is best suited for their family and current situation. A mom should never feel guilty for wanting to successfully balance motherhood and their career. We deserve an opportunity to master every role we choose for ourselves, this includes motherhood!
Here are a few Tips for moms returning to work:
1. Be kind to yourself.
2. Discuss the idea openly with your spouse or loved one(s) and ask for support.
3. Choose wisely your Childcare provider. Consider something close to your place of work.
4. If breastfeeding, seek an opportunity to breastfeed on your lunch break. If not, pump in advance. (Seek a lactation specialist for more tips).
5. Create a solid schedule & calendar for family/work activities. Keep it updated and visible for all family members.
6. Don't be afraid to ask for time off (within reason).
7. Be okay with making adjustments.
US Department of Labor