Returning to work after maternity leave is a daunting feeling for any parent. The worry of missing your child’s first milestones, the logistical nightmare of organising appropriate and affordable childcare and of course the simple stress of another plate you need to spin, are all but a few things that run through your mind constantly whilst preparing to return to work.
Of course, this isn’t said for all parents.
For some, returning to work is welcomed with open arms! Holding a conversation that doesn’t involve the constant motion of your bodily functions and being able to dress in something other than leggings and a baggy T (because lets face it, that’s the most comfortable when picking up toys a million times a day) can get any mother excited. But even if you are that parent that hops skip and jumps into work with an added spring in your step because you have no kids in tow, there’s always that separation anxiety that creeps up on you when you least expect it.
That was me first time around.
Second time around, I’m feeling a whole range of new emotions, that don’t involve separation anxiety or missed milestones. This time around, my emotions are centred on ME and how I’m going to get through the day without dropping one of my many plates I have spinning.
It’s SURVIVAL of the fittest at it’s very best… whilst still trying to find that all important work-life-family-balance.
I guess my feelings have changed second time around, simply because the work load has romped up big time with a baby and toddler, a job, the blog… it goes on and on. And not a day goes by without one of those plates smashing into pieces. Every week I’m finding a new reason to excuse myself out of a job I’ve not done – Phil can vouch for this! Sorry Phil.
What I’ve learned on my work-life-family-balance journey these last few months is not to beat myself up over the things I’ve not managed to do. They’ll be picked up another day… I’m sure (said in her most positive up beat voice).
Whilst I’m in that positive, upbeat mode, here’s a few tips I’m finding helpful;
Learn to ‘Let it Go’: Whether it’s work related or home related, that to do list that swirls around your head is almost certainly setting you up for failure. Something must give, whether it’s a deadline or commitment, something won’t get done, and that’s absolutely fine, don’t beat yourself up over it! The most important thing about this tip is that you are not required to sing ‘let it go’ in your best Frozen voice because you’re probably sick to your back teeth of the song already!
Plan Family Time: Try to organise one day a week where you’re all together, whether it be a simple day in the park, a meal out (or in), a visit to the in-laws, whatever it may be, so long as it’s something that involves you and your family being together. This is so important, because when work is in the mix, this can very easily be put to one side.
Plan A Date Night: Making time for your other half is extremely important and without doubt, doesn’t make the list most of the time because you’re exhausted. We’ve only had two so far in these last two months, but wow we needed it – the benefits are endless. When we bicker which is every day [hour] it’s done with a smile and not a scowel or glare like usual. That long overdue ‘him and me’ time has given us a new lease of life and appreciation for one another and we needed this. Every relationship needs this, make that time for one another, you’ll both reap the benefits… and no Phil, Baby #3 is not happening before you ask! 🤣
Fine Tune Those Organisational Skills: No matter how organised you think you are, they’ll be put to the test; hourly, daily, weekly. If you’re not organised, then something is going to give and it’s usually your sanity. Plan everything, right down to meal time menus, shopping, washing, cleaning, even your obligatory grooming sessions, because when you’re home from work the last thing you want to do is any of the above. Let that little inner control freak out… for at least once a week. 😀
These are all but a few survival skills I’m learning along the way. There’s nothing new or ground breaking in this list, and I’m sure most parents have this covered already. But for me it’s what’s keeping my head above water when surviving the work-life-family-balance. I guess the importance of the message I’m putting across is this;
‘Life’s A B*tch!’
Only joking! Finding that balance takes a lot of work, and some days (if not most), you wont get it right, but if you can find something in your life that helps you survive the throws of what life (or just the day)gives you, do it!