Starting or growing a family is an incredibly exciting time. It can also feel stressful and overwhelming due to major changes that will take place in your own life, your partner's and your relationship. Many women struggle with the question of how much time to take off from work, whether to return to work or stay at home with the baby, or try to create a balance of work and family. You will most likely get a different opinion from almost every person you ask. The answer to the question is unique to you and your family's needs, and there is no right or wrong decision.
Here are four easy tips to help parents who decide to return to work after having a baby:
- Ask yourself about your ideal childcare vision. There are many forms of childcare, from day care, to nannies, to nanny shares (sharing a babysitter with an additional family), to having family members help and provide care for your baby while you are at work. There is no wrong way to do this. The most important thing to remember is to do what feels most comfortable to you and your family. As long as the child care situation creates relief rather than stress, then you know it is the right decision for your family.
- Connect with other parents. Navigating parenthood for the first time can feel like a very intimidating experience. Talk to other parents, whether it is friends who are also in a similar situation, a support group, or a Facebook or Meetup group that facilitates new parents connecting with one another. The other parents you speak to may become your greatest resources and provide you with insight.
- Keep communication with your partner open. One of the most important things you can do for yourself and your relationship is to ensure you are communicating with your partner. Letting your partner know what you need, and keeping an open dialogue about all of the changes you are both experiencing as a new family will keep your bond strong, and help you feel united.
- Communicate with your boss. Returning to work after having a baby can feel like a very challenging and confusing time. Leaving your baby with a caretaker and being away from him or her can feel stressful. Be sure to be open with your boss or supervisor about how you are feeling, as many individuals return to work and soon realize the hours being put in no longer feel conducive to the family's needs.
By following these guidelines, you can create a healthy support system for yourself and your family. Being a new parent is an incredible experience. Making sure you have proper supports in place will help the experience remain a positive and happy one.