2016 is just around the corner and even though I have only just had my second baby (a girl born early December!) I can’t help but think of parents returning to work in the new year.
Especially the mixed emotions they must be feeling about recommencing their career and leaving behind their stay at home days, some for the first time and others for the second time.
Even I’m planning on returning to work in 2016! (not until November after 12 months off, possibly earlier under the right circumstances).
Two and a half years ago I returned to work after being a stay at home mum with my first born for 8 months. I often reflect on the reasons WHY I returned to work, sometimes to justify my decision to myself and sometimes to explain it to colleagues, friends or family.
In my free ebook, Undercover Mum, I look at the most common reasons women in Australia returned to work (page 4) and the top 5 reasons Australian women enjoyed their return to work (page 21). If you haven’t already done so be sure to get your free ebook.
For me personally there were a number of reasons I returned to work (in order from most to least important to me):
1. Career maintenance
I had never before taken a break from my career, except for 5 weeks one time to travel the US and Canada. I feared if I was away from work too long I would deskill and the time and energy I had so far invested in my career would be wasted. Plus I genuinely missed working and missed the feeling of professional fulfillment in my life. At the time I returned to work my current work contract was up for renewal and I was also afraid if I didn’t go back it would be difficult to find another job, particularly a part time role (and I was probably right!).
I didn’t want to have to scrimp and save as a stay at home mum. I still wanted to enjoy life – weekends away, occasional take away, dinner/breakfast/lunch/movie dates with my husband and friends, new clothes etc. From my first job working at McDonalds at 14 years and 9 months old I had always earnt an income. Not earning an income made me feel very uneasy and I couldn’t imagine spending my husband’s income on myself guilt free.
3. Intellectual stimulation
I wanted to use my brain again for more complex tasks than nappy changes and baby feeding. I figured someone else could just as easily look after my baby some of the week and allow me to apply myself to more complex tasks.
4. Adult interaction/social
Even though I met up with my mother’s group at least once a week and other friends on maternity leave, I was still spending most of my time alone with a baby. My husband would come home from work to an overly chatty wife and even questioned my sanity at times!
Whatever your reasons for returning to work as an undercover mum, it’s important that you have this information in the back of your mind. For those days when the guilt creeps in, when daycare drop offs are difficult or you feel like you aren’t able to give 100% of your professional self at work.
There will be days when you will have to remind yourself WHY you returned to work and decided to be a working mum.
If you’re returning to work part time in 2016, check out my blog post Power Tips for Part-Timers.
For more information about returning to work after starting a family, I have shared some relevant articles through the Undercover Mum Facebook page. If you find any interesting/useful/relevant articles I’d love you to share them on the page for others as well.
For now it’s back to the newborn bubble with my new daughter for me.
Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!
Kim (aka Undercover Mum)