Finding a Job

Going back to work checklist

Are you stressing about your return to work and how you will manage being a parent and still coping at work?

Here are a few quick items to get squared away on your checklist:

Childcare is the number one issue to get squared away. If you stepped out of the work environment to have kids and are now thinking of returning figuring out who's looking after your beloved child during the day instead of you, will be at the top of your agenda.

Plan Early -For older kids this might not be as big an issue if school provides aftercare or you can schedule extra-curricular activities, but for young ones you need to plan well in advance to make sure that you secure find a crèche/child-minder etc.

Have a backup plan - Back-up plans for childcare are crucial, there will always come a day when your child is ill, or the child-minder is sick and you have a crucial meeting that can’t be missed, make sure that you have two or three backup alternatives agreed upfront.

Get Organized - Preplanning makes life run smoothly.

The night before – while you may be beat when you get home try and get lunches, clothes and bags for you and your kids sorted every evening before you go to bed.
 Set an alarm on your mobile phone half an hour and fifteen minutes before you have to leave so you don’t get into a last minute tailspin.

Find a balance between the week and weekend – This will need to be trial and error on what works best for you and your family. While it might be easier to do all your ironing for work clothes ahead of time on the weekend, you don't want to spend your weekends cleaning the bathroom toilets. Create a housekeeping schedule with tasks assigned to each family member can be a great way to ensure that it is all done during the week.

Let things go a little - Don't be so house proud that you have a heart attack. If you need to make sure that everything is in place take some time out to figure out what needs to be in place every day vs. what the neat look of your home is for when guests are panned.

Live by the List – Make sure that you have a structure to manage your lists - what to do at home, eat for dinner, food to buy, do at work.. 

Have a Plan - Your lists will help you plan meals for each day which in turn provide a list of what to buy at the grocery store. Invest in a Slow cooker. . Nothing beats coming home to a wholesome meal already wafting around your kitchen. And remember - Internet shopping for everything! 

At Work

There will be days – When you wish you were back home with your child and you feel like you've done a day's work before you even get to work. Enjoy the wonder of being able to drink a cup of coffee at work, without being disturbed by someone who need to go to the bathroom, and make a list of all the good points about working e.g. seeing your child’s face light up when you pick them up.

Value and reward - Just like when interviewing, make sure that your bosses know what it is that makes you so valuable to them. Ensure they get reminded of it often (especially if you choose to ask for part-time working).

Establish Boundaries - to separate work and life. When you are at work “be at work” when you are at home with your kids “be present”. Be strict with yourself about finishing work on time and not taking calls etc. when you are with the kids. If you do it, people will expect it of you. It’s OK to say NO.

Back Home

It’s a Team effort - Juggling family and work is the job of both parents - not just the mom. Even if you're not with the dad anymore, both parents are in this and need to discuss it together: agreeing on what you both want for your kids, yourselves, the state of your house, your finances, and then working out the best way both of you can contribute to that. Men can be stay-at-home parents too, can work part-time, pick kids up from school or day care too. Viewing the whole thing as a team effort with shared responsibilities is crucial.

Take charge - If you're good at organizing, then organize your significant other to take an equal share in making the whole parenting/working thing work. If you've always been the one to do everything, then you can't expect your partner to mind read what needs to be done. Passive aggressive sighing when the dishwasher isn't emptied doesn't help anyone, be clear on the help you need.

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